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Pack like a Pro

Pack like a Pro

Do you ever go to the grocery store for 2 things and then come back with 12 (or more) unnecessary things? Making a list usually helps to prevent this— the same applies to packing! My number one tip for packing like a pro is to MAKE A LIST! If you make a list at least a month (yes, a month) before you leave, you will only pack things that you need AND you will also have time to buy whatever is lacking.

The last time we checked bags was for our 10 year anniversary trip to Italy  (I’m laughing out loud looking at this photo because so much of what’s inside of those suitcases was unused PLUS the airline lost our checked bag). Now, even when we vacation for more than a month, we only use carry-on bags. "I have an Apple AirTag," you say. My friend, Christy, also had an AirTag. She landed in Los Angeles and saw that her bag was in Amsterdam (even if she didn't fly through there). She called the airline to deliver her bag-- they told her she had to get and get it 😩 Los baggage can totally ruin your vacation, so pack smart and carry-on.

Tips for packing like a pro:


1. Make a list at least one month before leaving.

Pull out everything on the list to see if anything needs to be dry-cleaned, washed, repaired, etc. Start shopping for things you need and don't already have-- making this list a month in advance will reduce any impulse buys and the need to pay for rush shipping.

2. Consider buying hard to pack items at your destination. 

If you're not checking a bag, toiletries must be in 3.4 oz containers (or smaller) and all fit into a 1 quart size bag. This can be tricky if you are going away for an extended period of time. Transferring toiletries into these little bottles is also a pain, so I only do this for my "must-have" items like my face wash and face cream. Since I am not too particular about my shampoo or the kids' body wash (besides being free of harsh chemicals), I just buy these items at our destination. If you are traveling with a baby, don't use an entire suitcase to bring two week's worth of diapers! Pack what you need for the travel day (plus a few extra) and buy the rest when you arrive. 

3. Pack a capsule wardrobe (aka multi-use pieces).

I plan my outfits around my shoes. That may sound strange, but shoes take up a lot of room in my carry-on, so I usually bring 3 pairs of shoes maximum. I think about what types of shoes will be required for the activities we have planned (if we're hiking, I need sneakers. If we're walking through snow, I need snow boots. If we're going to pebble beaches, I probably want water shoes etc etc). I usually wear the bulkiest pair onto the airplane. I plan my outfits around these 3 pairs of shoes (or 4 including the pair I wear during travel). If it doesn't match my chosen pairs of shoes, it doesn't go into my suitcase. Choose pieces that can be worn multiple ways. For example, our Eliza swim dress can be worn as a swimsuit to the beach or as a top under your favorite skirt for dinner. A button-down white shirt can be used as a cover-up, paired with shorts for a stroll down the boardwalk, or to cover your shoulders when entering a sacred space. Our cover-up/wrap dress can be worn over a swimsuit at the pool, as a dress (forwards or backwards!), or under a sweater to look like a skirt. It's incredible how many different outfits you can create with just a handful of pieces. 

And we can't forget, our two-piece dress that can be worn multiple ways and is the perfect set for your spring/summer travels.


4. Organize and minimize with packing cubes and bags.

These packing cubes saved us on our winter trip to Europe a couple of years ago. I honestly didn't know if we'd be able to avoid checking bags because of all the layers and socks we needed to keep warm, but we did it!  We planned on skiing/sledding, so we used these vacuum bags to squeeze all of the air out of our snow bibs- it's amazing how small you can get them! For this upcoming summer trip, I am using Packdup bags to organize the kids' clothes in their suitcases and we'll also use them for wet clothes on beach days.  

5. Wear bulky items onto the airplane.

We usually wear our coats or sweaters onto the airplane. We pack them into this foldable tote as we walk (or sometimes run) through the stuffy airport (believe me, you don't want to hear the sound of kids complaining about being hot or not being able to carry their coats while running through a crowded airport to catch a flight that started boarding 30 minutes prior. The tote is a lifesaver for this type of situation). Before boarding the plane, we put them on (because we each already have the max carry-on and personal item, so the tote won't be allowed). The tote easily folds away into its own little pouch and the coats or sweaters are perfect for staying warm on cold airplanes. Hats can also be impossible to pack without crushing, so I usually strap my beach hat to my bag in the airport instead of squishing it into my suitcase (unless it is one of our crushable hats that can be packed... coming back into stock soon!)

6. Consider staying at a vacation rental.

If you're vacationing for an extended period of time, consider a vacation rental that has a washer/dryer instead of a hotel. For month+ long trips, we usually bring enough clothes for one week and do laundry. (yes, my kids still do chores on vacation). So instead of packing clothes for a month, you'd really just be packing for a week, which makes using only a carry-on bag a breeze.

If you're traveling this summer, I wish you a safe and happy journey! Buon viaggio!



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