Travel and Packing Tips

Happy holidays, my loves! I hope everyone had a merry everything with their family and friends. I celebrated in Mexico with my dad, stepmom, and two of my siblings with a week of sunshine, poolside relaxation, delicious food, and lots of margaritas. A ‘feliz navidad’ indeed!

Of course, with travel comes stress, even around the holidays. I’ve traveled alone many times before, but this felt different. I was shopping alone, packing my stuff by myself from my apartment, meeting my family at the airport – and before this, I didn’t even own my own full-size suitcase! So from me to you, a little holiday gift – some top travel tips for new travelers and seasoned vets alike to make your next trip a little smoother.

  • Invest in luggage that will last and will function for many trips. My first “big girl” luggage is an Ellen Tracy 29” hardshell spinner in a gorgeous hot pink color. I knew from asking around that my best bet for quality luggage in my price range was to go to a discount store, like TJ Maxx or Burlington Coat Factory. I ended up finding the winner at Marshall’s – originally $300, I paid $55! 29” is on the larger side of checked luggage, but I wanted to make sure my one suitcase worked for any trip I might take. And I’ll never lose my bright, neon bag in the typical flood of black and navy suitcases at the baggage claim!
  • Make a (very long) list and check it twice. I made my packing list four days before I even started packing! I made sure nothing was left off – I would prefer to have more than I need and simply choose not to pack it than to forget something important. My list was detailed down to the exact dresses I wanted to pack and how many I needed of each item to last me exactly seven days without much excess. I also went a little crazy with my list for travel toiletries – I didn’t want to be at all unprepared – but it came in very handy when multiple people needed my Tide pen after meals!
  • Clean before you pack. This is something I learned by doing the opposite – oops. I was constantly pushing clean laundry, shoes, pillows, and more out of the way as I used my entire kitchen floor to pack. I also hadn’t mopped in a couple weeks, and I ended up stopping, shoving everything over to my bed, and quickly using the Swiffer so that I didn’t pack dust bunnies in my luggage! When everything is clean and neat, it’s less stressful and goes by much more quickly.
  • Pack in pieces. Packing is a daunting task! By doing it in pieces throughout a couple of days, it makes the process a lot easier and less overwhelming. Start with shoes and undergarments, then regular clothing, then workout clothing/pajamas and swimsuits, then anything else. Save your toiletries for the last minute so that if you need your deodorant or toothbrush, you don’t have to unpack it!
  • Bring your list with you on vacation. I find that my biggest stress is re-packing, especially when I can’t remember everything I’ve brought! By bringing my list with me, nothing gets left behind and I feel organized when I have to come home again.

What are your best travel trips? Share them in the comments!

Image: The College Prepster