InLifestyle, Travel

Packing Tips From A Recovering Over Packer

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I was recently asked to share my packing tips so today I am going to do just that! I hope to help you simplify and de-stress your packing process. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, especially in the last few years, and I have definitely learned what works best for me. I’ve been able to come up with a packing process that I love and works well for me so I want to let you in on how I do things.

Are you an over packer? Girl, I am right there with you! I have had to train myself to calm down, and realize that I do not need to bring everything I own “just in case’. I’m actually a lot more stressed when I over pack now because it is heavier, more to keep track of, and harder to choose what to wear every morning.

I know my methods may not be perfect for everyone, but I would love to try to help you simplify the process and help you to stop over packing. So here are my packing tips and tricks!

10 Tips To Make Packing Easier

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Pick a color palette
  3. Lay it all out
  4. Be an outfit repeater
  5. Pack what you love
  6. Use packing cubes
  7. Bring a travel steamer
  8. Choose the right luggage
  9. Don’t forget your ID or passport
  10. Make a list of essentials

1. Plan Ahead

You don’t have to have every minute of your trip mapped out, but it’s a good idea to plan a rough outline for your trip. Once you know what activities you will be doing or sights you’ll be seeing you will know how to best prepare for your adventures.

Having a loose schedule will not only help you to see and do everything you want to during your trip, but it will also help you to know what kinds of outfits and footwear you will need to pack.

2. Pick A Color Palette

Next, pick a color palette! This is one of my favorite ways to pack. By choosing to pack only certain colors, you can easily mix and match your items so that you are less likely to over pack.

Weeks (or months lol) before I go on a trip I look through my closet to see what colors are speaking to me for the location I am going to next. I then pull everything to one side of my closet that fits into that color scheme and start thinking of outfits.

It’s best to start with a couple of neutral colors and then add an accent color. I’ll usually have a base of black and gray or navy and white, and then I’ll add a pop of color.

On my 3 week trip to Portugal, Belgium, and France last year, I allowed myself a little wiggle room for such a long trip with multiple destinations. I added just a few navy blue options to the mix so that I could change it up slightly.

3. Lay It All Out

When my trip is getting closer, I will take the color palette section of my closet into the guest room, lay it all out on the bed, and organize everything into categories.

Laying out and separating my clothing into categories (Tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets, accessories, and shoes) helps me to see if I have too much of one category and pair it down. I know it’s hard to do, but you need to leave some things behind! Be practical and think back to your schedule of activities and only pack what you need.

4. Be An Outfit Repeater

Know that it is okay to be an outfit repeater. Especially if you are going on a longer trip. If you’re staying with friends or family you can do laundry.

Plus, a lot of AirBnB’s have laundry options too. Re-wear some of your clothes and try to mix and match to make new outfits with other pieces you haven’t worn yet.

5. Pack What You Love

If you pack the things you love and wear the most, you won’t have any regrets. You won’t find yourself thinking, “if only I’d brought that cute blouse!” It will also make it easier to outfit repeat since you brought your favorites that you wear all the time anyway!

Always remember to pack your valuables and things you wouldn’t be able to replace if your luggage is lost in your carry on bag.

6. Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes were a game-changer for me. They fit so much into a tiny space, your clothes get less wrinkly, and you are able to stay better organized.

I usually try to keep all of my pants and dresses in the largest packing cube. In the medium size cube, I put my tops and sweaters together. And in the smallest cube, I usually pack my camis, socks, and bras. The socks also help to keep the shape of the bras which is an added bonus.

If I am going on a longer trip, I may use a couple more packing cubes to fit everything in. The smallest size cubes are also great for packing your medicine and miscellaneous items.

Another benefit of the packing cube is that once everything is packed into it, you can just place it into your suitcase and it removes the headache of trying to jam everything into the case and make it fit. The cubes nicely fit into the suitcase and you are able to fill in the empty spaces with your toiletries and shoes.

Guys, I am obviously v passionate about packing cubes! If you take anything away from these tips, this would be the one to remember.

7. Bring A Travel Steamer

Even though the packing cubes will help some with the wrinkles, your clothes still may not be 100% wrinkle-free. We love our travel steamer and never go anywhere without it! Fun fact: you can also use tissue paper to fold your super wrinkle-able items. (This is the steamer we have and LOVE!)

8. Choose The Right Luggage

It is okay to part with your old beat-up luggage and buy something new. Your belongings have a high value to you and you want to put them in a piece of luggage that you can trust.

If the zippers on your suitcase are old or near their breaking point, your stuff may just burst out and not make the trip. We have all seen the person at the luggage carousel with their luggage destroyed and lazily taped up by TSA. Don’t let that person be you.

I also highly suggest ditching the 2-wheel suitcase and opting for a 360° option. Making this switch has made my life so much easier. Especially if I have to book it to my next flight because of a delay or short layover.

You will probably also want one with TSA approved locks to keep your belongings

Get something reliable, but don’t spend a million dollars on luggage that is just going to get beat up during travel either.

*Pro tip: get yourself a travel scale and never worry about your suitcase being overweight again!

9. Don’t Forget Your ID or Passport

This one seems pretty obvious, but we have all heard stories of that person who left their ID at home and had to turn around to get it. Who am I kidding, chances are that we have been that person ourselves!

I check that I have the correct identification three times. First, the night before traveling. Second, the morning of travel and before walking out of the house. And third, when I get in the car before leaving the driveway for the airport. Triple checking has definitely saved me some serious headaches in the past.

10. Make A List Of Essentials

Write a list of things you CANNOT live without on your trip the night before you leave. Check things off the list as they go into your carry on the night before. You are way less likely to forget any essential items by doing this.

My list usually includes headphones, chargers, toothbrush, charging stick, PASSPORT, travel pillow, etc.

I also add anything I need to use the morning of travel to the list. I check everything off the list in the morning before I leave the house.

My hope for you is that these tips help you to stress less when you think about packing for your next trip. I look at packing as a puzzle that needs solving and am always trying to optimize my methods to make the most out of the space I have.

Chances are, you’re not going to some desolate or remote place and there will be places to buy anything you forget. So don’t worry too much and make it fun!

If you have any great packing tips, leave me a comment! I am always looking for new ways to do things.

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If you enjoyed reading this, check out some of my other posts: Is Travel Hacking For Me & How Do I Start? or Creating A Travel Hacking Strategy

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  • Tiffany Chaplin

    Very helpful post!

    October 27, 2019 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Thank you, happy to help! 🙂

      November 4, 2019 at 1:59 am Reply

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