Tips for a Stress-free Travel Packing Plan

17321772_sSummer is here and so is travel to other countries, hiking and biking tours, exploring across the country, going to a cottage … or for some it still includes business travel. There’s hardly anything more stressful than packing for a trip. You’ve probably had your own nightmare experience whether its forgetting the most important outfit for your business trip (the complete outfit is hanging in your closet 3,000 miles away) or you forgot your makeup bag on the bathroom counter. Or … there are clothes strewn on the bed, some are still in the dryer and you are stressing over “weather what-if’s.” It’s time to adopt a new packing strategy. One that will lead to a relaxed night before your trip! Start with a timetable and work your way up to the big day. Here are some tips to help you.

14 days out – Although your trip seems far in the future, it’s time to start prepping now!

1.  Create a schedule of your trip in terms of events for each day… this includes your flight. What might the weather and temperature be? Don’t forget there may be multiple events in one day. For example on a cruise you would be sightseeing and then enjoy dinner at the Captain’s table in the evening.

2. Try on and write up or take pictures of all the pieces in your highest impact outfits. What are high impact outfits? They’re the outfits that are the most important outfits you’ll be wearing on the trip. Attending a wedding? Interviewing for a job? Meeting the in-laws for the first time? You know which days or nights mean the most to you so be sure you create those outfits early.

3. Fill in the attached wardrobe worksheet . You can download it a blank version here. Try on your outfits, and as you fill in your worksheet, you’ll discover any missing elements and will still have time to purchase them.

4. Do you take prescription drugs? Check the refills now. Your pharmacist will help you stock up so you won’t miss any days.

5. Do you need a hair appointment, pedicure? Make the appointment now.

12 days out – Investigate the condition of your outfit pieces by looking closely at each clothing article. Finalize your high impact outfits and check closely to see if any articles need repair, alterations, or cleaning. Most establishments want a week to complete jobs.

10 days out – Start brainstorming your low to medium impact outfits. These are the outfits you’ll wear on day trips, visiting museums, going to the beach, socializing with friends, relatives, having casual dinners out. Try on the different possibilities and be sure to include the accessories. Let these possible combinations simmer for a couple of days in a section of your closet. That way you can mull over your outfit ideas without feeling rushed.

7 days out – You can start creating your non-weather related pre-packs.

1. Some items can be packed right now. Use your worksheet and indicate what you have put into your suitcase. Consider gathering up your panties and bras now and packing them in a small travel bag. Nightgowns or pajamas and anything you use just before bed can be packed in a small travel bag. Do you have a favorite lip balm you apply at night? Do you wear earplugs or eyeshades? Designate a travel pack for just these items. When you get to your destination, you just pull out this nighttime pack and you could be asleep in five minutes!

2. Make another pre-pack for your workout gear if this is included in your itinerary.

3. Count out your daily vitamins and/or medications and put them in mini-plastic pouches for each day of your trip. You’ll feel so good taking care of this ahead of time. Don’t do this the night before you leave!

4. Your toiletries and hair products can be pre-packed now too and placed in your suitcase. A benefit of having an extra set of makeup is that you can pack this early and avoid any panic about forgetting a most important product.

5 days out – Your anxiety might be presenting itself. Keep calm and get more of your packing prepped. Check the weather at your destination. Now you have a clearer idea about the forecast and how it will affect your wardrobe. However, always pack a couple of pieces of clothing for each extreme weather possibility. That could mean a pair of shorts and a long-sleeved sweater.

Since you already planned out your high impact outfit ideas on Day 14, time to put them together completely. Check to be sure you have the accessories for each outfit.

Make the final edits of your travel wardrobe for your low to medium impact outfits. Do laundry if needed. Plan your actual “day-of” travel outfit.

1 day out – Don’t worry, you’re ready for this day.

1. Time to fit it all into your suitcase using your worksheet as your guide.

2. Make yourself a note of anything that needs to be put into the suitcase just before you leave. I find a sticky note on my mirror is a good reminder. This could include a curling iron, makeup, and makeup tools (if you don’t have an extra set for travel).

3. Have your travel outfit laid out and ready to go, especially for those early morning flights.

4. Get a good night’s sleep!

Need more simplifying?

Let me help you. I’ve packed my clients for many different destinations and occasions. They love how simplified their packing experience becomes. You could be the calmest customer in the security line on your next trip!

Let me know how your packing went! Did these tips help?  I love getting feedback. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,



2 thoughts on “Tips for a Stress-free Travel Packing Plan

  1. Karen, this is a very timely article. I’m planning to go away for a few days and was already stressing over what to wear. Your advice has helped me see just how easy and enjoyable packing can be.

    • Thank you Dagmar! I am glad you are able to put this article to work for you right away. Let me know how you make out with packing and if I can answer any question , please let me know.


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