Smart Packing Tips

My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!
My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!

Everyone dreads it and waits 'til the last minute to do it, but packing is an essential part of traveling. For any of you who claim to be experts at it, I would love to hear from you because I'm always looking for new ideas on how to make it easier. Despite how often I travel I still struggle at it, but along the way I've picked up some helpful tips and tricks to get the job done. And I'm proud to say I've never had to pay extra for my bag being overweight. So, here you are:

  1. Choose your suitcase first and make it smaller than you would think you need. If you go the other way around (pick your clothes first, then the bag to fit it all), you're doomed. And if you choose the biggest bag you've got because you will be gone for an extended length of time, you might as well just fork your wallet over to the airlines now.
  2. Don't wait 'til the last minute. Why? Because if you start a few days in advance, you can go back to your pile later and realize you might not need that 3rd pair of white jeans. I promise, it works. Just like writing a long paper, it's good to take breaks.
  3. Roll, roll, roll. It seriously makes that big of a difference. And your clothes are less wrinkled, usually. My friend and fellow travel enthusiast Sara, has seemed to perfect this technique and actually packs a smaller bag than her husband (eh em, a carry-on for a 2 week trip, seriously?!). Check out her blog post on that here.
  4. Stuff small items inside shoes, like your socks and underwear. It really is all about maximizing space.
  5. If you plan on being active on vacay, bring a pair of old sneakers and leave them at your destination. Hey, we all love to free up space for souvenirs!
  6. Although this is pretty intuitive I can't stress enough to bring samples or travel sizes of your cosmetics. We all have that collection of goods sitting in our drawer that Sephora gives us Beauty Insiders or the bonus goods Kiehl's throws in the bag to urge you to try more products. Well traveling is the perfect time to use those up and save on space.
  7. Last but not least, invest in a luggage scale. They are inexpensive and totally worth the expense of not being surprised at the airport. Those extra airline fees add up quickly! Just make sure it does both kg and lb. You know, for when you're traveling internationally.

Have anything to add? I'd love to hear it!

Essential Carry-On Items

We all know how uncomfortable flying can be, especially on a long flight. Well, unless you are one of the lucky few sitting in first/business class which I think everyone should try once in their life. On an international flight with flatbeds. It will spoil you forever though. ANYWAY, here's what I like to pack in my carry-on to make flying a little bit more tolerable and to increase my chances of arriving feeling refreshed instead of like death. I encourage you to try any/all of these to enhance your travel experience.

Kiehl's In-flight Refreshing Facial Mist - This stuff is a god-send and perfect for when you're feeling moisture-deprived. The essential oils smell lovely and help soothe the skin in a seriously dehydrating cabin. Comes in a travel size bottle too, which is TSA-compliant, perfect.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream - Another saving grace to combat the dryness in the cabin, this amazing hand cream has a very gentle scent so you don't annoy your neighbors, is extremely moisturizing and doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy. It's also my go-to for the winter.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes To-Go - I'm a bit of a germophobe and planes are pretty disgusting. Having a travel pack of these wipes comes in handy for wiping down the tray table, armrests, seatbelt, window shade, touchscreens, you name it. I might look a little crazy wiping everything down but who likes to be sick on vacation?

Emergen-C Super Orange Packets - On a red-eye flight when everyone is drinking their orange juice with breakfast I opt for this instead. You'll need the extra vitamins after being on a long plane ride with little or no sleep and your coughing neighbor next to you.

Beats Noise-Canceling Headphones - Trust me, these make all the difference and you can hear your TV or music selections without having to crank the volume as high as it will go. Plus, they have the amazing ability to make screaming children become silent. Wow!

Inflatable Neck Pillow - The inflatable feature is key for taking up minimal space in your carry-on. A pillow like this one will protect your head no matter the position, even those forward head bobs we all know too well.

Fuzzy Slipper Socks - Our feet tend to swell on flights due to sitting for long periods of time leading us to feel constricted in shoes. These socks are soft and keep your feet warm so you can take off your shoes and be comfortable.

Slip-On Shoes - These get a double shout-out this week because not only are they great for walking around your destination as I mentioned in my last post, but they make it easy to take off/put on for TSA purposes as well as on your flight.

Blanket Scarf - I love that oversized scarves like this one from Nordstrom are so in right now because they are perfect for traveling. Use one as a scarf to dress up your outfit (or cover your nose/mouth incase of any weird smells) or over your body for extra warmth in a cold cabin.

Lastly, I just want to mention this Self-Inflating Seat Cushion. It's popped up lately in a few travel blogs that I read and I'm dying to try it. My hips/butt have been getting angry lately on long flights and I find myself doing laps around the cabin and stretches in the bathroom. It's not fun getting old! This seems like a great solution without breaking the bank to fly business and it doesn't take up too much room in a carry-on.

Do you have anything to add to this list? If so, I'd love to hear it!