How I Stay Organized When Packing for Travel + FREE Printable Packing List

Stop staying up until 4 a.m. the day of your flight trying to cram your suitcase full of what you may need when you are away from home and start packing with purpose!

great tips to keep you organized and to keep you from over packing for your next trip

Stress Free Packing- The Devil is in the Details

Make plans

I can easily say that most of my stresses when packing are related to my over-all lack of planning for my trip. I fail to make definitive plans (or even vague ones) for how I am going to spend my time, thus I get stuck on what to wear each day. Then I find myself playing the 'what if' game and grabbing a bunch of random pieces that suit all different circumstances and end up with a hodge-podge assortment of my closet inside my carry on. I think it's pretty obvious that I end up dissatisfied with my choices once I've left home and I'm stuck with that random array...

Now, grab a cup of coffee, sit down with a pad and pen, and get realistic. What the heck are you doing on this trip? What do you want to see, where do you want to go? Write it all down, or if it's easier, make a note in your phone! Packing doesn't need to be as stressful as you are making it out to be, you just need to break it down to be more manageable.

Check the weather

This tip goes hand in hand with the previous, plus it's super obvious. But sometimes it's the simple things that we forget when we are stressing over travel details. Mother Nature ultimately dictates the direction of your suitcase contents. I mean, do you really want to wear those new sandals when it's going to be raining during 98% of your trip? No, I didn't think so. Unless of course you plan on spending all day every day at the indoor pool (it could happen, I guess)

tips for how to organize yourself when packing for a trip to keep you from stressing out
Pin this! Your friends will thank you

Avoid Over Packing and Stay Organized

Now that you've sorted out the details of your trip it's going to be a lot easier to narrow your search for what to pack along with you. When I travel, I try to fit everything I need into one bag because let's be real: airports are easier to navigate when you're not fighting a couple of suitcases, carrying a handbag, and running to your gate. We want to pack smarter, not harder.


A great place to start the packing process is with your event wear. If you have an event that this trip is focused around, say a wedding or a business meeting, pack those outfits first. You know that you have to bring something particular for these events and you don't want to risk running out of space in your suitcase before you pack for them! There's nothing worse than having to repack a full suitcase once you realize that you have forgotten a key element.

When it comes down to the rest of your trip: wear what you know. Reaching for a tried and true outfit discourages you from packing too many 'just in case' pieces. You know, "I'm bringing this purple sweater 'just in case' this new yellow top doesn't fit me or I decide I don't want to wear it." Yeah... we've all done it, and we want to avoid that. If we know the purple sweater works and we like to wear it, let's make an outfit for it and pack that look away! Ultimately, you need to make sure the items you are packing fit, that they are comfortable, and that you commit to wearing them.

Speaking of commitment, let's talk about the whole shebang. You need to pack full outfits, not just clothes that match. Something that I like to do when pairing pieces is to flat lay them all together. Try it, lay everything out that you are wearing for each outfit. Your clothes, jewelry, accessories, shoes, purse, etc. Snap a picture so it's easy to get dressed each day of your trip, and so you don't forget why you packed each item. Plus, now you're prepared to share your #ootd on Instagram. That's like a win win in my book.

While you're grabbing those go-to outfits and working on your flat lay skills, keep in mind that your suitcase isn't Mary Poppins magic bag (a girl can dream!) Space is limited, so try to mix and match between your outfits. Maybe that means you pack 3 pairs of shoes for your 5 day trip because those black flats match multiple looks, or you pack one jacket that matches everything. I don't know about you, but I'm 100% likely to go shopping and I need suitcase space to bring home my new treasures. Not to mention that I just don't want to carry a heavy suitcase.


When it comes to beauty products I try to pack just as light and purposeful as I do with my clothes. The climate and conditions of my trip influence what products I reach for. If I'm headed off on a beach vacay I'm not going to bring an eye shadow palette along, it's just not realistic. Instead I'll probably just bring tinted moisturizer and waterproof mascara.

Again, we're going for space saving. I avoid single shadows (or single anythings) as much as possible. Unless I'm committing to the same makeup for each day...which is unlikely. I like to pack kits and palettes when I'm traveling so I still have options without the bulky packaging of mixed products.

great tips for how to avoid over packing, and a free packing list!
Pin this too! 

Travel Style- What to Wear

What you wear while you're traveling is just as important as (if not more than) what you are packing. You want to wear something easy, simple, and comfortable.

How long is your flight (or your drive)? Think about what is most comfortable to sit in for that length of time, and what fabrics travel well. I would opt out of wearing linen pants (wrinkles) and reach for denim or even leggings instead! Flat lay this outfit as well, you'll be thankful that you did when you wake up for those early morning flights.

Before you even get to your plane you'll be walking (or running) across the airport to your appropriate terminal and waiting who knows how long in the line to go through security. Remember: the airport is not a runway. Wear comfortable shoes and skip out on the accessories. You'll save time and energy if you dress with this in mind.

Also, consider climate change and air conditioning on the plane. When I travel from AZ to WA (or vice versa) I can regularly expect a temperature difference of 20+/- degrees. In this case I bring a cardigan or light jacket with me onto the plane. Something that isn't hard to carry while I'm warm and that I can easily throw on when I get cold. Blanket scarves are a great option as well, wear it as a wrap or even use it as a pillow.

FREE Printable Packing List

I've designed a super helpful packing list that will keep you on track and stress free when you are packing for your next trip. You can layout all of your trip details and more on one page to optimize your organization!

Free printable packing list, and tips to avoid over packing

Download it HERE

Shop cute luggage and accessories below

Bon Voyage!

1 comment

  1. Love. That. Suitcase!

    Sammy @ {xx}


Comments? I'd love to hear them!