Vacation Packing Tips That Really Make a Difference

vacation packing; top view of open suitcase with hats, shirt, books

Vacation packing can be a challenge! You want to bring everything, but are limited to a carry-on suitcase or a backpack. Between toiletries, shoes, and multiple outfits a day, it may seem impossible.

But playing a little packing Tetris, changing your packing method, and consolidating necessities can really go a long way!

Here are some of our tried and true, personal favorite vacation packing tips.

Buy Toiletry Items at Your Destination

vacation packing; travel size toiletry bottles

If you’re carrying-on your luggage for a flight, it’s so hard to cram necessary liquids, creams, aerosols, and gels into a quart-size bag. But think about travel-sized items you can buy once you reach your destination. That could include:

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Body lotion
  • Hairspray/dry shampoo
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen

We know these items in travel size still take up a significant amount of space in that little baggie. So save room for your face serums, liquid makeup, and primer and buy the others at a drugstore once you arrive.

Use Packing Cubes

vacation travel; packing cubes

I was skeptical of packing cubes at first, thinking they were just a gimmick, but oh my goodness, for vacation packing, do they work! I can fit my shorts and jeans into one, my t-shirts and tank tops in another. Before you know it, instead of having a suitcase full of tightly rolled and packed clothes, I had everything sorted into space-saving cubes. It really is amazing how much room they save!

Limit Your Shoes

vacation packing; suitcase with shoes, clothes

This one is always a struggle for me. Bringing only one pair of shoes for even a weekend trip is just out of the question. But I learned to bring only three pairs and break them into three categories:  casual, sandal, heel.

My casual shoes will be my main walking shoes and what I will wear to and from the airport, such as my Chuck Taylors or Skechers. That means I only have to pack two pairs of shoes – a pair of cute flat sandals and a pair of heels (because you just never know when you want to bust them out!). 

I used to try to pack two of each category (six pairs total). And no, it did not work well for carry-on travel. Try packing shoes that have the most versatility and in neutral colors. 

Don’t Pack Unnecessary Outfits

vacation packing; girl deciding between two dresses

No matter where I was going, I felt compelled to pack at least two going-out dresses, each with a matching pair of heels, “just in case” we decided to go somewhere nice. But 8 times out of 10, we never went anywhere other than what was on our itinerary. Which meant I overstuffed my suitcase for no reason.

Instead, I now pack one back-up nice-occasion dress that already goes with the two pairs of shoes I decided to pack. 

Wear Something More Than Once

vacation packing; shirt, sandals, hat, jean shorts

Not everything you wear needs to be fresh each day! For example, a pair of jeans or jean shorts. I’ve learned that I can easily wear the same pair of jeans or jean shorts multiple days so long as I don’t get them dirty. Like going out at night in jeans, how dirty are they really going to get? You can easily get by with packing only one pair and wearing them a couple times (I promise, no one will even know!). 

Use Sample-Size Containers

vacation packing; sample size face cream containers

This is the only way I am able to fit all of my skin and hair care products into one quart sized bag! I buy tiny containers of different sizes and use those for my daytime moisturizer, nighttime moisturizer, serums, primer, foundation, hair gel, and more. You will be surprised how many days’ use you can get out of one of those tiny containers! And you’ll be equally amazed at how much space you are saving.

Enjoy Your Vacation!

vacation packing; letterboard sign reads travel is good for the soul

Seriously, don’t let the packing process ruin your excitement before you even leave! Remember, if you forget or can’t fit something, you can almost always buy it when you arrive at your destination.

What are some of your favorite vacation packing tricks? We’d love to hear them on our social channels!

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