In my travels, I have come up with some of the best travel packing tips! With these tips, you could pack for a trip in less than 15 minutes!

Let’s be honest. One of the worse parts of going on a trip besides the dreaded TSA line is packing…  

Here is how it always goes: you make a mental list, think about it non stop and go over in your head a bunch of times before you think “I should just write this down”. So you head off for paper and a pen. Think about the weather, how long you will be there, all the things you will need. Do I check a bag? If I don’t check my bag then do I have enough tiny bottles to fit my toiletries in? This is all before a single item hits the suitcase. Then you feel prepared.

You dive in. It’s all laid on on the bed. Clothes, accessories, chargers, toiletries, which likely took you at least 15 minutes to gather and sort. The checklist is checked and you’re ready to go, feeling great. Then inevitably you get to your destination and OF COURSE, you forgot your hairbrush (that seems to always be the thing that gets left behind for me).

This was an all too common trend for me. I was annoyed that no matter how carefully I packed I always seemed to forget something. Brush, Charger, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush… always something. After much trial and error, I figured out how to pack fast, light and, most importantly, not forget anything! If you are tired of the pre-trip packing stress here are some useful tips to avoid it!

1. Find the Right Suitcase

Packing obviously starts with the suitcase. There are tons of options for suitcase, duffle bags, and backpacks. There isn’t a wrong choice for this but it should have some key features. First thing you should ask yourself is what is convenient to carry and transport. I used a duffel bag at first and carting it around on my shoulder got tiring quick. Now I have a hard rolling suitcase and its a game-changer. You also what to keep in mind the size, you want to make sure it will hold everything you need.

My suitcase is considered a carry-on. I limit myself to this suitcase and a small backpack, I highly recommend you do the same. I have mentioned in a past post that we don’t really “vacation” we “adventure” so the less we have to take from place to place the better. Do you really need 4 pairs of shoes and half your closet for a 2-week trip?? No. No, you really don’t. I promise. I packed the biggest suitcase to Iceland and use half of what I packed. It was just a nuance to cart from place to place.

Bonus! Go With a Carry-on to Save money!

The other major reason to limit yourself to a carry-on is that it’s often cheaper! The majority of airlines charge a fee for checking a bag under the plane. If your bag can be a carry on you can bring it along, free of charge on most flights, and if for some reason they don’t have room for it they will check it for FREE! A new trend I am seeing in airlines as well is offering cheaper fares to passengers that limit themselves to just a carry-on, you lose some other luxuries as well but booking those fares has saved me as much as $100 per ticket!

I mentioned before I have a hard suitcase like this one now. I am really happy with it. The hard case feels protected, especially since I carry all my camera gear with me. It also seems to hold a heck of a lot more for the size. When shopping for a hard suitcase look for one that has four sturdy wheels that spin independently, being able to push the suitcase a variety of ways is really handy. It can roll behind you or next to you or when you are getting on the plane in front of you without getting caught on every chair like the old style seem to do. Pro tip: get a bright color or unique pattern, easy to keep an eye on and find on the baggage claim if it ever gets checked.

2. Pack light, Only the Necessities. 

Pack only what you absolutely need. Loading your bag with a bunch of items you only “may” need takes up space and weighs you down. Unless you are going to the middle of nowhere and will have no access to civilization, take only what you need and in pinch, you can just buy the random item should it become necessary. 

Ok, you are probably thinking “well that all sounds great in theory but how can I fit two weeks of clothes in a carry-on??” In short, you don’t! At least if you take the Airbnb route, you don’t. What you want to do is pack simple items that can be worn more than once. Jeans have at least a few wears before they have to be washed. Shirts are often small and don’t take up much space. Pack lighter tops and then a sweater to two to layer.

Remember, it’s a vacation/trip, not a fashion show. Keep it simple.

Another way we avoid packing too much is to pack for a week (or half the trip time) and then when booking an Airbnbs just make sure the one halfway through the trip has access to the washer and dryer! Some hotels and resorts offer laundry service, you can look into the cost of this and see if that would be cost-effective for you. Packing just the basics will cut down on overall packing time.

3. Roll Not Fold

This one is a weird one but it is for sure one of the best travel packing tips, instead of folding your clothes the traditional way, roll them up. Like a little sleeping bag. I know it sounds crazy, but really it works. Once coming home from a trip, David’s bag was packed to the gills. We couldn’t even sit on it to close it. Then I noticed everything was folded, sorta, inside. So we took apart the bag and rolled all the clothes and we ended with extra space. An added bonus to rolling is you can roll up fragile souvenirs and they will be protected, rolled clothes also help protect bigger items and keep them in place.

4. Packing Cubes are Your Friend

At first, I didn’t embrace packing cubes, what is the point? Putting stuff into one thing to put it in another thing… why? Then my favorite bag company JuJuBe came out with packing cubes in a pattern I couldn’t refuse so I said what the heck, let’s try them out. O to the MG, These little things are cubes of mesh miracles. The amount of things a tiny packing cube can hold is mind-boggling and it makes organizing your bag so easy. You can group like items and easily get to each thing. This is especially handy when traveling with a toddler. keeping those tiny clothes organized and being able to pack them in is a gawdsend.

Now for some real time-savers…

5. Get a Power Strip and Extra Chargers.

After hotel after hotel and AirBNB after AirBNB of having the plug be in a far place or not having enough international converters when overseas I got a power strip with extra cables for all of your devices, you travel with leave them all plugged into the strip. Then all your chargers are in one place and you don’t have to hunt around for a bunch of different plugs in your hotel.

This is especially handy when you travel abroad! You only need to bring one converter with you and all your chargers work! This is the power strip I use. It is great because it isn’t too big, it has 4 USB ports in the front, and it came with international adapters.

by far the best travel packing tip I have is the get one of these power strips.

I leave a 10ft phone cable, a 6ft tablet cable, a universal micro USB for portable chargers and other items, and a USB C for the Osmos. The strip I have also has 2 standard plugs for other devices, such as a camera or laptop chargers. This has to be my favorite travel packing tip.

I strongly recommend getting an extra of the chargers you use at home instead of packing the ones from home. I leave all the cables plugged in and in my carry-on along with the extra chargers for my devices. This way those items are already packed at all times and there is no risk of forgetting them. Another added benefit is that if they get damaged or lost on the trip you aren’t without them when you return. To keep this even more organized and ready to do I recommend keeping them all together in a case. Of course, it’s JuJube, the Be Dapper is the perfect size for all of my chargers and the power strip.

The Be dapper is part of my best travel packing list to keep all of my chargers organized.

6. Build a “Travel Kit” for Bathroom Stuff

This was the biggest time saver on the best travel packing tips list. Instead of rifling through your bathroom wash trip, trying to make sure you have things you need just have a bathroom kit ready. 

I am a fan of the Ju Ju Be “be ready”. Tangent here, I love JuJuBe. They are a line of bags and products marketed at Moms but they are so great for everyone. They have tons of patterns to suit anyone’s taste, they are very lightweight, so no added bulk when traveling and they are completely machine washable! The Be Ready is my go-to carry-on toiletry bag. It is plenty big and has little pockets and things.

In this bag, I have everything I need. Smaller versions of my favorite products, travel size (shampoos, conditioners, body wash, etc). I have these little containers for any pills or small items I may need.  I also have a mini first aid kit and nail clippers. Get an extra set of any of the makeup you like also. Lastly, get a brush (i just use a mini one) and a toothbrush for the kit. This bag, all packed and ready to go stays in my suitcase along with the “charging kit”.

Having these things already ready and in the suitcase packing is just a matter of packing some clothes, a camera, and my computer. Since doing this I can pack for a trip in as little as 15 minutes and have peace of mind that all of the little overlooked things are already packed so there is no risk of leaving them behind! 

What is your best travel packing tip? Leave it in the comments!

Show 17 Comments


  1. Pam

    Love these tips! I used to always have a toiletry bag packed but got out of the habit – I need to fix that!

  2. Jordan

    I am also a fan of the roll. I still don’t quite know how it works, but I don’t question it anymore.

    • ya really it doesn’t make much sense to me either. its the same piece of clothes, how does it take up less space?? but it works, that is what matters.

  3. I lean toward packing anxiety but am definitely getting better. In fact, I’m flying out tomorrow and have everything pretty much ready to go and not feeling stressed. I also now keep a travel bag ready to go with my travel-sized bottles and keep my travel mirror, body pillowcase and travel sound machine on a special shelf so all I have to do is grab the items without searching. Love the power strip idea…brilliant!

  4. These are great tips. I started using packing cubes and rolling my clothes.It works great.

    • I have seen packing cubes, I haven’t quite figured out how I would use them, but heard they are amazing!

  5. Rolling up clothes is a game changer! We are also big fans of hard rolling suitcases. With the spinner wheels, our kids can easily roll them which is a huge plus!

  6. jen

    I’ve never used the cubes but people really seem to like them. I used to keep a toiletry bag packed. I should do that again..

  7. Tricia Snow

    My husband was the genius who always brings a power strip and extra chargers. Hotels never have enough plugs in good areas!

  8. Lisa Manderino

    I think I will try to roll my clothes next time and I really need more power cords!

  9. Love this suggestion of yours, ‘power strip with extra cables for all of your devices, you travel with leave them all plugged into the strip’, so they are all in one place.

  10. Thanks for sharing your best travel packing tips. Some great advice!

  11. Love packing tips. I really like the “roll not fold” tip.

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