If everything goes as planned, I should be overseas by the time you are reading this. I will be spending two weeks in Europe visiting Spain, England, Scotland, and Ireland (where I left a piece of my heart). It’s pretty amazing to see my dream finally come to life, after wishing for a trip like this when I first started my blog. Wishes really are dreams put into action.
I absolutely hate packing for long vacay’s like this one. It is overwhelming to cram 14 days abroad and several days in California in one little suitcase. Since I will be jumping around from the Southern tip of Spain which is warm and beachy to very chilly, damp Scotland, packing for weird weather like this is always a little bit more difficult than packing for one steady climate (even though the midwest has the most extreme weather changes…like literally every hour so I should be mentally prepared). I have a lot to pack and I thought it might be helpful for anyone traveling this summer to see my system for organizing my suitcase. It works for big trips and weekend getaways.
With anything in life, I have to physically write out a plan. The same goes for organizing a trip. I start by recording each day on notebook paper. Simply writing the day of the week and the date on my paper. Then, I list what I am doing under each date like excursions, dinner reservations, hikes, and I note the weather or temperature so I’m prepared. After doing this, I can see how I need to dress and what I need to bring. It is a plan-a-gram for vacation. The next step is picking out clothing pieces that I know that I want to bring. I call these the For-sures. This trip I needed to pack my rain jacket, a couple swimsuits, a few going out dresses, and some workout clothes. I pull all of that out and put it in a separate piles on my floor. Then, I start making some actual outfits for each day based on weather and activity. I include shoes, jewelry, special undergarments just anything needed for that particular outfit.
When packing for long periods of time I try to stick to a color theme. It makes outfits more versatile and I can get more wear from them. For this trip I packed mostly items that are black and white with red accents. Due to my climate changes, I packed items that I can layer for a completely different look saving space in a suitcase for souvenirs.
Be an outfit repeater! Notice in the photos how I will style the same shirt with several different bottoms or change out the shoes to take the outfit from day to night. I packed one pair of jeans to get me through. Jeans are heavy so I limited myself knowing we have a washer in one of airbnbs we are staying at.
Shoes are my weakness. I always bring too many pairs and they weigh down any bag. It’s a curse. This trip I limited myself to 3 heels (black, tan, and red). The tan ones are the heaviest so they went into my carryon backpack. I’m wearing my go-to Old School Vans on the flights. The black Adidas are for hiking and sightseeing. You can not travel without comfortable flats. I brought my favorite and most comfortable tan, Aldo flats for sightseeing and dressing up a causal outfit. Also threw in a pair of black, Steve Madden sandals that I can wear with many items. Pack shoes that you can do a lot of walking in and that give you multiple looks. Basic is good in the shoe department.
Packing cubes save lives! I ordered my cubes from Amazon. They make it so easy when I travel. You can see how I organize mine. Small sizes work great for undergarments. Mid-size is for pants in one and shirts in the other. The larger size I use for dresses. It works best to roll your clothes before putting them in the cubes. The cubes are designed to fit perfectly in your suitcase. They were a game changer for me when having to pack for long visits. No longer am I doing the great dig through my bag looking for a sweater. Now, I just pull out the cube with sweaters and get what I need.
Secret pacing saving suitcase compartment. It’s no longer a secret…in most hardshell suitcases you can unzip the lining and put items between the lining and the case. I put my sleep t-shirt there and my raincoat. Placing larger items here that are flat saves you valuable room.
Keep it smelling fresh by throwing dryer sheets in the compartment and in your packing cubes. At home, I organize my swimsuits in the snack-size ziplock baggie. This keeps bikini tops and bottoms together. What I have found when traveling if my suit isn’t 100% dry, my ziplock works great for keeping my other clothes dry. Wet clothes and travel don’t mix.
I take the time to purchase travel-size containers and travel-size products I use like my dry shampoo, saline solution, and hairspray. I store them after a trip in one of the packing cubes so they are handy for my next adventure. The only full-size container I pack is…perfume. Toiletries are hard to deal with when many places we stay don’t have huge counters around their sinks. Amazon came through with this toiletries bag that hangs like a shower caddy. I have used it so many times with the expanded sizes. It was worth the purchase and didn’t cost much at all. On a funny note, I was curious how much my full bag of beauty necessities weighed so I put it on our bathroom scale. 5 Pounds… like that’s shocking.
Keep jewelry to a minimum when traveling. I don’t want to lose pieces I love. This little zipper container in the photo below I picked up from TJ Maxx years ago. The lid is currently taped together. Amazon has a similar jewelry box for travel for $10.99. I linked it below. Time for me to replace my broken one. I liked it because of the ring section and the fact the little box fits in my backpack or purse. Never put jewelry in your checked bag. You are asking for trouble. I probably could be way more organized in this little box. However, I basically put my earrings in a ziplock and everything else in the section to the right of the ring slots. If I have multiple necklaces, then I individually bag them so they don’t get tangled.
I hope this post gave you a few new ideas for getting yourself organized. Packing is never fun but discovering new places and learning about others is priceless. Can’t wait to share our trip with you!
Until then….Bon Voyage!
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