Quick Trip Packing

Photo by geishaboy500

Want to leave town?

We shared last week about how to keep your kids’ stuff organized when you pack for a trip, but what about your own bag? I don’t have time anymore to spend hours packing for a trip. There are so many other things to do to get ready!

travel-kitTo save time I keep a travel kit in my suitcase ready to go. With my toiletries already packed, I’m half done before I even get started. After the trip when I return home, I refill the little bottles and store it back in my suitcase for next time. This makes it easier to not forget anything.

I love knowing that I can be out the door in an hour if I get a last minute call for a trip. Not that it ever happens, but it could.

Since I travel light, it doesn’t take long to pack my clothes. I usually include a few shirts, two pairs of pants, and a dress. In the winter I bring a sweater and a hat, and in the summer I include some shorts and a swimsuit. For longer trips I can hand wash a few items if I need to. I toss in my makeup bag, and my suitcase is ready. I also like to bring a tote bag with me for a book or snacks.

So I don’t forget what I need to do, I use this Before the Trip checklist to get ready.

Do you like to travel light, or are you prepared for everything? What are your must-haves for taking on a trip?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I try to travel as light as possible. For the 13 day trip I just returned from I took 5 complete outfits for myself and each of my kids. Though, it adds up! We filled up a giant suitcase with just our clothes and toiletries and shoes. When you have to travel with diapers, cameras, computers and car seats it pays to pack light.

    Andrea @ the train to crazy´s last blog post..My favorite puzzle maps

  2. I prefer to travel light but with 5 people in the family “light” sometimes still feels ridiculous. It sure becomes easier when kids are out of diapers! We each have our own, always stocked toiletry bag. We always bring as many healthy snacks, in a bin, as seems reasonable (or will stay fresh). My kids each also bring their own backpack of notebook, pens, books, water bottle, and so forth. Next summer we’ll drive across our country on a three week trip and I’m definitely searching for tips to help us plan this well!

  3. I try to pack light but am not always successful… ;) I’m such a Girl Scout about it; feeling like I need to be prepared for every situation! I’m getting better, though. I also keep a packed toiletry bag, and a couple of generic packing lists in my suitcase.

    The two big things that have helped me nudge toward lighter packing are:
    1. Having to pay for checked baggage, which means we share a suitcase now!
    2. Woolite travel laundry soap (http://www.amazon.com/Woolite-Travel-Laundry-Soap-Packs/dp/B000AXVUCE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qid=1245948148&sr=8-1), which smells nice and rinses clean and is very easy to use. (Just roll your clothes in a towel after to squeeze out most of the water.)

    liz´s last blog post..making the most of limited cabinet space, part 2

  4. The big thing for us is food. Packing clothes and toiletries, 1/2 to 1 hr tops, with kids included. But taking care of our dietary needs requires a lot of advance planning and prep.

    Our and we have the cat to think about also…

    renee @ FIMBY´s last blog post..Wild Edibles

  5. Oh my gosh…I am either the WORST at traveling…or the best. I am prepared for anything (the best). I pack WAY too much (the worst!). But I’m one of those that never knows what I’ll be in the mood to wear. So…I bring a variety. My husband has gotten used to it…I think!

    Michelle´s last blog post..Wednesday in the Word.

  6. I love the idea of having a bag of toiletries ready to go – never had thought of that before. And for some reason that part of packing is always the bit I dread!


    steadymom´s last blog post..The Laundry Post

  7. I have one of those Zucca suitcases, which has all those compartments to pack different like items. Undergarments in one, blouses and tops in another. It’s great because you can pull out one of them to get something without wrecking the entire thing. Also, the suitcase itself is very compact, so it forces you to be a light packer.

    One more little trick I follow is to lay everything out on the bed before I pack it up, and then take one or two items out of the mix.

    Mary R´s last blog post..Day 25 Challenge: Drinking grass

  8. When we travel, it’s usually internationally, which in some ways makes it easier because space/weight is limited. Over the years we’ve learned to pack less and less – it really is an art!

    Since we travel/move so much, a lot of things we use day-to-day are actually meant for travel, like a laptop as our primary home computer, our clip-on baby seat for the table, and the portable crib our littlest sleeps in. Even the toiletries I use daily all fit on a shelf in the medicine cabinet, so they’re easy to pop into my toiletries bag just before we take off.

    We like to use baby carriers (Ergo, Mei Tai, wraps, ring slings – depending on age of children) rather than take a stroller. Not having the stroller (and carrying a cute, smiling baby) makes the airlines happier to work with us if our luggage is a little too heavy, and it makes airport security easier to negotiate.

    One item we do have “extra” to make traveling easier, is a pop-up toddler tent for our older child to sleep in (it folds down very small, plus it has UV-block, so doubles as a sun shelter during the day if appropriate).

    We’ve traveled in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Australia, and we still haven’t found a place where they don’t have essentials – especially for children – if we forget something crucial. A packing list makes it easier to remember everything, but we don’t stress too much anymore if we find we need to pick something up.

  9. The tip on packiong kids clothes was a lifesaver for me this week!
    Thanks for reminding me to keep it simple even while traveling =)

    Karisa´s last blog post..Como respetar a mi esposo

  10. Love your take on packing! I used to be able to travel with an 8kg hand luggage bag for 2 weeks and be fine… alas, since I don’t travel as often these days, I tend to throw in the “in case” stuff which leaves me with loads of luggage I don’t need. Timely reminder since I am taking a trip next week, thanks :)

    angelvalerie´s last blog post..what kind of world do you want

  11. I am a true minimalist traveler and drive my poor husband nuts. He is – well quite the opposite! I take what I am wearing, a change of clothes and a toothbrush (I reckon wherever we are going should have toothpaste)… and the same for the kids – all eight of us in one bag… and then he has the other bag with half the house that we never open because it is too terrifying to see what is inside!!! For our honeymoon I never packed a thing – never gave it a thought!!! I was so focused on getting to the church and the reception that at two in the morning when he said shall we leave I leapt in the car and he looked at me and said: “Where are your bags?” Hmmm, what bags!!! We still laugh about it sixteen years later!!!

    se7en´s last blog post..Se7en Recipes and Tips For Bulk (Frugal) Vegetable Shopping…

  12. I wrote a little bit about this last week, as we are packing to leave for vacation this weekend. In a nutshell, I reuse my pack lists to get a good head start and pack light on clothes with items that mix and match well. If anyone is interested in the full article you can find it here: http://problemsolvinmom.blogspot.com/2009/06/organizing-tip-thursday-travel-edition.html

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last blog post..Organizing Tip Thursday – traveling toy storage

  13. Love it! I, too, have a saved generic ‘before the trip’ checklist I created, as well as a camping packing checklist. Both are extremely helpful. Great ideas — thanks for sharing.

    (Now, if I only had a big wonderful trip planned!)

    ChristineG´s last blog post..The Habit of Calm: Making Deposits