For many of us, we haven't done much travel the past fifteen months. It's been so long, we might have a few cobwebs to wipe away from our suitcases. With COVID vaccinations happening across the globe in record numbers, many people are feeling more comfortable being out and about and the travel itch is back.
Knowing that many of you are planning to travel again this summer and fall, it seemed a good time for Neat Little Nest to share some tips to help you create routines to minimize stress before, during and after any getaway. Having traveled for many years solo and now with my family, I know first hand that organizing your space, doing a little pre-trip planning and incorporating smarter packing methods can mean less anxiety and more efficient use of limited space in carry-ons and luggage.
A smooth and organized trips starts at home
Long before you choose and book your flights or reserve your car or Airbnb, it's important to create a system for all travel-related items — this includes suitcases, packing cubes, travel-sized toiletries, and special travel-only items like a neck pillow. Your system doesn't need to be overly complicated. We recommend you simply choose a place within your home to keep everything together in one, tidy place. This way, when it's time to travel you know exactly where to find what you need rather than searching the house high and low or buying new items when you know you will find duplicates later
A checklist can help with planning + packing
For both frequent or novice travelers, a travel checklist can really help minimize guessing. If you travel often, a checklist might seem like something that you already have locked into your memory but even the best of us can overlook something critical so a physical or digital checklist is always a wise option to have on hand. If travel sporadically, a checklist can help guide you in thinking about things you might want to have on hand. If you have children, a travel checklist can provide them some independence with getting their items together rather than mom or dad doing all of the packing for them.
One of my packing goals is to coordinate— how can I pull together the most outfits with the fewest pairs of shoes, and dress appropriately the whole trip —from pool, to hike, to a nice dinner out. I pick a theme color and sketch out days and nights based on my itinerary using a mix and match strategy to minimize the number of items I bring.
To help you on your next trip, Neat Little Nest has created a packing checklist that includes an outfit planner that you can download for free!
Choose right-sized luggage and consider packing cubes
Giant suitcases have gone the way of the steamer trunk. Now that many airlines charge to check luggage, more people are opting for carry-on sized rolling bags or backpacks. The upside of this policy? Packing light becomes a necessity.
If you've never traveled with packing cubes, now is the time to give it a try. Travel cubes keep your clothes compressed and allow everything to fit neatly into your suitcase. They help you stay organized throughout the trip — you won’t forget what you packed when it’s all laid out in a grid with cubes.
Neat Little Nest has curated some of our favorite travel cubes here. They can be used for a variety of purposes, to keep shoes off other items, for wet swimsuits and towels, and for dirty laundry.
File fold clothes
File folding your clothes helps you get more into the suitcase and also helps your clothes travel better. If you haven’t gotten on the KonMari file-folding bandwagon yet, your next trip would be the perfect time to start. If you'd like to watch videos on how to fold KonMari style, visit my IGTV here.
Tidy before you go and unpack immediately when you return
Give yourself enough time to reset your home before you leave. It’s always pleasant to walk into a clean, fresh home after traveling. And if you really want to be a super organizer, order groceries for delivery on your return.
When you return from you time away, even if you’re tired, take time to unpack your bags immediately when you return from a trip. Put your toiletries away. Empty your purse. Throw away garbage. Put away the luggage. Bring dirty items to the laundry. One thing my family does when traveling together is select one or two suitcases on the way home that holds all of our dirty laundry. This way, we are able to bring those clothes straight to the laundry room and start a load if there is still enough time in the day.
Getting into the habit of putting everything away as soon as you get home from a trip, and teaching that routine to your children allows you all to get back into your regular routine more quickly.
Rule of thumb is that you need far less than you think you do. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to pack as rushing last minute makes decision making challenging and you will no doubt end up bringing things you really don't need.
Each trip you take can teach you something about how to organize for the next one. Being creative and resourceful is always a good goal to strive for no matter how many miles you have covered.
Photo credits: Jes Lahay Photography
Neat Little Nest, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. All opinions are of Neat Little Nest and not the affiliate.