One of my favorite types of articles to read are about what people pack and how they pack. I'm a bit obsessed with making lists – to do lists, shopping lists, wish lists, packing lists. I've put together this document that is available in a printable PDF below and highlights items from absolute necessities to the little things you always forget. With the help of my boyfriend, I also made a more simplified version for men, however I go into more detail below based on my personal packing method.
Where are you going?
When are you leaving & returning? How many days/nights?
What are the high & low temperatures? Will it be sunny, rainy or snowing? Always look a few days before and a few days after your trip. Always check the weather of where you are located/flying out of. Most of all, always expect the unexpected. Every weather forecast is accurate said no one ever.
I consider this to be your "personal item" whether it is a tote, purse, messenger bag or backpack. It's the item you can store underneath the seat in front of you. It's the bag you don't want stored away in the trunk of your car on a road trip. I personally never want to get anything out of my carry-on suitcase at the airport or on the plane. I prefer to have anything I might want or need before, during or after the flight easily accessible. I use this affordable Urban Outfitters tote which has held up well (alternatives: Madewell, Street Level, Leith, Cuyana, Longchamp).
For the exception of my boarding pass, I like to keep my travel documents in one place and flat so I put them in my laptop case. Instead of a bulky wallet, I like using a card case that will fit in all my bags. Speaking of, I recently started putting a crossbody bag INSIDE of my tote with the flap open and straps tucked underneath. Not only does it allow me to pack an extra bag, but it also serves as a compartment for my everyday essentials. Sometimes I'll have another small travel case for odds and ends as well. Once I arrive to my destination, I can pull that bag out and be out the door knowing I have everything I need!
After trying gluten-free and dairy-free, I know that I can't always rely on airport/plane snacks. I generally don't feel very hungry on flights, but an empty stomach can make me feel nauseas more easily. My favorite snacks are KIND Bars, CLIFF Bars, Luna Bars, popcorn, pretzels/hummus, veggie chips, trail mix, almonds or fruit. If I need a meal, I usually bring something from home or opt for a sandwich. Anything easy-to-eat that doesn't smell is ideal!
A few other personal necessities of mine are a scarf (for warmth or to serve as a pillow), travel-size fragrance (I hate the smell of planes – hand cream, perfume, essential oil rollerballs all work), Wet Wipes (to sanitize the tray table and my hands), tissues (in case I get a runny nose from the dry air), Nauzene or Dramamine (for motion sickness/stomach discomfort), Advil or Aleve (for pain relief/headaches), water bottle (bring your own & fill it up after security), and a hydrating lip balm. I don't bring much skincare personally because I always take the time, no matter how early my flight is, to properly prep my skin for the flight. Then once I arrive to the destination, I freshen up.
This is pretty self-explanatory and completely depends on the trip itself. However, I generally bring at least two pairs of jeans (one blue, one black), comfortable pants (leggings, joggers, yoga pants) that can be worn on the flight, to sleep, to lounge or to workout in and at least one jacket/cardigan (no matter how hot the destination).
I will be getting into more detail about clothing to pack in future posts for more specific destinations. Stay tuned!
Likewise for clothes, this can entirely depend on the trip itself. I tend to always bring a pair of really comfortable shoes that can be worn for days with a lot of walking. Plus, I carry around band-aids everywhere I go. Even the most worn-in, comfortable shoes can give you blisters after a certain point. I also bring a pair of flat sandals because they take take up such little room and are nice to be able to slip into in a hurry. I like to put my shoes in shoe bags if I can, otherwise place them in a way that they won't get squished and won't rub against anything else.
I like to always have one tote, which is usually the one I used as my hand luggage, and two smaller bags. The smaller bags can either be in different colors (black and brown), or nicer and more casual. For jewelry, I have learned that you have to be cautious of how you pack it. Necklaces especially, which can easily become a tangled mess that you simply will not want to deal with on your trip (or ever, the worst)! I have gone through trial-and-error with different methods. I've bought jewelry organizers that are amazing but they often take up extra space that I don't have available. Instead, I use various small pouches/boxes – one standard jewelry box for small/everyday stud earrings, one small pouch for larger earrings/bracelets, and one medium pouch for long necklaces that I keep the ends of OUTSIDE of the pouch, cinched tightly in the middle. Lastly, individual mini ziplocs for delicate jewelry. Although it may sound like it takes up as much space as the jewelry organizer, it doesn't (for me).
I try to bring all my toiletries in travel-size, or as much as I can. This includes, toothpaste, floss, nail file, shampoo, conditioner, body wash/shaving cream, body lotion and sunscreen. All are easy to find at CVS, Ulta and Sephora. I use a Steripod to keep my toothbrush clean.
These are the random items that you might need for your specific trip (insect repellent, umbrella) or that you use in your daily routine (robe, shower cap, medicine). Most of them can be bought at your destination if needed, so only bring them if you have the extra space.
Last but not least, my favorite section! We are so lucky with how many beauty products come in travel-size now-a-days. My number one recommendation here is to purchase Sephora Favorites kits. They are a great value, all travel-size products, high-quality products and a nice way to try different things (just give them a test run before you pack them). More often than not, I overpack in the beauty category because I like to have options. More specifically, I like to have a couple color options for blush, lipstick and eyeliner depending on what I'm wearing/time of day. Target has great travel beauty cases. More to come on my must-have travel beauty products!
If there is anything you need to pack that's not included in the list, you can add it here. You can also put any notes here about things you need to buy at the airport/destination.