How to Pack for a Trip

Updated: Mar 21

By Ava Kesler

Summer is finally here! Traveling is often a super fun experience, but the packing is dreaded and usually a source of panic and distress. Having gone on a trip somewhere at least once to even eight times in a year, I have accumulated quite a few tips and tricks on packing. So keep reading to see how you can pack for a trip in the most efficient and organized way possible.

1. Plan what activities you'll be doing on a calendar

The first step to effortlessly packing is to plan out all your activities. Take a monthly calendar spread and on each day write down what you plan to do. If it's too early to say which day you'll be doing what, then I suggest making a bulleted list of all your activities so you can at least keep track of them.

2. Plan what outfits you'll need for each activity

Next, prepare your outfits. Look at each activity separately and write what outfit you want to wear for it. If you're doing more than one thing a day, or have an activity that will only take half the day, I suggest writing down two outfits. This is ultimately up to you and what clothing you know you like.

3. Walk through your morning and night routines

Packing toiletries is easily the most stressful part of the process of packing. The most efficient way I found to do this is by literally doing my night and morning routines, and after I use each product, I put it in my bag. I find that keeping my usual toiletries for skin and hair with my makeup is the most compact way to easily keep track of everything, but it's up to you still.

4. Find good luggage organizers

The key to having an organized bag is using compartments or small bags within to hold everything. This not only applies to luggages, but also backpacks and purses and everything in between. Instead of having everything loosely hanging around in a jumbled heap in your bag, you now have small heaps categorized by type of item. You can find aesthetic compartment bags like this pretty much everywhere. Regardless of what brand and style you choose, I recommend having a set with at least a bag for shirts, pants/shorts, underwear, pajamas/activewear/loungewear, outerwear/jackets/swimwear, and toiletries. Of course, this will vary on the destination, but it is a good overview to keep in mind.

5. Pack ahead of time

This basically never happens but still, I'll include it. Packing ahead of time not only saves you stress obviously the night before, but it also guarantees you'll have everything you need in time. Nothing is worst than realizing right before you leave that you forgot to wash your last pair of socks, or you lent a friend that shirt, or that dress needs to be hemmed. While you still might need some clothing items even up to the day before you leave, I highly recommend you at least start the process a few days prior. Just an hour a day can make a world of difference.

6. Double and triple check

There are thousands of travel checklists online that you can use for inspiration to make sure you get all the little nuances of packing. For example, little things like extra face masks, nail filers, pens, or chargers may escape your notice until you review everything you have packed one more time.

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