luxury travel experiences

The subtle art of packing for paradise.*

*Also known as, how to cram as much junk as possible into a suitcase that needs to weigh less than 50 lbs

Your vacation is booked. You are counting down the days – and then it hits you – you need to pack. Not just for you, but for everyone else in your house.  And just like that, the picture of paradise has turned in to a sea of suitcases just waiting to be filled.

Packing for a trip, whether it’s in a car for a couple of days or getting on a plane for an overseas adventure, can be daunting.  While I am great at planning trips, even I can always use some packing tips to make the experience less painful.  So, I asked a few local moms what their secrets were.

Let’s start with how you are getting there. Whether it’s a plane, train, or automobile, make sureyou pack something to keep everyone occupied so that YOU can enjoy the trip.  For little kids, consider buying them a surprise they can open on the way; a magic pen book, a card game, notepads and crayons (one tip for the crayons, buy the three-sided ones so they don’t roll off airplane trays or off their laps in the cars – GENIUS).  

Ahh… the carry-on bag… While most of us use it to throw in last minute items we forgot to pack, it really should serve a much more useful purpose.  Whether you are traveling alone or with kids, pack extra clothes in your carry-on – this will serve multiple purposes – you have a back-up in case your luggage gets lost and you have a back-up in case your kid gets sick…or someone else’s kid gets sick on you.  Use your carry-on bags for all of your medication, if your luggage doesn’t get to your destination with you, neither will those medications you need to take. Pack any expensive items you don’t want to be apart from in your carry-on.  Even if you are taking a car, put all of these things in a separate bag so you can grab and go if you need to.  One last item – an extra bag – preferably one that is foldable and you can take out if need to gate check your carry-on. Use this bag to throw essential items in that you can now store under your seat.

Everyone has items that are particularly important to them – for my comfort when getting to my destination, I need to have things as organized as possible, and to know we are all going to be clean, get through security hassle free, and be entertained while we travel. So as you’ll note in my pictures, we travel with Lysol wipes, and a game the whole family can play together.  I organize all of our travel documents in a Knomo portfolio, and bring along some ginger candies “just in case.”  And… once we get where we’re going, I like everyone to look their best in family photos, so I pack my own hangers to insure our clothing can stay wrinkle free, and make sure everyone has their favorite tee shirts so they can look cool when making new friends.

And now for the grand finale.  Let’s get those suitcases packed.  I received so many amazing tips 
about how to pack effectively and efficiently I’d be here all day writing about them, so I am going to give you the top five.  

  • Ziplock bags – bring them, use them, embrace them.  They are great for toiletries, shoes so the dirty soles aren’t touching your clothes, even for organizing clothes. A bunch of moms said they separate each outfit into bags so they can just pull them out of the drawer and get everyone dressed.  
  • Don’t pack all your clothes in one suitcase.  Divvy things up in case one piece of your luggage gets lost.  Now you’ll have clothes for everyone for at least a couple of days and you won’t be running out to find the nearest Target instead of running to the pool.
  • Before you throw out the plastic over your dry cleaning, think twice. Several moms swear that if you put these plastic bags in-between folded clothes they won’t wrinkle. Imagine not having to take out that squeaky ironing board and old iron in your hotel room?!
  • Toiletry and other non-clothing necessities need their tricks as well.  Scotch tape the openings of your hairspray, shampoo, sunscreen and anything else that has the potential to leak before you throw it into a Ziplock bag.  While most of us always travel with chargers for our devices, one mom suggested bringing a power strip so they are all charging in the same place – now you can’t forget where you plugged them in!
  • And last, but not least, with all the packing comes all the dirty clothes.   Bring laundry bags, garbage bags, whatever bag you want…but bring them and bring one for everyone so that when you get home unpacking is just as easy and seamless as your packing was.

 So now that we have taken the stress out of packing, it’s time to book that relaxing or adventurous vacation.  Let me know where you want to go and I’ll get you there.


  1. Fran Alesia says:

    I love this blog. Very helpful information. One thing I can add, plastic food wrap works better than scotch tape on items you mentioned.

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