5 tips on packing for vacation

When I was in high school my sister and I would travel from Oklahoma to Utah to visit our dad for the summer.  These were the days when each ticketed passenger could bring 2 checked bags for free.  So, we each brought 2 enormous bags each full of clothes, books, make-up and every single pair of shoes we owned.  My dad totally loved hauling it through the airport and never said, “why did you guys bring so much stuff?” or, “my back is going to break,” or, “how many shoes are in this thing?”  Remember Dr. Martens?  Those things were HEAVY…and we BOTH brought a few.  Uh.  Sorry, dad.

Now that airline policies and the size of my family have changed, so have my packing habits.  Gone are the days of 18 pairs of shoes carelessly tossed in my spacious checked bags.  Now it’s too expensive to check bags and my dad isn’t waiting at the other end of my flights to carry my crap for me!

Here are 5 tips on packing for vacation (and let’s be honest, you’ll be packing everyone else’s stuff, too):

packing for vacations


Choose 1-2 dark neutrals- black, brown, gray or navy
Choose 1-2 light neutrals- white, cream, tan, or gray
Choose 2-3 accent colors- whatever looks good on you


This is one trick I learned as a teen that I have kept dear to my heart.  You can fit SO MUCH MORE if you roll your clothes instead of folding them.  Also, they won’t have weird creases when you unpack!


My son, who is 7, can pick his own outfits from a suitcase without any problems.  My 20 month old daughter cannot.  My husband is useless to help her unless I spell it out for him.  Enter 1 outfit, from top to bottom, in one bag.  Take a permanent marker and write which shoes and other accessories go with it.  This way, you won’t feel like you’re doing EVERYTHING and your child will wear actual clothes…anyone else’s husband think a diaper and pajama top are legit??

packing with zipper bags

4. CRAM:

I leave no shoe empty!  Underwear, socks, and belts can be jammed into the toes of your shoes, leaving a bit more space for other essentials.


Your rock collection, jars full of pennies…these are items we seriously schlepped from the prairie to our dad’s pad!  Security was not a fan in either case.  In addition, it will be cheaper/cleaner/leave you more room if you don’t bring certain toiletries.  If my family of 5 is going back east to visit my in-laws for 3 weeks, I don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, body wash.  I just swing by Wal-Mart of Target once I get there and buy regular sized products, then I leave them.  They won’t open and spill all over your clothes, it doesn’t take up half the suitcase and you won’t have to worry about running out of the one tiny bottle allowed in a carry-on.

I hope your next family vacation goes smoother with one less thing to stress about.  Happy travels, I would LOVE to hear all about them!

*originally posted at The Real Housewives of Riverton

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