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Some people say that the worst part of travel is the packing and un-packing. While I don't relish the packing task that accompanies travel, I know that planning ahead and packing a few key items can certainly save the day! After dozens of trips, here are the things I always have in my suitcase:
1. Packing Cubes- These little things are game changers! I wish I'd discovered them sooner! I know a few zippered pouches doesn't seem monumental, but they can turn a wad of messy clothes into organized bliss! With packing cubes, you can easily sort clothing (i.e. shirts in a medium sized one, underwear in a small one, etc) and they just roll up nice and neat in the cubes for compact and efficient packing. Clothes are so easy to find in your suitcase when using packing cubes. They are also super helpful when multiple family members are packing in same suitcase. <<Trip Tip: Get a different color set for each family member and you'll know whose bags are whose at a glance!>>
Packing cubes are one of my favorite gifts to give family and friends, especially if I know they have a trip coming up! These are super affordable and come in tons of colors for males or females- Get them HERE.
2. Wrinkle Release Spray- I don't know about you, but I don't like ironing at home, much less on vacation! And since I just told you to roll your clothes to get them into the packing cubes, you more than likely will arrive with some wrinkles. This little bottle is golden for getting out wrinkles- just spray it on, smooth it out and within a few minutes, you have wrinkle-free clothes. This also gives clothes a quick refresher since we all know that clothes can pick up odd odors when traveling. Order a 3-pack HERE.
3. Shout Wipes- While we're talking about clothes, Shout Wipes are another travel must-have! I also pack these in my day bag/purse when we are out and about. I can't tell you how many times Rayna has dropped chocolate ice cream not just on her shirt, but her pants & shoes too!
(Look closely at this picture and you can see the beginning of her chocolate disaster in Spain!)
Shout Wipes saved the day by making her picture perfect again and saved me time when we got home on spot treating. Get your multi-pack of Shout Wipes HERE.
4. Shower Caps...for your Shoes! This is one of the best travel tips I ever heard, especially if you are a germaphobe like me! The next time you're at a hotel, make sure to keep your shower cap! These make great little covers for your shoes and protect everything else in your suitcase from getting travel germs from the bottoms of your shoes.
5. Refillable Toiletry Bottles- While I always recommend saving space and money by using hotel provided toiletries, sometimes you might be staying at an AirBnB or place that doesn't provide supplies. Or maybe you just like to have your special brand of face cleanser. Either way, save yourself some big bucks by investing in a good, quality set of travel-size bottles and containers. (I like these silicone ones HERE- they're TSA approved and leak-proof!)
Fill them from your own stock at home and don't pay the (usually double) price per ounce for the mini-versions. This works with almost everything except toothpaste! You can also save space by purchasing individually packed face wipes or cutting off a small piece of your favorite bar soap. Then use your money savings on souvenirs! :)
6. Ziploc Bags- When traveling, you never know what may happen so I love to have several different sizes of ziploc bags. Gallon size ones are perfect for wet bathing suits and snack size ones are great for smaller items- like when a kid looses a tooth while traveling or your favorite necklace breaks.
7. Clothespins- This is definitely something you have to intentionally pack but is a great little hack for your hotel room. Clothespins are perfect for clamping curtains shut so no pesky light creeps in while you’re trying to sleep! And if you're traveling internationally or have kids that nap in the daytime, you know how important it is to keep daylight out. It also keeps city lights from shining in your face all night too. <<A hair clip will also work in a pinch!>>
8. Medicine- Hopefully this is something you already do, but if not, it's time to assemble your own little pharmacy! It's no fun to be sick on vacation but you don't want to have shell out $5 a pill which is what hotels and other tourist spots can charge. Or, even worse, you might not have access to purchase medicine depending on where you are.
I never leave home without several pills of each of the following: Tylenol, Advil, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium AD, Children's Tylenol and cough drops (but pack whatever works for your family). And because I've had water get into my medicine stashes before, I recommend THIS PILL CASE- by Westwood. It's water-proof, pocket-size and has 4 compartments.
While we always suggest packing as light as possible, these 8 things should make your trip easier. If you have a great travel hack, please make sure to share below in the comments!