Travel: YEA! Vacation: YEA! Packing for travel and vacation: ugh, groan, sigh, crickets chirping. Unpacking after returning from said travel and vacation: lots of “NOOOOO!” and “BOOOOO!” and “I’m tired just thinking about it.”
While I don’t think packing and unpacking will ever be the funnest things on the to-do list – although I guess that depends on what else is on the list: for a person scheduled to turn themselves in to jail, packing might actually be the funnest thing on the to-do that day – but it definitely doesn’t have to be awful either 🙂
Here are some tips that work for me:
- COLOR-COORDINATED CAPSULE WARDROBE – For this trip, I chose a neutral palette of navy, gray, and white, punctuated with stripes and pops of red and lighter blue (pictured above). Each piece plays well with the others, and I can mix, match, and layer for days and days.
- PACKING FOLDERS: All the pieces pictured above, except the belts, fit into these two Eagle Creek Packing Folders (also available from REI, Bed Bath & Beyond, and The Container Store). The larger 18 and 20 folders are great for packing men’s clothing and bulkier items, like knits.
- Eagle Creek products come in a variety of colors and prints, although blue and black are the most widely-available. The prints change from time to time and sometimes go on clearance.
- I scored a bunch of items from an online clearance sale at REI, and I purchased the rest using the never-expiring 20% off coupons at Bed Bath & Beyond (more in this post). You can also use multiple coupons to purchase multiple items. Not every BBB has a travel section, so be sure to call to confirm before rolling up to one and being mad at me because these goodies aren’t available 🙂
Eagle Creek Pack-It System
Compartmentalizing items within luggage not only makes it easier to pack, but it also makes it super easy to stay organized – no more rummaging through piles of folded clothes that unfold into a hot suitcase mess – during the trip. In the case of a cruise ship stateroom the size of a shower stall, for example, it’s a 2-second job to transfer everything (still in folders, bags, sacs, etc.) from luggage to dresser, and store suitcases away.
Clockwise from top left:
- HALF TUBE CUBE: These have one mesh side to allow for ventilation, and they’re soft-sided so tons of stuff fits into them. (When it looks full, I usually add a few more things… and it always zips!) Perfect for packing and organizing small items like scarves, belts, socks, undies, tanks, etc, and for making the most out of small suitcase spaces.
- HALF CUBE: After the packing folders, the half cubes are my favorite because for me, they are the most versatile. Tees, pajamas, tanks, workout clothes, thin knits, random articles of clothing…roll them up and toss them in.
- SHOE SAC: This sac is made of a sealed mesh that keeps dirt and other shoe unpleasantness compartmentalized, and it easily holds two pairs of women’s shoes with a bit of room left over.
- PACK-IT SACS: Like the shoe sacs, these bags are designed to seal contents away from the rest of the suitcase, making them great for packing toiletries. I have the small and medium sizes, and I’m thinking about getting a large one for my flat and curling irons.
- To make unpacking and the unavoidable post-trip laundry session more bearable, I use TRAVEL SPACE BAGS (not pictured), which are awesome for transporting dirty laundry without taking up valuable luggage space. I have one for whites and one for colors, so all I have to do is dump the contents of a bag into wash after a trip.
Check out THIS POST for more packing tips 🙂