I don't claim to be a travel expert, but I am fortunate enough to travel more than the average person. This summer I got to visit some beautiful places including France, Iceland, the Smoky Mountains, and the lovely Cape Cod. The shortest trip was one week long and the longest was 25 days - and each one required packing for various climates, as well as radically different events/activities (think golf clothes to evening gowns!)
How on earth does a girl pack efficiently under these circumstances? Honestly, when it comes to packing...it used to be something I dreaded and I would always put off until the last minute (you know how you procrastinate the things that you least like to do??🤪)
But, just like anything else, the more you practice the better you get. And I'm happy (and yes - maybe a bit proud) to say that I've developed a pretty darn good system for packing efficiently and having everything I need for travel without "overpacking".
My #1 Must-Have... Gonex Compression Packing Cubes
I bought my first packing cubes about a year ago and I loved how they kept everything organized within my suitcase. But it wasn't until I discovered these clever packing cubes with a double zipper for compression that I was able to pack more clothes and still take up less space.
You simply unzip both zippers to fully expand the cube, place your clothes in the cube (I use the "roll" method which allows more clothes to fit and also ensures no wrinkles) and then zip the gray zipper to close up the cube. Apply a little pressure to get the air out of the cube while zipping the black zipper and wa-la 🙌🏻 You've just made extra room in your suitcase!
My #2 Must-Have... Large Tote Bag
Since you are limited to one "personal item" when you board a plane, I like to make sure my item is as big as I can get away with! I have a few different totes that I use - just make sure it is large enough to carry whatever you consider essential. For me, this usually includes a laptop, water bottle, medications, iPad, headphones, a small wallet (with ID and/or passport) and some snacks.
#3 Must-Have... Small/Flat Purse
This goes back to #2...you know how I like to carry a large tote so I can bring LOTS of goodies on the plane? Obviously, I don't want to waste my ONE personal item on a purse. But a gal needs a purse - right? That is why I never leave town without packing this adorable leather crossbody purse
It lies flat in my suitcase, barely taking up any room. Yet, it's the perfect size for carrying everything I might need while I'm out and about in my travels - day or night! I simply pull it out once I arrive at my destination.
I love that the leather is luxuriously soft and there is an interior zipper pocket (great for lip gloss and a room key) as well as an exterior zipper pocket. There's plenty of room for a cell phone, glasses (reading AND sun!) and a few other odds and ends. Besides being a perfect size for travel, the longer strap allows you to wear it cross-body so you can protect yourself from pick-pocketers.
#4 Must-Have...Env Bags Reusable Tote
This ingenious tote is perfect for a number of reasons. First and foremost it opens up to 28" x 19" with a 4" gusset - so you can shop your heart out while traveling. It can actually hold up to 40#!!
And did I mention it folds up and fits neatly into this little carrying pouch? It's the perfect size to throw into your suitcase or tote bag so that you always have an extra tote with you!
I've been known to need a little extra room to bring home treasures. Having this tote along every time I travel allows me fill it up and ask my husband to count it as his ONE "personal item" on our return trip. Genious - I know 😉
* I'm showing the Lobster print, but these bags come in many patterns that are all super cute. Bonus - they are very reasonably priced at $11.50 😀
And this brings me to my final Must Have...Whatever Pouches (also by Env Bags)
I happened to purchase mine at the same time I bought the tote and so I got the matching pattern. I love having various sizes and especially appreciate the zipper. I usually use the large one to pack snacks (then I throw it into my large tote and it makes them really easy to find).
I use the medium size for my medications that I want to keep with me in my carry-on. This is always a good idea since you never know when you'll experience the dreaded "lost luggage" 😱
The smallest pouch is an ideal size for charging cords and headphones.
I'm always looking for additional ways to optimize the packing experience, but I can happily say that packing is a pleasure with all these goodies that simplify my life!
I'm off to my next adventure - a girl's trip to Asheville! Ciao for now 😘