5 Tips to Pack for a Stress-Free Vacation

We left off with me showing you all of the outfits I was going to pack for the trip. Well, when I got done, my office floor looked like this:

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When I pack for a long trip, I like to carefully fold my clothes as flat as I can, and lay everything out that I need to go into the bag. This part always makes me nervous, because I see how much stuff I need to pack into that orange bag, and how tiny it’s starting to look. Seriously, it totally made me reconsider just wearing the same outfit every day and calling it a failure. But I trudged on…

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The bottom of the bag unzips to a fairly large compartment. In there, I put all of the bath and beauty stuff, book and magazines, hair tools, and shoes. This is all stuff that’s fairly solid and inflexible, so I try to keep it all together. The bottom of the bag (when I use the wheels) is on the right, so I put the heavier stuff on the right, and shoes on the left, so they’ll be on top. Smart thinking to keep my shoes from getting crushed!

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On top of that, I had room for a beach towel (I went with a smaller one than I originally posted about, and I’m sure it’ll work out just fine) and the tote bag. So the bulkiest stuff fit just fine!

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I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but I managed to fit ALL of the clothes in the top compartment. It’s flexible, so it stretches a bit to accomodate a lot of clothing. Making sure everything is folded flat and mostly uniformly really helps make sure it will all stack nicely. Even if I tip this bag up, this part is packed so tightly that I don’t think anything will move or get squished. I plan to unpack it all when we get there, so I don’t anticipate wrinkles either, which is always a good thing!

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The last space I have to fill is a smaller compartment on the left/top front of the bag. For now, I just have the sunscreen in there, but I will probably also put an umbrella in there (found out today it might rain on Thursday, so while it won’t go in the purse, I’ll still take it just in case). It will probably also hold some granola bars and my phone charger. It looks small, but it’s surprisingly deep…kinda like me (not really).

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Success!

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The only thing I didn’t fit in the bag was my laptop, but I’m fine with carrying that in my computer bag. I could probably shove it in there somewhere, but I still kind of feel strange having it in a bag I’m very likely to drop (I’ve done it a few times), or might need to be stowed on the ferry.

So that’s where we end things this week. I’m so glad everything fit in one bag because it’s going to make for a very easy trip!

One last time…

Some tips to keep in mind when packing your luggage:

1. Do NOT wait to do this the night before! We did that last year when we went to Florida, and I ended up in Target at 9pm buying the bag you see here because I couldn’t fit everything in my smaller suitcase. While it all worked out, don’t leave yourself in a bad spot by waiting until the wire to pack! Take time each day during the week to do laundry, buy anything you need, and get your stuff together. You’ll find it’s less stressful, and you’ll pack less than if you panic and start throwing shit in a suitcase at midnight the night before!

2. The night before, double check the weather. For example, I wasn’t planning to take an umbrella, but it turned out that the weather called for rain on Thursday, so I made sure to pack one anyway. Make any adjustments accordingly.

3. If you plan to do any shopping while on vacation, make sure to leave plenty of extra room in your luggage! You don’t want to end up checking an extra bag at the airport, or even worse, paying to mail things home – so leave some wiggle room! I’m not planning to do much shopping, so I packed my bag to the gills…but if I really wanted to, I could stuff a few bottles of wine in there on the way home. We’re visiting two wineries while we’re there, and I’m sure I’ll come home with some!

4. If you are planning to fly, make sure to weigh your luggage before you leave! Airlines are notoriously rigid about weight limits, and if your bag goes over, you’ll be paying out the nose for it! I packed that bag last year to go to Florida, and it made it well under the 50lb. limit my airline had for bags – but it didn’t hurt to check just in case! Make sure to leave yourself a little wiggle room concerning weight if you plan to shop too!

Also, if you plan to take a carry-on, make sure it’s the correct size, or you’ll be paying to check it too! Don’t be the asshole who gets booted off the plane because you tried to shove a bag into the overhead compartment that you knew wouldn’t fit. No one likes that guy. No one.

5. Once you’re all packed up, pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back, and revel in your packing skills – you’re almost on your way to an amazing vacation, and you can totally relax knowing you have everything you need, and not a single thing more!

I hope you all had a great week, and I’ll be back on Monday to let you know how things went, get my ass in gear with the Picking My Battle challenge, and doing a whole lot of laundry!

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