One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is how to stay organized while traveling. Especially now with extra screenings and precautions, having an efficient system, before, during, and after your trip is imperative for a seamless experience.
I’ve invited Elise Hay, professional organizer and founder of Organized Sanctuaries, to share her expertise on the topic with specific recommendations on how to travel like a pro!
How To Stay Organized While Traveling
There are some simple hacks to make packing – and unpacking at the end of your trip – super easy. It just takes a little planning and organizing.
Even if you don’t travel a lot, keep a pre-packed bag of your travel essentials in your suitcase at all times. Having mini versions of your toiletries and makeup already stashed in a bag is a timesaver for when you pack and unpack. Plus, this way you won’t have to wait until the last minute to pack up the bathroom stuff you use just before you head out on the road. And splurge for mini sizes of the products you love: don’t bother compromising when you’re on vacation, girl.
Your best bet is versatile outfit combinations. Limit your shoes, jackets, and other accessories to simplify your packing. I lean into lightweight, yet statement jewelry pieces like these gorgeous ear cuffs. Going for more than a few days? Write down your outfit combos and slip the list into your bag. This will also help when you pack back up, to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
Be sure to use packing cubes so that there are no loose items in your bag. I promise they will change everything about how you pack and travel! I love the Eagle Creek ones, but AmazonBasics has put out their own that is an excellent budget-friendly version. Getting a different colored set for each family member will make it much easier if anyone shares a suitcase.
Pro tip: Use a label maker and stick a label to the outside of each cube, so there’s no guessing of what’s inside.
How you pack your cubes depends on how long of a trip you’re taking and what you’ll be doing while you’re away. If your trip is just a day or two, pack each complete outfit in separate cubes. Longer trips can be sorted by category since you’re going to be mixing and matching each day. Specialty items like bathing suits and ski gear should get their own.
Pro tip: If you’re arriving late at night, stash your pajamas, bathroom essentials, and a quick-drying travel washcloth in a separate one.
Pack essentials that you take for granted at home but might not have access to in a hotel or family member’s home. That way, if you need to spot-clean a stain, jot down a note, or trim a loose thread, you know exactly where to find what you need. Some suggested items include:
- Mini bottle of laundry detergent
- Notepad and pen
- Small pair of scissors
- Washi tape or other small roll of tape
- Basic first aid kit
Road Trip Tips
Whether you’re staying close to home or venturing across the country, getting your car organized is key to a stress-free journey. Just like any other space in your home, keep everything contained in labeled containers, sorted by category.
Create a System
Make the most of your car’s pockets with pouches and small containers to corral small items. But no more loose papers and beauty products, please! Some easy swaps for keeping your console organized:
- Create a COVID-friendly kit: use a small zippered vinyl pouch for each family member, and stash in it a mask, hand sanitizer, and some extras like lip balm and small hand cream. Not needing to share between family members makes quick trips in and out of the car so much smoother.
- A small accordion-style folder is a great way to store important documents like insurance and registration papers.
Get each of your kids a slim project case, like this one on Amazon from Iris. Fill each with paper, crayons, stickers, and other car-friendy craft supplies, so that they don’t need to pass items to each other in the backseat (or to you up front, mama!). The hard shell is an easy writing surface, and keeps everything all contained.
Looking for a pre-trip project to keep the kids busy while you’re packing? After they’ve gathered their art supplies for the trip, let them decorate and personalize the outside of their case.
One of my favorite products is a trunk organizing bag – the large one from Honey Can Do is a perfect combination of quality, price, and storage features. Use it to pack things you’ll need during a pit stop: winter gear for a middle of the road snowball fight or picnic supplies. No more digging around in a messy trunk!
If you’re tight on trunk space, use under the seat to store things that you’ll only need if you stop the car: a diaper changing kit, extra clothes for the kids, picnic blanket, and umbrella. That way, you save the space that’s accessible while buckled up for things like snacks, on-the-go reading, and tablets.
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