Each day closer to summer and consistent warm weather inspires daydreams of our next adventure. With any vacation or getaway comes the dreaded packing list AKA figuring out how everything you're going to need is going to fit into a suitcase or weekender bag.
Tips to help you pack for vacation
“Implementing organization systems to our travel plans before, during and after a trip can help us alleviate the fear of forgetting to pack something important," says Ter Avest. "It reduces stress so we can enjoy every moment of the trip, and it allows us to save time and money.”
She always suggests planning your trip and vacation packing list well in advance. “Make plans, research and schedule local attractions and make packing lists. A well-made packing list will ensure you pack all your essentials [for vacation],” she explains. You'll also want to check the weather at your vacation destination and pack accordingly.
She also recommends, when appropriate, to pack light. “Use the formula of one outfit per day for adults and one and a half outfits per day for kids. Packing light will help you to know where everything is, plus fewer things equal less mess,” she says.
How can you stay organized while you're on vacation?
Ter Avest recommends unpacking at your destination. “If you stay at a hotel for more than two nights, unpack your suitcase into the dressers or hang your clothes. Store your suitcases in the closet; that will eliminate the clutter and help you relax,” she mentions.
She also suggests packing a laundry bag, even if it’s just a standard kitchen garbage bag, so that you can collect dirty clothes during the trip. “When you get home, you can leave the whole bag in the laundry room,” she notes.
What organization products can keep your bags neat?
“Packing cubes and stand-alone products are great for any trip," Ter Avest says. "It is easy to get everything out of the suitcase or backpack, and it helps you find what you need since they are separated. You can use small packing cubes and pack clothes by date, or you can use bigger ones to pack clothes according to your destination and the days you are staying in each place.”
Best organization products for traveling
Packing cubes and bags are a great way to keep your clothes organized. This set of three from Ikea is a great deal for just under $6. Each bag has a zip closure and is a different color so you can remember what’s in which bag.
This wallet is a classic Shop TODAY favorite that has space for several cards, cash, your passport and even several boarding passes. According to the brand, it's made with RFID-blocking technology that keeps thieves from stealing your card information. NBC News photo editor Vivian Le recently took this wallet on trips to Mexico City and Japan, and she said she found it "super useful."
Keeping all of your travel plans and documents in one spot is easy with this Erin Condren travel journal. Each page includes blank reservation and confirmation sections, along with areas for the daily weather forecast and meal plans. The planner also has a built-in pocket for documents like flight tickets and museum entry passes.
Instead of shoving your shoes in the corner of your suitcase and risking getting other items dirty, slip them in these travel shoe bags that way your bag can stay clean while looking aesthetically pleasing. It's a No. 1 bestseller that comes in several colors and quantities.
Get the most out of your carry-on space with this accordion zipper pouch. Each of the six pouches can hold everything from smartphone cords to toiletries.
This storage pouch is a great option to keep small things from floating around at the bottom of your travel backpack. It can hold everything from sunglasses and your smartphone to AirPods and pens. It comes in two colors.
If you’re looking for a stylish laundry bag that goes beyond a kitchen garbage bag, this is the one. We love that it can collapse to fit into a suitcase before vacation begins and is easy to put back once it’s full at the end of a trip. The cinch top also ensures that dirty laundry doesn’t spill out onto your belongings while you’re in transit.
If you prefer one bag for all of your shoes instead of several individual ones, try this highly-rated option on Amazon. It holds three pairs of shoes (more if you're only packing sandals) and even has a trolley strap so you can slide it right over the handle of your suitcase.
If you want a smaller laundry bag for a quick trip, this option is just what you need. According to the brand, it locks in germs and keeps the rest of your items (and your nose) safe from the dreaded dirty laundry smell. Once you're ready to wash, all you have to do is open the bottom zipper, turn the bag inside out and it becomes a wash bag. So you can throw it directly into the washer and dryer without having to touch your clothes until they're clean again.
Packing toiletries into a bunch of little bags for everyone in your family can be a thing of the past with this toiletry organizer. The bag sits comfortably in a large suitcase and is made of water-resistant fabric to prevent accidental leaks from damaging your belongings. We love hanging this entire bag in the hotel bathroom on the door hook instead of having pouches and makeup bags take up precious space on the counter.
This organizer eliminates the need to dig around in your bag or getting everything else tangled up in wires. It has slot compartments and a zippered pocket so you'll always know exactly where to find what you're looking for. It comes in eight different colorways.
These spill-proof and water-resistant mumi bags come in three different sizes and are made with a clear mesh that lets you see what’s inside. If you don’t end up using all three bags for toiletries, they're also the perfect size for socks and undergarments.
If space is limited in your suitcase, these packing cubes are a godsend for keeping things organized. This set of five comes with one slim, two small and two large cubes that can hold everything from clothes and accessories to shoes and power cords. They also come in three different colors, but all feature a clear mesh so you can easily see what you’ve packed.