How to Pack for Your Summer Vacation

5 Steps to Help You Pack like a Pro


Summer is here and my guess is that many of you have plans to soak in the sun with at least one vacation. To help you get to and through your trip hassle free, we’re sharing our guide to packing like a pro. Whether you’ll be gone for 1 week or 1 month, this 5 step plan will help you figure what and how to pack for your trip.

1.    Get the Right Gear

Great packing begins with great luggage and travel gear. Having the right equipment can cut much of the hassle that comes with travel and prepare you for an awesome trip. Checkout our packing gear post for tips on what to add to your arsenal of travel gear and what to look for out of each.

 2.    Analyze Your Trip

Before you ever pull the suitcase out of the closet, take some time to think through the important aspects of your trip which will influence how you approach your packing strategy.  For instance, you may want to consider:

a.    Where will you be going?

  • Are you comfortable taking a brand new designer suitcase to your destination or would you feel more at ease with something less flashy?
  • Have you checked the weather? Rain or snow will call for different precautions and packing gear than extreme heat.
  • Planning to take public transit? Map the location of your hotel to see how close it is to the nearest stop. You’ll want a good set of wheels and a light load if you have to haul your bags for a few blocks.
  • Multiple flights planned for you trek? Each airline has their own weight and baggage requirements. Pack for the least common denominator. 

b.    What will you be doing?

  • Planning on doing any outdoor activities during your trip? You’ll need to make space in your case for gym shoes and workout attire.
  • Is a shopping on your activity list? Bring an extra bag or leave room in your suitcase for take-homes.
  • Fancy dinner or formal event in your itinerary? Don’t forget to leave room for your high heels and favorite dress. Alternatively make a plan to use Rent the Runway to have these items shipped to your hotel.

c.     How long will you be away?

  • My theory is that you should always aim to keep your packing to a carry-on. However, be realistic with yourself and pick a proper size bag.
  • Gone long enough that you’ll need to do laundry? Rather than pay an arm and a leg to have your hotel wash your things, bring a washing bag & detergent to hand wash clothing in your room
 3.    Assemble everything on your List

Once you’ve though through the ins and outs of your trip, it’s time to break out your packing list and start getting to work. Decide what you are going to bring and get it all laid out in front of you. As you do, separate items into the following categories: Underwear/Swimwear, Shoes, Clothing, Accessories, and Bathroom.

a.       Underwear/Swimwear: Take an empty laundry bag and fill it with your undergarments and bathing suits. This will keep them protected and out of sight of unwanted eyes when you’re bag passes through security. 

b.       Shoes: Leave no room to spare. Fill shoes with socks, then stack, and place inside of shoe bags.

c.       Clothing: There are several methods to packing. I suggest trying the following techniques and figuring out which works best for you:

  • Rolling: Separate clothing into tops and bottoms. Begin by stacking shirts flat on top of a pillowcase. Fold the pillowcase in half the long way and roll up the short way. Repeat with bottoms. This technique will keep your clothing organized, wrinkle-free, and protected from dirt.
  • Packing Flat: Start by buttoning shut your tops and bottoms. Then simply fold everything to the size of your suitcase and begin stack. This method provides less organization but can be a better option for stiff fabrics, heavy layers, or fabrics that are more prone to wrinkle.
  • Packing Cubes: Divide clothes by category, outfit, or day of the week.  Roll or fold each item and pack into cubes. This option is great for keeping everything organized and compartmentalized.

d.      Accessories: Place your necklaces, bracelets, and rinds inside of a jewelry roll or other small pouch to keep them tangle free and easy to find.

e.       Bathroom: Fill empty 3 fl. Oz. bottles with your favorite creams, lotions, and gels. To lessen the chance of leaks, only fill bottles 2/3 of the way full to allow for changes in cabin pressure. Next, separate your makeup by type of products (eye shadow, pencils, lipsticks, etc.…) and place each set into a Ziploc bag. Include a few makeup sponges in bags containing powder makeup to cushion them and prevent them from breaking into bits.

4.    Fill your Bag

Now that you’ve got your essentials ready to go it’s time to start filling your suitcase. No matter which packing technique you’ve chosen, begin by filling the bottom crevices in your suitcase with small pouches and loose items. Next, add your bigger items e.g. rolls, bags, or folded clothes. Leave no spare space behind– fill in holes with any remaining loose items.  As you pack, make sure anything you need to get to en route is placed in an easy to reach area like an outside pocket.

5.    Edit and Delete

Remove “just in case” items that don’t fit inside your case. Weigh your bag to make sure it doesn’t exceed any airline restrictions.  Lastly, add a an identifier to the outside of your bag like a bright luggage tag or bandana to help you find it easily when mixed in with other bags.

That’s it!  If you have other great tips for how to pack we’d love to hear. Comment below to let us know or tweet us @SingleDiariesXO!



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