No matter which you follow, this ONE thing guarantees a smoother trip: I learned the value of this after two back-to-back travels:
Trip #1: LA
Itinerary: From West Holywood’s Soho House (dream) to an intimate holiday brunch at one of THE (not a) Friends‘ (as in Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Joey, Chandler & Ross friends) homes (beyond dream).
Length of trip: 4 days
Trip #2: My parents’ house
Itinerary: Nothing. At all. It’s on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I could wear the same thing the entire time. And sometimes do just that.
Length of trip: 4 days
Luggage: giant suitcase + a few other bags full of “stuff”
Which of the two was awarded “best packed”? The LA trip. Here’s why:
With two tight connecting flights, I opted for carry-on. I really had to put thought into what I wanted and needed since space was so limited. Even though I had half of my closet available for Trip #2, there was just too much random stuff (i.e., CLUTTER!) stuffed in my suitcase. Even worse, I forgot a few essentials. (Sharing a phone charger with your 15- and 13-year olds is not fun.)
THE KEY TO SMART PACKING: Organize your suitcase before anything goes in it.
I created this travel checklist a few years ago and it’s become vital when out of town is on its way. I didn’t feel I needed it when just driving up to my parents’ place but I now use it for every trip. I’ll print one out a few days before packing (a week or more if it’s a big trip) and cross things off as I do them or pack them. You can download it here:
A few other packing tips (to do BEFORE you even roll out your suitcase!):
- Jot down specific outfits you’ll need for each day / evening.
- Pull out wardrobe pieces that would fit well with itinerary. Focus on basic foundational pieces / color scheme that you can mix and match. This provides more options while cutting down on the pairs of shoes and accessories needed. (Check out the sample, below.)
- Keep in mind which pieces travel well.
- Run through your travel checklist again to make sure you have what you need and then edit down to essentials / favorites.
- NOW you can pack!
A little inspiration:
Before: Instead of trying to keep everything in your head or scribbling notes everywhere, there’s ONE place to jot down what you need, including things to do before you go. Crossing off as you do your to-do or pack items from your list will enable you to walk out the door with way more peace. Trust me! During: While away you’ll have what you need which means you won’t have to run out and get stuff you forgot: big stress, money and time saver! After: If you’re like me and tend to pack way too much, you’ll have less to unpack when you come home.
Click here to download and try for yourself!