I know since I have started traveling, it has gotten harder for me to keep my luggage organized and lightweight. I also tend to overpack… by a lot haha! I also always find a few things in my bag that I didn’t end up needing. Then sometimes I forgot something that I definitely did need on my trip. I have also noticed I dress a lot differently when I am on a trip. When I am home, I dress much more casual.
I have tried so many tricks along the way and today I wanted to share some of the best ones I found that worked for me. Hopefully, it can make your next trip a bit easier and more organized!
Make sure you have a good bag/suitcase
Making sure you have a good bag before traveling is much more important than people realize. Investing in a good travel bag is definitely worth it in the long run.
When I started looking for a new carry-on suitcase, the main requirement for me was that it fit as a carry-on item so I could fly with it. I went with the same one my husband has because I liked out it looked, had a few pockets on the inside that I could use for organization and it was sturdy. (I already knew it was cabin size because he has flown with it before to the US)
What I was looking for in a personal item bag, I knew I needed something that could fit my iPad, camera, smaller personal items, and a scarf. So, I browsed for a few days before I came across the Fjallraven Kanken backpack. It has a small sleeve in the bag that I can store my iPad safely there while my bigger, bulkier items could fit in the main pouch of the bag. There were also 2 side pockets I could use for water bottles, phone cords, headphones, etc. I like that this bag also zips open all the way down the front so I can access everything in my bag when I lay it down. When I upgrade my computer later this year, it will also be able to fit my new laptop in it as well!
Choosing a bag also depends on the type of person you are. I love having a suitcase because I feel more organized with it. But a hiker would probably prefer a big backpack. Someone who does short travel trips would probably like a nice carry-on suitcase.
Plan out your outfits
I love planning my outfits ahead of time. It makes packing much easier and it also helps my mornings go smoother when I am on vacation. One thing I think about when I am planning my outfits is “Can this sweater go with more than one thing?”. I only pack items that can be mixed and matched with other things. So, if I bring a white t-shirt I want to make sure the 2 pairs of jeans I bring can be matched with it.
Also, planning outfits has been something I have started doing now that I am a blogger. I need to always plan my trips down to every detail and since I have done this, it really has made my trips so much easier.
To plan my outfits I check the weather at the location I am going to, the architecture, backgrounds, etc. at each location and plan my outfits accordingly. Of course, the weather could change or the colors can look different in person so also bringing small accessories with you (scarves, jewelry, hats, etc.) can help bring your look back to life but can also help each outfit look a bit different. That way you don’t need to bring 10 million shirts for a 5-day trip haha!
Use packing cubes
Packing cubes have changed the game for suitcase organization in my opinion.The packing cube set I bought off of Amazon this year is AMAZING! I have used them on every trip I have taken since I bought them and it has been so easy to find my outfits.
I pack my cubes by clothes type which is a bit easier for me. You may want to do it differently according to your preference.
There are multiple size packing cubes in the set I bought and I use almost all of them when I travel.
The smaller one I use for socks, underwear, tights, etc.
The first medium-sized one, I use for shirts and the second one I use for sweaters.
The largest ones I use for jeans and leggings. I also squeeze in some scarves if I plan on bringing more than one with me on the trip.
There is also a shoe bag but I use that for dirty clothes and a smaller zip-up bag that I use for my electronic cords. I keep that smaller bag in my backpack/purse so I can always have them on me if I need to charge my phone somewhere.
Wear your heaviest items (winter trips)
If you’re traveling on an airplane, I would definitely recommend traveling in your heaviest clothes and shoes. Doing that saves you weight and space in your suitcase. Plus, if you’re traveling longer on a plane, it will help keep you warm because sometimes it can get cold in there.
But traveling with heavier things is mainly in winter when you would be needing a big winter jacket and snow boots.
In warmer weather, I would probably end up wearing my jeans and bulkiest shoes (usually tennis shoes) since they end up taking a lot of space in my suitcase. If I am traveling with a checked bag, then I would probably opt for wearing a pair of nice leggings as those tend to be a bit more comfortable on longer flights.
Clothes travel accessories
Packing lightweight accessories for your trip can make all the difference in your outfits. Bringing a simple scarf and pair of earrings can change the look and give the illusion that you brought more clothes than you did. This is nice for bloggers who need to take a lot of pictures on a trip but can’t afford to bring 3 suitcases with them haha!
How I decide which accessories I want to bring is by laying down all my chosen outfits and see which scarves, earrings, gloves, shoes, etc. I can match with most outfits and that will give me the most outfit combinations. I would rather bring a neutral scarf that can go with 3 out of 5 outfits rather than one scarf for each outfit. That will take up too much space and add extra weight when you don’t need it.
Things to leave at home
You don’t need to bring a full travel book with you when you’re going on your trip. Buy/download an eBook so you can keep it on your phone. That way you will also have it wherever you go.
Your laptop. Unless you need it for work, I would say you could skip bringing this. I never bring my computer unless I am going somewhere for longer than 2 weeks. I stick with bringing my iPad because it is literally a mini-computer.
Hair tools. You don’t need to bring a hair straightener, curler, and blow dryer with you on your vacation. More than likely the hotel you are going to will have a blow dryer for you to use there. If you invest in a great hair straightener, it can straighten and curl with one tool. That will make it easier for you to bring when you go traveling.
Try to avoid bringing big sized bottles of shampoo, conditioners, skin products, etc. This takes up space and adds unnecessary weight to your luggage. Buy reusable bottles that you can fill in with your products you will want to bring with you. If you need to bring your big bottles, see if you can buy those products at your location so you don’t have to lug them with you in your suitcase. You can also pick up travel-sized toothpaste, hair spray, antibacterial hand wipes, etc. at your local grocery store.
Books. If you love to read on vacation, I would definitely suggest buying an e-reader (Kindle) or downloading a book app so you can bring as many books with you as you want but without losing space and weight in your suitcase.
How I packed for a 5 day trip to Austria
Here is everything I have packed with my 5 day trip to Austria in January of 2020!
– 2 pairs of jeans
– 2 undershirts (thermal long sleeve)
– 1 t-shirt (lounging)
– 3 sweaters
– 1 lounge sweater
– 1 set of pajamas
– 2 pairs of leggings (1 thermal legging, 1 lounging leggings)
– 3 scarves
– 1 heavy winter coat
– 2 pairs of winter/snow boots
– 2 pairs of gloves
– 2 beanies
I also didn’t bring much makeup as I am trying 6 months makeup-free! But I did bring along my hair stuff. (1 curling iron) and my shampoo and conditioner set (travel size of course!)
My camera gear usually stays in its own bag in the suitcase. It helps protect my lenses from any damage.
The camera stuff I bring depends on location but for this trip I brought:
– Nikon D3300
– 3 lenses (Portrait lens, kit lens, and telephoto lens)
– Tripod & Bluetooth remote
– iPad SD card adapter
– Camera charger
– Additional SD card
In my personal bag, I also brought my wallet, keys, phone, chargers, chapstick, disinfectant wipes, and passport.
Packing for a trip doesn’t need to be a hassle. It can actually be fun and easy. Just do a little planning beforehand and it will make everything else just kind of fall into place. Just make sure all of your clothes can be mixed and matched properly. That way you can maximize the space you can have in your luggage! Plus, not bringing unnecessary things also helps with overpacking. You don’t feel bad after your trip for bringing something you didn’t use.
Did you find these packing tips helpful? Do you have any other tips you would like to share? Tell me in the comments below 🙂