How To Effectively Pack Your Suitcase

I recently got married on August 4th to my best friend and the love of my life! (Sappy, I know). We had a beautiful ceremony and reception in Brillion, Wisconsin at a lodge. It was perfectly rustic and chic, and reminded me of home in my north woods Wisconsin home. He and I are getting ready to fly off to Punta Cana for a week of sunshine, paradise, and drinks. This will be my husband’s first time on an airplane and traveling internationally, but my fourth time. I first traveled to Canada when I was 13, and then to Mexico twice when I was in high school. I may not have a ton of experience with traveling, but more than my husband so I decided to write out a blog post on how to effectively pack your suitcase for a week of international bliss.

Let’s start with some suitcase must-haves:

1. Sunscreen and Aloe!

Judge all you want, but I’m 110% serious. Do not forget either of these things. I forgot aloe when I traveled to Mexico and had to buy some at the local market in Cancún. For Banana Boat Aloe, I paid more than $10 for a small bottle. No bueno.

Buy some sunscreen and aloe at your local drugstores. My favorites:

Banana Boat Sport Performance (I prefer 50+SPF, but that’s because I burn so easily!)

Banana Boat Aloe (A total lifesaver, plus it’s a soothing lotion that will help your skin feel softer when healing)

2. Self Entertainment

Let’s be real, you will not spend every waking moment of your vacation outside or doing adventurous things. And no, I’m not trying to be inappropriate, haha. In your downtime or days you don’t feel like doing anything, it’s always nice to have a backup entertainment, like your computer, tablet, or a good book. Here’s a list of great summer reads that I highly recommend!

3. A Sweater, Cardigan, or Something To Keep You Warm

Yes, even if you’re in tropical paradise, it can get very chilly at night, or even during the day if it’s cloudy and windy. I always make sure to pack a sweater and a pair of sweatpants. If you’re going to a vacation hotspot that isn’t so tropical, bring a tank top or some flip flops for days that are warmer.

4. Antacid/Pain Relief Medicine

You would not believe how crappy it is when you badly need a Tums or some Ibuprofen, only to find out that there’s none in your suitcase, none offered at your hotel, and the closest market is via taxi and the cost is marked up 200%. Trust me on this, be sure to bring some.

Packing Tips That Won’t Leave You Pulling Your Hair Out:

1. Roll your clothes

Seriously, fold your shirts and pants, and then roll it like you’re rolling up a sleeping bag. This conserves space for other items you may need to pack, such as hair products or other toiletries. This technique helped my husband and I pack for a week’s worth of travel into one suitcase. Of course, I took up half while he only took up a quarter, but that’s another story. 😉

2. Toiletries into bags!

Make sure you put shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, etc. into ziplock bags. The airport staff, as much as we appreciate all the hard work they do everyday, won’t always be nice to your bag. Putting items like soap and toothpaste into a ziplock bag ensures that you won’t open your suitcase to suds and soapy clothes. It’s happened to me before. It’ll save you a ton of time and money.

3. Extra set of clothes

I always put an extra set of clothes into my carry-on bag. You never know if your luggage won’t make it to your destination. This helps to at least have a set of something clean while they ship your stuff to you. Usually, it’s best to have a backpack as a carry-on so you can make the most of the room of the bag, such as a pocket for your tablet or laptop, etc.

4. Ribbon tag

I never buy a luggage tag. Of course they’re super adorable and durable, but you can get away with just a zip tie with a laminated piece of paper. I then use a colorful piece of ribbon to make my suitcase stand out with luggage claim.

Do you have any tips to share? Good or bad stories of traveling and packing? Comment or tweet me @MrsKatieRoman.

2 thoughts on “How To Effectively Pack Your Suitcase

  1. It is always so easy to overpack when it comes to outfits. My tip is to count the number of days in the trip and then divide in half. For a seven day trip I usually pack three outfits that are interchangeable and canbe dressed up with a sweater, scarf, jewelry or a change of shoes. Especially for tropical adventures when I know I’ll be in a swimsuit most of the time!

    I also ditch my regular shampoo, conditioner and body scrub bottles for a Lush shampoo bar. This way I scan always fit an extra pair of shoes in my bag!


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