My Packing Strategies

Hello my friends! Before I work on the next destination piece, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about packing over the years. Packing is a very personal thing and most is learned through trial and error. I will never claim to be a packing pro..but I have found some strategies that work for me.

First of all, as I’ve mentioned before, I do have some physical limitations. Because of this, I’ve tried to streamline my luggage and pack lighter. Maneuverability is key for me, so I look for very lightweight bags with good handling wheels.

The most obvious place to start when planning your packing list is your location. Definitely look at the average temps and rainfall ( or snow) for your destination and time of year. For most destinations, light layers are always a good choice. Also really think about what you plan to do while away. If you’re going to an All Inclusive resort on a tropical island to soak up the sun, relax and maybe get some spa treatments, you can get by with minimal clothes! If you’re planning an active holiday, make sure you are prepared with the appropriate attire and most importantly foot wear ! Nobody is happy when their feet are aching 😩.

Your Carry-On

Packing your carry on bag appropriately is ESSENTIAL! We learned this the hard way. On our first trip to Italy, we arrived in Rome and our checked luggage did not. I had packed our toiletries, medications and clean underwear in our carry on which was great. However, wearing the same clothes for 72 hours after an overnight flight, not so great😩. Now I put at least one complete outfit for each person in our carry on bags. Think about the first 2 days of your trip and plan an easy to pack appropriate outfit to stash in your carry on.

Always bring your valuables, medications and electronic devices on board with you as well, this includes chargers, cords, and adapters. Basically think about anything that you can’t live without or can’t easily replace and bring it onboard. For me, this includes my make up and hair products/ tools 😉.

I use a small carry on bag that I recently purchased from and I love it! It fits under the seat so I can prop my feet up..perfect for us vertically challenged folks! It has a strap in back to slide on top of my checked luggage, 4 wheels and a telescoping handle for really easy maneuvering.

My favorite carry on!

In addition to my carry on luggage, I use a zippered tote bag as my personal item. I throw a cross body purse inside to use as my purse throughout the trip. Depending on location and plans, I may also throw in a small wristlet or evening clutch. The tote also holds all our airport essentials such as passports, boarding passes, itineraries. I still prefer printing out copies of things, I’m always afraid that I’ll hit a wrong button on my phone or some glitch will occur and I won’t be able to access things electronically. I use a simple manilla folder and organize my papers in the order that we’ll need them. Ex: boarding passes, train tickets, hotel confirmation etc

Our quart size clear plastic bags with liquids also go into the tote for easy access going through security. So thankful that I typically travel with my hubby, so I can cram more liquids into 2 bags instead of one😉. I’m not risking my make up getting lost in transit 🤣.

Again, think about your destination when packing liquids. If you’ll need sunscreen then portion some into a travel container! If you’re not picky about shampoo, conditioner or soap, you can save space by planning to use the hotel’s or purchase some when you arrive. I use regular old quart size ziplock baggies for liquids, and always stash extra quart and gallon bags in my luggage.

Other tote items include, kindle or iPad, snacks, magazines, tissues, a scarf or wrap, glasses/ sunglasses and of course wallet.

Zippered tote bag

Your Checked Luggage

Moving on to your checked luggage. We typically check one bag each. Nothing larger than a medium size bag and preferably one medium bag and one small ( carry on size).

After our lost luggage in Rome, I made a big change in my packing strategy. Instead of packing our clothes separately in one bag for each of us, I now mix them. It takes a bit more thought and planning but here is my reasoning. There is more of a chance of one bag being lost in transit than both. So if my bag got lost with ALL my clothes and he had his..well that just wouldn’t be fair, right?? So now, I put outfits together for each of us in each bag along with appropriate foot ware! Genius😉

Are you using packing cubes? I’ve found them to be extremely helpful in fitting more in my bag and especially for keeping things organized! I purchased mine at TJ Maxx…they typically have a good selection of handy travel items and very affordable!

I have 2 sets of these.

You can pack your cubes in any way that makes sense for you. I like to keep similar items together, ex: all undergarments in the smallest cube. I pretty much fit all our clothes in the cubes, arrange in suitcase, then fit shoes and accessories around the outer edges and filling in spaces. Rolling my clothes individually allows me to fit the most in each cube. Any larger, heavier items such as jackets, I fold flat and lay down first in my case.

What to Bring

Again, what you pack is very individual and depends entirely on where you’re going and the nature of your trip. I do have some general tips that apply to any and all types of travel.

#1 : A neutral color palette. By sticking to mainly neutrals, you’ll be able to mix and match a multitude of outfits from just a few pieces. I always include denim when’s a neutral, appropriate in every season and almost any venue. Pack at least one great pair of jeans that make you feel good! The rest of my palette usually revolves around white, black and grey. You can use accessories to add pops of color and change a look.

#2: Light layers. Unless you’re going on a ski trip or another cold weather adventure, light layers almost always work. I pack a denim jacket that I can pair with everything from shorts and a tank, to maxi dresses. A lightweight cardigan is a staple for me as well. A lightweight chambray button down shirt can act as a top or be worn open as a layering piece. Some other good options are a light trench or rain poncho and a large scarf or pashmina. *tip, I wear layers on the plane so it’s less to pack. A typical travel outfit consists of leggings, a white tank or T, a chambray button down, scarf, cotton trench and slip on sneakers.

#3: Dresses 😉. For those gals like me that don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort. I practically live in dresses when traveling …weather permitting. Easy, comfortable dresses can be worn with sneakers for day touring and transition to evening by changing into sandals or boots. Dresses take up very little space, and even less effort when getting dressed.

#4 : Footwear. Let’s face it, shoes can be heavy and they can hurt our feet and make us miserable. When traveling it’s tempting to pack those pretty high heeled sandals that you’ve been dying to wear…Don’t 😉. Unless you’re going to a destination wedding or some other formal event, you will not need them! A pair of cute, comfortable white sneakers, whether leather or canvas can be worn with just about anything..bring those 😉. If you’ll be in a warm climate, a pair of flat sandals or wedge sandals are always appropriate. For cooler climates, flat or wedge booties can also be worn with everything from jeans to dresses. I try to stick to 3 pairs of shoes…the pair I wear on the plane ( slip on sneakers), one pair in my carry-on ( lightest pair), and the bulkiest or heaviest pair in my checked bag. You may need to add an additional pair of specialty shoes that pertain to any specific activities. For instance, on our recent Italy trip, I added hiking sandals 👍

These got me through 11 days in Italy
Along with these for hiking Cinque Terre!

That’s basically my tips and strategies for packing! I hope you’ve found it helpful!!

Ciao for now 😘

6 thoughts on “My Packing Strategies

  1. I was going to ask you about packing cubes. Now that I see you use them, I’ll be buying a set. The shoe recommendations are fantastic! Great piece!


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