How To Pack for an Organized Vacation

The following is a guest post about how to pack for an organized vacation from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

My family travels pretty often. There are months where we travel more than others. I never thought I would be a person who said I traveled often, but that is where I am right now. When I say travel, I am referring to road trip traveling. I haven’t been on a plane in over eight years. When my husband and I moved four years ago, we moved away from our entire family. So, we travel back home to visit often. Also, my daughter does competitive cheer, so we are traveling from January to April. Sometimes, it is just a one day trip and others are longer.

Over the years, I have tweaked the way I travel and have attempted to get more organized every time. Today, I wanted to share some of the ways I pack for an less stressful organized vacation.

Start Packing Early

I always start packing early. It doesn’t matter if I am traveling an hour or eight hours. I always start packing early because I know I will forget something. If I gradually pack, I will usually remember all of those extra things that get missed often. Plus, it allows me time to get everything completely organized and not crammed into my suitcase.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Make a List

I can not emphasize the importance of this enough. I am a classic list maker and planner, so every task in my life gets a list. It doesn’t matter if I am going grocery shopping, trying to remember an errand I need to run, or packing for a trip. My brain likes to have everything written down.

When I write things down, I am able to go through each item several times and make sure I have them packed and ready to go. The list also helps with the stress that can be associated with packing.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Purchase the Packing Cubes

If someone asked me what the #1 packing item is for me, I would definitely say packing cubes. They revolutionized the way I pack. Several years ago, I kept seeing videos and blog posts about how amazing they were and I finally caved and purchased some. Now, I can’t go anywhere without them.

Originally, I thought they would add a lot of bulk to my luggage, but they don’t. They make everything fit nicely inside of my suitcase and everything is organized out perfectly. I place my pajamas in one, undergarments in one, tops in one, and bottoms in another. So, if I am looking for pajamas, I just have to take one packing cube out of my luggage. No more messy clothes inside of my suitcase.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Note from Laura: I agree packing cubes are the best! You can purchases these at most department stores now. What’s most important is finding ones that fit your particular suitcase. Check out these travel packing cubes on Amazon if you’d like (this is my affiliate link, I will make a small commission should you purchase through my link).

Pack a Laundry Bag

This is something I finally realized. Pack some sort of laundry bag when traveling, so you can separate the dirty clothes from the clean clothes. Let’s be honest. The little plastic hotel laundry bags they give you in your room won’t even hold one outfit. They are definitely not going to hold an entire family’s dirty clothes.

So, I have learned to take some sort of laundry bag. Until our last trip, it was a plastic 13 gallon garbage bag. Then, I decided to spend $2.50 for a collapsible tote from Wal-Mart that can compress down super small when not in use.

A laundry bag used to be the last thing on my list, but now it is the first.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Pack Reusable Totes

I can not tell you how many trips we take where we always need some sort of extra bag when coming home. And, we do not do a lot of shopping on trips. Most of our trips involve cheer competitions or visiting family. But, we seem to always need an extra bag when coming home for food, souvenirs, or goodies that my mom sends with us.

So, I now travel with at least one reusable bag. These bags can fold down to be super small, which means they take up no room in your luggage. But, they fold out to hold a nice amount of things.

I have been traveling with one for over a year now and it helps so much with organization.

How To Pack for an Organized Vacation at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

How do you stay organized when traveling?

My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!

See also:

Organized Travel Documents for an Organized Vacation

Easy Organized Packing for Kids plus free family travel checklist

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kristin, Travel/Auto Organization


6 Responses to How To Pack for an Organized Vacation

  1. 1
    Zinnia says

    Great tips! No matter how I can’t start packing early! I am the last minute packer!

  2. 2
    Ann says

    Additional tips: I have dedicated travel toothbrushes for everyone, and deodorant that stay with my travel toiletries at home. No more forgetting to raid the bathroom cabinet before we leave, and no digging thru suitcases for toothbrushes when we get home late at night! For the extra bag, I fold a shopping bag (paper or those giant $1 totes you can buy at checkouts) and stick it in the outside flat pocket of our suitcase. Could also just lay it flat inside the top of your suitcase,

    • 2.1
      Kristin @ The Gold Project says

      I definitely need to do the toiletries thing. It would definitely help with the last minute, “where is my toothbrush,” issues.

  3. 3
    Jennifer says

    Great tips! I love the suggestion of the collapsible laundry tote.
    Tips that work for my family:
    – When travelling we pack our clothes in outfit sets (top, bottom, underwear, socks) to make it easier to remove an outfit without making a complete mess of the suitcase.
    – If travelling by car, we often pack our clothes/gear in plastic totes instead of suitcases. They stack better in our SUV, serve as a laundry basket and a step (for the kids to get on/off the bed) at the hotel.
    – If travelling regularly, keep a travel ‘kit’ with your regulars (i.e. toiletries, games, special treats)
    – We use small fabric bags to keep all our electronic devices/chargers together – each charger labelled
    – I always pack a separate bag to keep anything that gets stained so that I can quickly separate them from the other dirty laundry to treat when we get home.

  4. 4
    Muriel says

    Packing cubes are awesome. We use 1 suitcase for our family and the packing cubes keep everything organized. Also nice when changing hotels each night on a road trip. We just carry in a toiletry bag and a packing cube with pajamas and 1 outfit for everyone.

  5. 5
    Practical Parsimony says

    I have a dedicated travel bag for cosmetics and hygiene needs. the bag was originally a lunch bag, I suppose. It is about 6x6x10 inches. I leave everything I will need for no matter how long I stay away. I never take out the things in it–toothpaste and toothbrush, comb/pick, deodorant, shampoo, Dove bar soap in Tupperware container, cotton balls, q-tips, floss, allergy meds, emery boards, tweezers, cuticle nippers, washcloth in sandwich bag, bobby pins, clothes pins, and a dozen other needed small items. I do change out the washcloth if I use it.

    I even take this bag if I am going to visit someone and come home before night. It is used every time, and you never know when coming home will not be possible. I used it for a week in a hotel in Atlanta and needed nothing else other than clothing. Like I said, it stays packed all the time. I have a toothbrush at home and in the car and in the bag.


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