I hate when I get to my destination and realize I forgot someone important. I grew up with a family that loved to travel and check out new destinations all around the United States and even Europe. We packed light. A bag we could carry as kids. Typically, one pair of shoes, one swimsuit, a few shirts and a few pair of shorts and wear a lot of layers on the plane.

Now, that I have a family of my own. I have the desire to share the traveling experience with my own family. Adventures are fun but packing stinks. I am just going to be honest with you, packing straight up stresses me out. So I scoured the internet looking for tips.

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Here is a guide that will give you helpful travel packing tips and tricks:

1. Throw a few plastic bags of various sizes into your suitcase. Larger ones can hold dirty laundry or wet shoes, while smaller ones can protect your phone or camera in case of rain or store food in when you get to your destination.

2. Keep a dryer sheet in your suitcase. This keeps the bag smelling nice between trips, gives your clothes a pleasant scent during your trip, and offers a little whiff of home each time you open your suitcase.

3. Pack a reusable water bottle. You can fill it at airports and hotels instead of paying for overpriced bottles of water. Plus, you will want that at the beach or out on your vacation adventures.

4. When choosing a travel purse, look for one with thick, comfortable straps that won’t cut into your shoulders and that can be adjusted to suit your height and body type. I like something I can use as a beach bag as well as a night out purse. Oversized tote made with soft material works perfectly.

5. Pack garments in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits. Don’t bring any single-use items unless they’re for a special occasion. This also helps with packing a few pairs of shoes. Leave bulky and/or uncomfortable heels at home. I found a comfortable pair from Target here in St Cloud that I could easily dress up or down so I had those and a pair of running shoes that I wore to the airport. That’s it. Shoes take up a lot of space.
6. Wear your jacket and heaviest shoes onto the plane to save suitcase space. I always wear my running shoes with jeans and multiple layers on top on the plane.
7. Instead of buying travel-size versions of your favorite toiletries, it’s usually cheaper to get the full-size versions and pour them into reusable travel-size containers. Don’t pack the full-size items if you can find a miniature version to reduce bulk and weight.
8. Bring a hanging toiletry bag that you can carry easily from one hotel to the next without having to unpack. I love my Mary Kay toiletry bag it has 4 compartments and it saves a ton of counter space in the bathroom. Also, if something opens up it doesn’t spill all over inside my suitcase.
9. Don’t forget a first aid kit. It’s always a good idea to have bandages, painkillers, and other basic first-aid items. Buy a travel-size first-aid kit or create your own.
10. Create your own in-flight kit to stay hydrated with items such as lip balm, lotion, facial mist, lubricating eye drops, saline nasal spray, and sheet masks for your face.
11. Consider packing a whistle or personal alarm for safety, tactical flashlight, mace, especially if you’re traveling alone.

12. Use a pill organizer to keep your jewelry from tangling. This I figured out after years of tangled up necklaces. That can be so annoying.
13. One of my best suitcase packing tips is for you to simply roll your clothes. Seriously, if you’re not currently rolling your clothes instead of folding them, do it! It saves lots of space.
14. Consider stashing extra cash in an unassuming container such as an empty lip balm tube or prescription bottle. Such containers are unlikely to be targeted by thieves. Imagine if you lost your purse what would you do without any money.
15. Pack a smaller suitcase or bag. Usually if we have a lot of space we tend to fill it up with things we really don’t need. And put the heavier items in first it helps keep your bag from tipping over.

 

These are just some tips that could help you on your next trip. Packing doesn't need to be super stressful. Make sure you start packing a few days before you go. And double check everything. Lists certainly help.