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How To Pack And Organize For Your Summer Vacation

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

By Alyssa Sporrer | Guest Writer | Sustainable Organizers

You’ve booked your flight, and the trip is less than a week away. It’s time to think about packing. Your packing strategy should depend somewhat on whether you are taking carry-on or checked luggage.

While there are bound to be some hiccups, especially if you are traveling with kids, finding what you need in your suitcase shouldn’t add stress to your vacation. Read some packing tips below to learn how to keep things organized for your upcoming vacation.

woman packing suitcase for summer vacation using packing cubes and rolling clothes

Packing tips for carryon luggage

  • Check your airline’s carryon bag size and weight specifications

  • Bring lightweight layers – T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and lightweight jackets and sweaters are smart to pack when you’re short on space because they make it easy to adjust to temperatures without bringing bulky items

  • Pack items that go with more than one other thing – mixing and matching is your friend when you’re short on space

  • Limit the number of shoes you bring

  • Stuff socks or other small items in your shoes

  • Roll your clothes so they packs smaller

  • Pack rolled clothes in packing cubes to keep things organized

  • Put all liquids (3.4oz or smaller) in a quart-sized Ziploc bag for security at the airport

  • Opt for solid toiletries such as shampoo bars and roll-on sunscreen

  • Utilize your “personal item” bag space

Using packing cubes helps minimize space and keep like-items organized throughout your vacation. It’s never fun when the entire suitcase becomes a mess after your search to find your swimsuit. Packing tops, bottoms, undergarments, and random items in separate packing cubes makes it easy to know where to find things. You can also designate a packing cube to hold dirty clothes as your trip goes on.

Choosing your shoes for a vacation where you’re only taking a carry-on suitcase is an art form. Shoes are very bulky, so it’s smart to limit your shoes to 2-3 pairs. This includes your bulkiest pair, which you should wear at the airport. When you’re limited on shoes, it’s important to consider comfort in your choices. It’s also smart to wear full-length pants and whatever jacket you’re bringing since they are bulky, and planes can get cold even in the summer.

Your “personal item” bag has valuable space that shouldn’t be ignored. Mine usually has books, headphones, a sweater, my toiletries and liquids bag, and plenty of snacks for the day of traveling. Bringing snacks can save money and create a buffer of space for the trip back in case you get any souvenirs.

person packing suitcase for vacation rolling clothes helps to fully use space

Packing tips for checked bags

  • Put all liquids in a Ziploc bag to avoid spills

  • Decide how you want to pack items within your packing cubes

    • Pack outfits together so you only have to go to one place to find your outfit

    • Pack tops, bottoms, swimsuits, and undergarments in separate cubes so that you can mix and match easily

  • Roll your clothes to prevent wrinkles

  • Pack essentials in your carryon bag (unfortunately luggage gets lost sometimes so having a toothbrush and a clean pair of socks can save you a headache if something happens to your luggage)

  • Choose wrinkle-free, lightweight, and fast-drying clothes

  • Use a recognizable suitcase, whether that means colors, patterns, or distinct ribbons or straps

  • Use an AirTag or tracker of some kind if you’re worried about losing it

  • Weigh your bag before you go

While you may not be short on space while packing a checked bag, it’s even more important to keep your clothes organized using packing cubes. Some people prefer to pack everything they need for an outfit in a packing cube so it’s all together. If you are planning to wear the same pair of pants or shorts with multiple tops, you would probably benefit from keeping like-items together in each packing cube.

organize you suitcase using packing cubes when traveling

Packing cubes are a great investment to save space and keep things organized on vacations or business trips. If you don’t have packing cubes and don’t have time to pick some up before your vacation, you can use rubber bands to hold items together after rolling them up. This won’t keep everything as organized as packing cubes, but it is better than folding. Just make sure your rubber bands aren’t too small that they create lines in your clothes. Using shoe bags can also keep your shoes together and prevent clothes from getting dirty.

Another essential tip for those traveling with checked bags is to pack everything you absolutely need in your carry-on bag. This includes things like a change of clothes, specific toiletries, jewelry, and any other valuables. There’s always a chance your checked bag could get delayed or lost forever, so you don’t want to leave things like your daily medications in that bag.

woman in white dress packing summer clothes into a packing cube

Before the airport

Make sure you know that your carry-on or checked bag meets the size and weight requirements of your airline before you leave for the airport. If you’re an efficient packer, it’s pretty easy to exceed the common 50-pound limit for checked luggage before you run out of space.

If you have a scale at home, step on it to record your weight, then step on it while holding the suitcase, and do some quick math to figure out your bag’s weight. If you’re a frequent traveler, you may want to consider investing in a luggage scale to weigh your bags.

And voila, your suitcases are ready to avoid potential stress during your vacation!

If you're interested in some help organizing and decluttering then schedule your free discovery call to chat with us and learn more!


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