Packing Secrets

packing1 My travel companions were amazed at the number of items I could pack in my little bag.  On my trip I heard comments such as, “Is that another new outfit?  How did you fit so much in there?”  Yes I can stuff a bag, but planning strategic outfits before leaving is important as well.  I like to look nice when I travel (no sweat pants in my suitcase).  Packing right can greatly impact the success of your trip, especially if you are going to be visiting multiple destinations.  Here are some tricks I use to make the most out of what I pack.

Bring Versatile Clothing

When I am trying to decide what to bring, I consider the colors and types of clothes I will need.  I try to find colors that go well together so I can create a variety of outfits from the same clothes.  Perhaps I will wear a black shirt with a scarf one day, and jewelry another day.  I can wear jeans with flats when it is a little cooler and wear them rolled up with sandals when it is warmer.  Having a versatile wardrobe is crucial while traveling.  Here are some examples of ways you can alter your look with minor changes

Dress-by itself, with cardigan, with leggings, with a scarf

Shirt-by itself, with cardigan, with necklace, with dress pants, with jeans, with skirt

Look at the Label

Most likely you will be washing your clothes at some point.  Sometimes I like to go to a laundromat, but most of the time I use my bathroom sink.  Don’t worry about bringing detergent or soap, pick it up abroad.

Every piece of clothing I consider buying is carefully analyzed since I have started to travel more.  I never buy dry clean only items.  I look for materials that resist wrinkles (or look good wrinkled) and will dry fast.  I took a dress on my trip that was made of polyester and it was ideal for traveling.  It dried in a couple hours after washing, didn’t fade, and looked great even if I threw it on after it was rolled up iPacking2n my bag.

Roll it Up

I don’t know if it can be scientifically proven,  but I feel that I can fit much more in my bag if I roll up my clothing.  Look at my packing list below to see what I could fit in my carry-on bag and day pack.


Rather than taking twenty different shirts to vary your appearance, take advantage of smaller accessories to change the look of an outfit.  For the gentlemen, this could be a scarf or tie.  For the ladies this could be scarves, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.  They take far less space and can make plain outfits look nice.

Pack Strategically

When I pack, I consider when I will be wearing something.  If I put my pajamas underneath all of my clothes, I am going to have to pack all over again when it is time to go to the next destination.  Make items like this accessible.  I also organize my clothes by category, just like I would in a drawer.  I place my pants together, my shirts are in a different area, and my dresses are in another area.  I place undergarments in the zipped areas since I will need to grab some each day.  I also like to take a plastic bag along to keep my dirty clothes in.  I don’t like to mix the clean with the dirty, and sometimes I can’t wash my clothes before the next stop.

Leave Space for Souvenirs

Sometimes we take items that are consumables and will deplete as we travel.  Consider some of this as part of your souvenir space.  Even though some space may open up, don’t over-pack your luggage.  Most likely there are some things you can leave behind, and it will save your strength for the fun activities.

Plan Your Flight Outfit

Dressing right for the flight can save you some space in your suitcase.  I layer on the plane for a couple reasons.  One, I don’t know what the temperatures will be like on there, so this provides some flexibility.  Two, I can wear the things that may not pack well.  I typically wear my larger pair of shoes/boots on the plane.  If I need to take a jacket, I carry it on the plane and wear it, or store it.  Your jacket can double as a blanket or pillow if necessary.

Packing List


  • 3 Jeans
  • 1 Dress Pant
  • 4 Dresses
  • 3 Tank Tops
  • 4 Shirts
  • 2 Cardigans
  • 1 Pair of Yoga Pants (pajamas)


  • 2 Necklaces
  • 3 Pairs of Earrings
  • 2 Scarves
  • 1 Pair of Sandals


  • 1o Pairs of Underwear
  • 2 Bras (light/dark)
  • 5 Pairs of Knee Highs
  • 2 Pairs of Socks


  • Hair Brush
  • Straightener
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Eye Shadow
  • Eye Liner
  • Mascara
  • Blush
  • Face Wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Deodorant (placed in smaller container)
  • Medicines
  • Band-aids
  • Little Shampoo
  • Little Conditioner


  • Plug in Adapter
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • DSLR Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Audio Recorder
  • Chargers
  • Extra Batteries
  • Extra Cards
  • Guidebook

Flight Items

  • Inflatable Neck Pillow
  • Eye Mask
  • Kindle
  • Journal
  • Pen
  • Money Belt

Items I Buy Abroad

  • Detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Razors
  • Perfume
  • Currency (ATM)

Have packing tricks of your own?  Left with questions?  Please share in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Packing Secrets

  1. Yes! I keep my pajamas in the inside lid pocket. What I would do differently from your list? Less jeans (redundant), and instead bring travel pants that converted to capris. I like one of my dresses to be sleeveless. Then I can wear shirts under them jumper style. I also wear shirts over my sleeveless dress so it looks like a skirt/top combination. Tights/leggings are a great way to add thermal control for dresses.
    The other thing I would emphasize would be to decant toiletries. Yes, 3 oz may be “allowed” but why bring that much if you only need 1 oz? More room in the 3-1-1 bag. User eye drop bottles and contact lens cases for smaller amounts of liquid.

    1. Good idea with reusing bottles for different purposes. I put all of my liquids in different containers to save space. Thanks for sharing some of your ideas!

  2. We roll too! We also use packing cubes to keep clothes separated and organized. I find that my biggest problem is needing more space to bring stuff back! We pack an extra foldable bag and check one carry on for the way home. Going to checked bags is the way to go!

    1. I have to admit, sometimes I pick up a bag at the end of the trip to help bring souvenirs home. It is a win-win situation. New souvenirs, new bag :).

  3. I do a lot of these but I never bring jeans. I am always wishing I had jeans! Next time at least one pair. I also never bring a dress or skirt. I sort of pack in the middle, nicer pants or khakis only and usually only 3 pair of pants total that I rotate with washing out after 2 wearings also in the sink. Plus I have to have 1 comfy pair for the plane and around the night spot like your yoga pants. I do put things in strategically and with small items like undies in bags, also dirty stuff in a separate bag. I’m curious about your “audio recorder.” What do you do with that? I have been wanting to collect sounds of places for awhile now. I wonder if that’s what you do with it? Or do you interview people? Do tell!!

    1. Good Morning,

      I bring an audio recorder for a few reasons. Sometimes I use it as my audio journal. I tried to record my adventures each day on my trip last year, but I slipped. I love listening to what I did record though (maybe I’ll post a sample one on here someday). It is like a video blog, without the image. It is neat to hear the tone in my voice, and it brings back memories instantly. I also use it to record voices, music, or sounds that I find interesting. It is much less invasive than a video camera. I’d like to start using it for interviewing. I feel like it is one of those things that I learn as I go. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  4. This is excellent. Thanks girl! If I’m not traveling solo, we make sure to pack an emergency outfit for each person in each bag, so if one gets lost, no single person is stranded without fresh undies. 🙂

  5. Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your
    content. Please let me know. Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s