When I am going on a trip I like to start packing 4-5 days early so I can reduce my travel stress and avoid over packing.  Chris and I share the large bag and then we each have our own carry on.

I typically don’t put anything in them until 3 days prior to my trip but having them out and open helps mentally prepare me for the pack.  The first things I pack are things that can easily be forgotten like pajamas, work out clothing, and my swimsuit. Three nights before I begin to lay out some outfits and two days before I will pack the shoes and accessories.  On the final day before I leave I take a final pass through the suitcase to remove things that might be duplicates, add things from the laundry, and on the morning of the flight I will pack the last of my cosmetics and head to the airport.

I love traveling with sample size cosmetics to save room in my suitcase and avoid losing anything too expensive if my baggage gets lost. As you can tell I am a sucker for gift with purchase!  I keep all of the little goodies in those gift packs in a little bin in my bathroom so I can easily pop them in my cosmetic bag for overnight trips.

What do you do to prepare for a long trip?  Do you have any tips for organizing your suitcase and determining what to pack?  Please leave a comment in the comment section and enjoy more of my packing and travel tips…

  • Coordinate your outfits so the larger items like jackets, sweaters, and shoes can be worn more than once.
  • Create a travel calendar and write down the events you are planning to attend.  Once complete, organize the events by casual, dressy, sporty etc.. so you can determine how many outfits you actually need.
  • Create a travel checklist, jot down all of the items you need to bring and check them off while you pack, this will help you stay on task.
  • If you need to purchase a few items for your trip do it two to three weeks in advance.  When you leave the shopping to the last minute you risk over spending and buying items that you will never wear.
  • If you need someone to get your mail, watch your pets, or water your yard while you are away, coordinate it at least 3 to 4 weeks ahead of time.  Create envelopes for each service and tuck cash inside so you can pay your helpers right before you leave or after you get back and avoid spending your travel money.
  • Create a travel budget and try to pay for as many things ahead of time so you don’t come back from your trip with a huge credit card bill.
  • Make double batches of easy meals like soup, macaroni and cheese, and goulash that you can freeze ahead of time.  Defrost them for healthier inexpensive dinners the last few nights before your trip.  This will help you avoid any pre-vacation bloat because you won’t have to order take-out.