how to pack for a trip

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Print it as an 8X11 or "full size" photo.

Now that we've discussed how to plan a trip, let's talk about the final important part of the vacation preparation - the packing!  As you may have inferred from my previous travel post, I am a wee bit overly-organized when it comes to planning.  I'm no different when it comes to packing.  I make check lists galore.  Here's how I pack, step by step.  This is all obviously for a longer trip, for a quick overnight I'm a little less nuts, but only a little. ;) 

STEP 1 ::: Toiletries
For some reason, I find packing my toiletries to be the most daunting part of the packing process.  Probably because it's the least fun. When packing our toiletries and carry-on bag, I use my "Master Packing List".    The check list is sorted by girl toiletries and boy toiletries  carry on bag, and a 'don't forget' section.  Each list has a check box for when the item is packed and another check box for when the item is repacked on the way home. To get a copy of my Master Packing List, you can either download a pdf version here or check out the image at the top of this post for downloading instructions.

Disclaimer:  I realize that many people use the hotel's shampoo, conditioner, soap, blow dryer, etc. and don't bring their own.  I have separation anxiety from my products and truly believe my hair and skin will look like poo if I do not use my beloved products.  I would LOVE if we could start a petition to have all hotel blow dryers include the little diffuser nozzle, but until then, I bring my blow dryer as well.  Also, yes, I bring my own Turbie Towel, those things are the best!  

STEP 2 :::  Carry on Bag
I pack my carry on bag second.  I think this is often something that people do last minute and end up with an over-stuffed carry on bag that contains none of what is actually need for the flight.  Some highlights of what I take on a plane:  I ALWAYS pack socks.  My little feeties get so cold, especially on a long flight.  I also make sure to wear comfortable and warm clothes for the plane.  I bring my own travel pillow because I've learned after 8 years that Al's bony shoulder is not a comfortable place for my head.  I know on long flights they often give you a pillow, but give me the willies.  I also make sure when taking a red-eye that I have a makeup wipe to "wash" my face before getting off the plane.  I also just love those little Wisp toothbrushes for the end of the flight.  I don't use the water from the plane's bathroom sink; it too, gives me the willies.  I always make sure to have downloaded at least two books for a long vacation - nothing is worse than finishing a book on a trip and then having to buy some icky paperback novel because you can't find anything else.

STEP 3 ::: Clothes
The last part of my packing process is clothes.  I do Step 1 and 2 a few days before our trip, but I save the clothes for last (the day before)  because I don't like to have my clothes folded up for a long time before I can unpack them (I put off the wrinkling process as long as possible.)  I don't use a check-list for clothes since these items change depending on where we're going.  Instead, I take my itinerary and a print out of the weather report and start going day by day, setting out my outfit including my undergarments, bag, and jewelry for that day.  In the margins of my itinerary, I write what outfit items I've chosen for each day so that I can remember what I picked out once we arrive our destination.  Once everything is laid out, I fold it all up (or roll it) and make stacks for each day (excluding jewelry - that goes in a separate zip bag) .  I put each day's stack into the suit case in reverse order (so the last day's clothes are towards the bottom).   Makes sense, right?  And now you can ensure you don't over-pack at all, having only what you need for each day.  I do always throw in an extra cardigan or jacket to use through out the trip should it be colder than expected.  Oh!  And don't forget your PJ's!

A note on suitcase arrangement...
Start with your shoes.  Shoes on the bottom layer mean your heels will be protected and they won't smush your clothes.  Second layer is your clothes stacked day by day.  Top layer is toiletry bag and any freezer-size bags with your toiletries   I tuck my curling irons down along the sides.  I tuck my jewelry bag deep down in between my stacks of clothes so it stays out of sight should someone open my bag up for inspection or whatever they do to bags once the airline gets them.  Any delicate clothes that could wrinkle easily are wrapped in dry-cleaning bags then rolled and placed on the very top of everything (so they don't get all smushed!)

A final tip...
If you're taking an overnight flight, chances are you won't be able to check into your hotel room right away once you arrive.  You'll probably want to change out of your airplane clothes and into your Day 1 clothes.  I pack my Day 1 clothes (including under garments), in the very front pocket of my suitcase.  This way, I can quickly grab the stack, rather than opening up my entire suitcase in the lobby of the hotel (embarrassing).  For those of you who just book the hotel a night in advance to avoid this - bravo, can you pay for my extra night? 

What do you think.  Are you Inspired?  Afraid?  Impressed?  
Whatever you are, I hope you got a few helpful methods to the madness that is packing.
Don't forget to download the packing list!


{image/packing list by me}
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