One Packing Method for All My Trips

Whether I am packing for a weekend away or for 2-weeks in multiple cities, I always have the same packing process.

Step #1: Make a List for Packing

While some travelers create spreadsheets to organize their packing list, I prefer the old school pen & paper to have the satisfaction of literally crossing out each item. With either preference, lists are the necessary first step in organizing yourself before actually packing.

First, I list out the days and dates of travel. For shorter trips and certain destinations, I pre-plan my outfits for each day. This way I prevent myself from over-packing. In the rare case when I lack clothing while on a trip, hotels provide laundry service and shopping for more clothing is always a fun option


Step #2: Selecting the Clothes

Next, it is time to select which of the clothes fit into the list. I split clothes into 2 categories: 1) pants, shirts, dresses, jackets and 2) workout clothes, sleeping clothes, underwear

To prevent feeling overwhelmed, pack one category at a time. First, your main outfits for the trip. And then, clear your surface to focus the second category. The real secret of packing is organization and keeping neat along the way


Step #3: Packing Cubes

Once clothes are chosen, it is time to pack. Do not simply throw your clothes directly into the luggage. Organization remains ever present to make your entire packing and travel process easier to manage. Packing cubes are your most efficient best friend. Read my previous article in which I detail my favorite brands of packing cubes.

Packing cubes create more space in your luggage and organize your clothes. You can pack all pants into one cube and all tops into another. Or, you can pack complete outfits by the day and pack them into the cubes


Step #4: Packing Tip for Shoes

After packing clothes, it is time to coordinate shoes. The number of shoes depends on the destination and activities planned. I always pack slippers for the shower (even at new hotels I imagine other people’s feet on the same surface…). The best advice for packing shoes is the collect the shower caps from each hotel’s complimentary toiletries. You can use them to pack your shoes and discard it after each trip.

In the case of this coming trip, I will need slippers, casual walking shoes, dressier booties, a pair of heels, and running shoes for a hike. Because of the booties are heavier, I will wear them for flight (and because I stopped wearing heels on travel days and casual walking shoes are too casual for checking into luxury hotels)


Step #5: Packing Toiletries

Once the clothes are packed, it is time to organize toiletries. The contents of my toiletry bag depend on the hotel. If I am staying at a five-star luxury hotel, I pack fewer toiletries. The hotel will provide my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, and shaving kit. All I have to bring are my face wash and makeup. If I am staying at 3 or 4-star hotels, I include my preferred shower supplies (which I collect from the five-star hotels).

My toiletry kit is always ready and fully loaded for a spontaneous trip. When I unpack from a trip, I immediately refill the kit with fresh supplies. This way, I will never forget anything for the next trip


Step #6: Always Pack a Backup Duffel Bag

My final step in packing is the essential backup duffel bag for extra space to take home shopping from the trip. When it is time to return home, I take out the folded duffel bag and use it for my dirty clothes and non-breakable items, such as shoes and toiletries. My luggage then clears up for shopping and grocery items (which may vary for you depending on your country’s customs regulations).

My go-to duffel back for almost a decade. The material of the Dakine duffel bag is sturdy for the rough-handling of checked in bags. Another tip for packing is the bring laundry bags. This way your packing cubes stay fresh, and you are ready to do laundry as soon as you arrive home

Buy your Dakine Duffel Bag here

In the next post, I will share How I Pack My Carry-On

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