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We’ve all been there. You shove way too much stuff into your suitcase, pray really hard, sit on it and make it zip close. Then as you weigh it (if you are flying) you pray again that it is under the 50 pounds. I have been there y’all!! Way too many times to count!! I have even had to stuff some of my clothes into a friend’s bag at the airport just so mine would be under the weight limit. So so so sad.
This is how I used to pack…
I would literally stuff everything into my suitcase and just pray y’all. And the sad thing is I wouldn’t even wear half of what I brought! And that little zip thing to make you suitcase bigger? I used it every single time. Talk about overextending yourself. I never had any room to buy new things on my trips because there was never any room to put it! HA!
If you usually pack like this then today you are in for a treat! I am going to show you how to pack like a pro…or at least how I pack! I think I have a pretty awesome system. And this is coming from someone who has literally gone somewhere once a month since July. What can I say? I love to travel!
Just a quick recap…I went to Nashville TN in July, Ohio in August, Fayetteville AR in September, Lubbock TX in October, nowhere in November, and southern Arkansas in December! Whew! That’s a lot of packing!
Now, on to my tips on how to pack like a pro!
ONE. Invest in a good suitcase. First things first, let’s talk about suitcases. Until my Vegas trip last New Years Eve I had always traveled in regular suitcases or duffel bags and those are just fine. But then I invested in a hard shell suitcase and never even looked back. Y’all. Those things are magical. I admit, I was nervous about it at first because they don’t stretch but I think that’s the little kick I needed to start thinking on how I could be a better packer. I snagged the Delsey Comete suitcases on sale in fuchsia and I love them! They are actually pretty roomy and have a divider and a couple of pockets that you can put to good use! The suitcase I am showing you in this post is the 21″ and it’s the perfect size for carrying on!!
As you can see it has a large compartment for clothing, the divider has two pockets on it (one mesh and one plastic) and then it has a smaller compartment under the divider.
I always pack my shoes and outerwear in that smaller compartment that way if they are dirty they won’t get on my clean clothes!
TWO. Pack with a color scheme in mind. When I used to pack I would just throw whatever in my bag and then get to my destination and not have anything to wear. These days I pack according to a color scheme so that everything is interchangeable. As you can see from the pics above I packed using a red and black color scheme. I actually packed one pair of regular jeans, a pair of red skinnies, two black shirts (one short sleeve and one long sleeve), a flowy red shirt and a nightshirt. All of these pieces can be mixed and matched to create several different outfits. Also don’t forget about the pieces you wear to travel in, those can be mixed and matched with what you pack also!
Don’t forget about accessories and shoes when choosing your color scheme! I chose two necklaces (one red, one black) and my shoes could go with any outfit I chose. I usually travel in TOMS just because they are comfortable but I also packed a nice pair of booties and a comfy pair of leopard flats. Try to also choose pieces that you can dress up or down!
THREE. Wear bulkier items instead of packing them. Now that it’s colder I am wanting to wear bulkier clothes, like chunky sweaters, and my tip for that is to wear those items when you travel so they won’t take up a lot of room in your bag! I love that gray sweater in the pictures above but it takes up a lot of room in my small suitcase so I just plan to wear it when I go places now! Don’t forget to count the clothes you travel in as part of your wardrobe!!
FOUR. Pack your toiletries separately. Some of you may be rolling your eyes at this one but I used to just throw everything into Ziploc baggies and they just floated around my suitcase, I was so incredibly unorganized. Ugh. Now I pack all of my toiletries in a Mary Kay Rollup bag (I also put a few in that large plastic pocket if I’m not flying).
I love this Mary Kay Rollup bag for a few reasons, number one because it holds SO MUCH STUFF. Number two because those pockets just velcro right in so if you are flying you can pack all of your liquids in one, take it out to run through the scanner and pop it back in later! I also just love the shape because it’s super easy to separate everything and it keeps me super organized!!
FIVE. Pack things you need to access quickly in a tote bag. In addition to packing a carry-on size bag I always carry a tote bag of some sort with me. Right now I am carrying this super amazing Kelly Moore Libby bag. I got it right before Megaphone Summit (for super cheap on Poshmark!!!) and there is literally room for everything I need on the go! In fact this bag goes everywhere with me…work, travel, Starbucks, HA! But really, I love all of the pockets and the fact that I can carry my laptop, Kindle, all the chargers, wallet, umbrella, lotion, lip balm, just pretty much anything you can think of!
Two things I am not leaving home without right now are a warm scarf and my new ANKER portable device charger. The scarf because if you need to cover up or it’s cold you can use it and it’s easy enough to take off and store in a tote. The portable device charger because HELLO. Have we met?? I am constantly on one device or other and am constantly in need of a charge.
I actually had a different charger that I got from Amazon that I loved but it died a few months ago and I was completely lost without it so I was soooooo excited when the amazing people at ANKER sent me this one. This charger is the ANKER PowerCore+ 13400 mAh in black. It weighs about 11oz so it’s not a pain to carry around and it’s super fast! I can charge my iPhone from dead to full power in a little over an hour. It holds 5-6 cell phone charges and can also charge laptops and tablets. You can also charge the charger itself in about 5 hours. My other charger took about 24 hours to completely charge so this was an amazing difference to me!! You can find this particular charger at Wal-Mart or Amazon, in fact ANKER is the #1 electronics brand on Amazon right now. Woohoo!! Go ANKER!!
And that, my friends, is how I pack like a pro. To sum it up…
- Invest in a good suitcase.
- Pack with a color scheme in mind.
- Wear bulkier items instead of packing them.
- Pack your toiletries separately.
- Pack things you need to access quickly in a tote bag.
A few more, random packing pieces of advice are:
- You can probably find away to wash and dry your clothes if you are going on a long trip so don’t feel like you need to pack something for every single day.
- Don’t forget to pack underwear!!!
- Try to pack multifunctional items.
- Check the weather before your trip so you will be dressed appropriately.
- Bring travel sized toiletries so you can just throw away the small bottles instead of lugging the large ones around.
I think that is finally it! And now, my friends, you have all of my secrets to packing like a pro. Happy traveling!!
Are you an over-packer??
Do you leave the house without a portable charger of some sort??
Chris Lewis says
Great tips. I have a number of trips for work coming up in the new year and I will definitely be taking advantage of these tips!
I must be a pro – yes! I pack just like this. Rolling my clothes saves so much space. There was a time when I took way too much stuff when I was traveling.
robin masshole mommy says
Most people in my family call me the master packer because I can make anything fit :) But I am also pretty good at knowing exactly what to bring so I don’t over pack.
I, too, enjoy expert packing and traveling. I developed a system for myself, which matches yours, when I was in college. Used it forever since. It saves time and anguish, doesn’t it?
Jacqui @FlightsFancyMom says
These are great tips! I’ve started rolling my clothes as well. Fits a lot more in the bag. I have my coach toiletry bag that I place all my toiletries in. Great to be organized and stress free when traveling!
Loved all your tips and ideas on how to pack. I travel often and still struggle with what to bring and how to pack it all.
LOL! The fates must have known that I needed to see this because I got so much packing to do. I do not like packing because I always tend to over pack. I am going to keep these tips close so I can make sure I don’t over do it again.
Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? says
Great packing tips! I’ve got the rolled clothes thing down, but I struggle with the bathroom stuff!
This is a great list for travelers! I am a packing fanatic. I have to pack for 5 every time we travel, so I know how to pack well!
I travel a lot, so I have become quite the pro at packing. These are all great tips for packing well. A great suitcase is a must.
Jenn @ EngineerMommy says
These are great tips for packing efficiently. I always try to pack light to keep the suitcases easy to move. We will be going away soon so this post is timely.
I just recently learned the value of a good suitcase, there is so much room and pockets and straps and – oh my! Haha
I will use these tips when I pack to go home for Christmas.
My husband is over packer! He could bring 2 big luggages, too much!
Lisa Favre says
Yes, I totally agree that it’s all about getting a good suitcase! I love those that are lightweight and contain lots of compartments.
Lori Vachon says
I’ll be honest I don’t pack very efficiently, so your tips are going to be taken to heart. Heading out on a cruise in 2017 and don’t want to overpack!
As a solo and frequent traveler I have picked up a few times and usually this is what I do though don’t always pack a colour theme
Thanks for these tips. I am not good at organizing things so these are helpful to me especially when taking a trip internationally.
Love these tips! I am a chronic overpacker and I need tips to help me out!
Nikka Shae says
Now that’s a cute suitcase and I can’t wait to go on a trip soon so I can pack like a pro.
Jasmine Watts says
These are great tips! I really love the idea of packing multi-functional items. Thanks for sharing!
Mwahhhh! I always need packing tips. ALWAYS. And I certainly need a flatter toiletries bag than I have. :)