Hey friend, I just recently returned from vacation and realized I needed to do much better with my packing if I am to become the traveling woman of my dreams. After returning, I immediately began researching on how to pack better and came up with these top five travel packing hacks.
After keeping my businesses afloat during 2020 and then surviving staffing shortages of 2021, I looked in the mirror and found a harried stressed out person I hardly recognized. The process of coming back from burnout has been both difficult and rewarding. During some of my self-reflection time I began evaluating how I was spending my life and time. I had long ago dreamed of traveling. Mostly, I saw myself going on restorative beachy trips. I felt disappointed that I was letting life pass me by without inhaling the salty beachy air. I decided to make a change and start living the life I wanted and taking these trips.
The thing with making a change in your life is that things don't magically just fall into place. Creating new paths can reveal other problems. You have to be committed to solving these problems as they arise. Having just returned from my second beach vacay this year, I recognized one major flaw in this vision of myself in my head to be a "real traveler". I am terrible at planning for and packing for trips. I am an over-packer who not only doesn't wear most of what I take, but I forget things and end up having to buy them. These things bring added stress and end up taking away from a pleasant vacation experience.
So, returning from my trip, I've made the commitment to being a more prepared travel-ready person. So, like I do for everything else, I began researching the best tips for planning and packing for trips. And like always, I thought I would share them with you.
1. Start packing a week ahead of time. Well okay, this could be my first problem. I might get the suitcase out early, but actually committing what to put into it never happens til the day of. Bad move. I'm working on a downloaded packing list for you that I'll have posted soon. Getting this done a week ahead is perfect in order to get laundry washed and to transfer all your toiletries into smaller travel containers.
2. Pack to save space. Ok wow, there are so many things you can do to save space. A few of my favorites are using all available space. Some examples of this are to put socks and belts in shoes. Another idea is to use packing cubes and roll your items into them. You can save space by placing t-shirts flat on top of jeans and rolling together.
3. Limit choices. There are several recommendations on this, but the ones I found most helpful are to never pack more than three pairs of shoes (Gulp! That's a hard one.) and to pack in neutrals. This is a brilliant idea because it means you can mix and match outfits. It also works with the limited shoe selection.
4. Pack smart. One suggestion I loved was packing a travel first aid kit. Especially if you travel with your family, this is a great idea. Someone always needs headache medicine, a band aid or other necessities and you end up having to buy full sizes while traveling. Another idea was to pack a travel clothesline if you plan to be away long enough to do laundry. I literally never thought of that!
5. Making the airport bearable. Is it just me, or has the TSA become almost hostile these days? Some of our airport experiences were just so bad. Also, we had two flights that were delayed 2-3 hours each. Throwing out liquids and the inability to have healthy snacks on you is hard. Here's a few hacks I learned to help you stay hydrated and keep your sugar levels up. The first is to bring an empty water bottle. This way you can fill it up just as soon as you get through security without having to wait in long lines. The other thing you can do for a snack cooler is to freeze a sponge. This is the best hack to keep snacks cold long enough to get through security.
Learning to become a more prepared traveler will take some time and commitment. But, it's worth it in the ever pursuit of living the life that's inside our heads.
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