Travel: Prep & Packing

Ryan and I will be going on vacation this month, and we can’t wait to get away. We both are much happier when we take the time to totally disconnect from our usual life. In the spirit of vacation, I thought I’d share some travel tips.

We plan our vacation destinations years in advance, and we focus on the details of each about twelve months before we actually go. For example, we already know we are going to Hawaii in October of 2018. So we will start planning that trip in October or November of this year. We probably take planning to the next level, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ryan and I actually create an excel spreadsheet for each trip. A spreadsheet typically includes: meals, activities, estimated costs, apparel, lodging, and transportation. By doing this, we maximize our time and avoid a debate about where to eat. I’ve included a spreadsheet from a few years back as an example.

Travel Plan

By creating this spreadsheet, we also have an idea of how much to save for the trip. Some of you may be thinking this is crazy, and I’ve heard it before. I promise you this makes a world of difference. We do allow for flexibility though, because one night we may not be in the mood for pizza. We can always change it, and we can access the spreadsheet anytime with our Dropbox app.

We both are now pretty OCD about packing as well. I used to bring way too much stuff, but I’ve learned that I don’t really need much depending on the destination. We typically each bring a backpack and one larger bag that we share. Here are ten tips I hope help you the next time you travel.

  1. Each person should have a backpack that includes their identification, boarding pass, Ziploc bag of liquids, forms of entertainment, phone, and at least one outfit. The outfit is a lifesaver if your luggage is lost or delayed. If you bring a purse, throw it in the backpack.
  2. Pack a collapsible bag for souvenirs. We have this one from Tommy Bahama, and it works perfectly. By thinking ahead, you save yourself a headache later. TB bag
  3. Roll your clothes instead of folding them. I won’t roll a bulky sweater or jacket.
  4. I started using packing cubes this year, and I swear by them. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. I use the smallest one for undergarments and tanks. I use the medium size for my shirts. Since I have a set of three, I use the larger size for bottoms and dresses. You can get these on Amazon or at Container Store. travel
  5. Bring an extra pair of socks and underwear.
  6. Pack a large Ziploc bag for swimsuits.
  7. Weigh your bag before you leave the house to ensure you won’t have a problem at the airport.
  8. Ladies, I recommend using a toiletry bag that hangs on a door. You can purchase one just about anywhere, but I have a Vera Bradley one that I’ve been using for years. I also keep mine stocked with the basics, which makes packing easier and faster.
  9. You can purchase travel size straighteners and curlers. I typically skip the blow dryer.
  10. Print out a checklist of some sort to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and we recommend packing a few days prior to leaving.


I typically start filling our bag with my packing cubes. I then add smaller items (heating tools, hats, etc.) along the sides or in-between so that I don’t waste space. I place anything bulky on the top of my cubes, and I finish it off with shoes. I put the shoes in with bottoms facing up, because I don’t want those germs on my stuff. Any other items will be packed in the compartments of our luggage, like the side and front pockets.

So that’s how we get ready for a trip. Do you have a packing tip of your own? Share it below. Check back next Monday, because I’ll be revealing another room. Happy travels!

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