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Planning, Prepping, and Packing Effectively for a Trip

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

When packing for a trip, there are a few tricks I use to ensure that I have matching outfits, I am maximizing space, and I have secured everything I need for my destination. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that only bringing a carry-on is the way to go. That means less wasted time waiting for luggage after getting off the plane and the possibility of loss, stolen, or damage, items once you have made it to your destination. I have even mastered the art of packing a carry-on for a 7+ day international trip. The most important thing to do when packing for any excursion is planning, prepping, and packaging.


The planning phase is important. Although last minute trips are the best (hands down), you need to know the weather of the destination, the possible activities that will take place, and if your accommodations will have laundry facilities. Why are these things important? The weather will help you decide on the types of outfits, shoes, and additional apparel you might need. Having ideas of the activities you might do will help you make definitive choices on footwear, active wear, and possible outerwear. Finally, knowing the availability of laundry facilities allows you to minimize the number of repetitive garment items which will save space in the long run.


The prepping phase is more of a streamline step. You can accomplish it during the planning phase however, I suggest you separate the task until you become more comfortable with the minimalist packing strategy. Prepping for the packing means obtaining or searching for the necessary items to make the process more efficient. There are four essential things I use to make sure my final step is effortless.

1. Ziplock bags: I get sandwich, quart, and jumbo size storage bags to package all outfits, undergarments, accessories, and toiletries. This ensures that I have everything I need in a single location and that nothing will damage the items during transport. You might find it tedious in the beginning but believe me when I say that you will be thankful that a dirty shoe or a bottle of perfume did not ruin that new outfit you bought exclusively for the trip.

2. Refillable travel bottles: I pick up one or two packs of them whenever I am in Dollar Tree. They have the pop top bottles and the spray bottles that are appropriate proportions for airport security requirements. These are great alternatives to purchasing the travel size option of your favorite products. For $1 you can get three bottles and fill them with your favorite items from home which saves money and guarantees that you are using your products instead of the hotel products. Just a side note, I like to collect the hotel toiletries and use them in gift bags and baskets or even place them in my guest bathroom.

3. Shower Caps: No, I do not purchase these to actually use in the shower. Use the shower caps to place on the bottom of your shoes when packing them. This is guarantee that the debris collected on the sole of your shoes will not get on your garments or in the bottom of the suitcase.

4. Mesh laundry bag: This is used for the garments you slept in the night before or for the dirty items you chose not to wash while on your trip.

While in the prepping stage, you should start piecing together outfits for the trip. This will minimize the packing of items that you will not wear or need. For example, if you are going to the beach for the weekend and the forecast is sunny with a high of 85 and a low of 70, there is no need for a coat or jacket. You probably would not bring jeans but if you did you would only bring one pair. Piece together outfits along with their accessories so everything can be packaged together.

Here are a few suggestions when combining outfits. I personally prefer to work backwards. I choose the shoes I will be wearing while on my trip. After choosing what to wear on your feet, pick one to two of your favorite bottoms. After you’ve selecting the pair you want, place two tops that can be worn with those bottoms. This will allow you variety in your daily selections and will keep you from overpacking.


After making all selections and pairing them together, it’s time to package them and place them in your carry-on. There are preferences on the type of packaging I choose to use. If it is cold and I need to pack bulkier items, I like using the vacuum sealed storage bags. I can place large sweaters and jackets in them and compress the bags before placing them in my luggage. For less bulky items, I simply use ziplock storage bags.

Place each outfit (top(s), bottom, accessory) in a separate storage bag. This will help when choosing what outfit to wear when you make it to your destination. No more digging through the suitcase to find anything. Everything is organized and ready to be take out, possibly pressed, and thrown on. For the full outfits, I prefer to use the jumbo size bags. Use the quart size bags for undergarments and socks. Don’t forget to place all liquid toiletries (oils, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, cleansers, etc.) in a ziplock as well to minimize the chance of them spilling on your other garments.

The last things I place in my suitcase are my shoes. I normally plan for three different types: walking shoe, night-out shoe, all terrain shoe). These three selections will make it easier to choose outfits and leave me plenty of space in the carry on because only two pair will go in the suitcase. You should wear your walking shoes or heaviest shoes in the airport, so they won’t take up space in your luggage. The two pair that will go in the suitcase should have the bottoms wrapped in a shower cap and place them in the carry-on.

Hope this helped. Let me know if there are any other ideas or tips you would like me to explain to help make your traveling experience most efficient and less stressful.

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