I can’t even attempt to guess how many times I’ve packed my trusty suitcase. And yet I still don’t let myself go on autopilot. I’m intentional and methodical every time I leave for a trip, ensuring I bring the right stuff (and not too much of it). It’s really more art than science, but there are a few rules of thumb that I always abide by.
Here are my best tips for packing like a pro.
Write it down.
Whether you’re leaving town for a business meeting or a month-long backpacking trip (lucky you!), write down all the scenarios you’ll be dressing for. Plane rides, hikes, business dinners, gala, day at the beach—it’s nice to have a reminder of your realistic needs.
Make a list.
From clothes to toiletries, list everything you’ll need for your trip. Then lay it all out on the bed, and check off items so you don’t forget anything. It’s also great in case your luggage is lost or stolen, because you’ll have a record of everything you’ve packed.
Check the weather.
It’s one of the travel mistakes I always make, and it’s so simple to remedy. Remember that blazing hot destinations can get chilly at night. I’m looking at you, Palm Springs!
Pick one color scheme.
All your clothes should play nice together. Choose either black or brown, and then add accessories like fun costume jewelry, colored scarves and belts to brighten up your outfits. Try to select pieces that can serve double-duty—things that can be dressed up or down, or work as a layering option.
Always pack sexy heels and a light sweater for layering.
Heels can dress up any outfit, and you may need the sweater for those cooler nights.
Bring a snack.
Protein bars, nuts, peanut butter or even a freshly made sandwich from your local deli will help you can avoid fast-food traps.
Softly fold your clothes and place them in packing cubes. You get more wrinkles when you place harder fabrics with softer fabrics, so pack denim with denim and cotton tees with cotton tees. Bring Downy’s Wrinkle Releaser. Just hang up your garment, spray it, and in five minutes, the wrinkles are gone.
Store jewelry separately.
Nothing is worse than tangled jewelry! Wrap each piece in a napkin or tissue paper before placing them in a big Ziploc bag. Feeding chains through straws and taping them at both ends will keep them from getting tangled.
Use your footwear.
Wrap small breakables, like perfume or makeup bottles, in socks and pack them inside a sneaker or shoe.
Carry a small travel care kit on long flights.
It should contain lotion for your hands, face cream, aspirin, lip balm, an eye mask and earplugs.
Put necessary items in your carry-on.
File this one under “duh,” but it bears repeating. You’ll be happy to have that extra pair of underwear, a toothbrush and any necessary medication should your luggage miss the flight.
What are your best packing tips? Share in the comments!