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Travel is picking back up this summer with more and more Americans getting vaccinated. With any vacation or getaway comes the dreaded packing list and figuring out how everything you're going to need is going to fit into a suitcase or weekender bag.
The Shop TODAY team reached out to Di Ter Avest, professional home and lifestyle organizer, to give you tips and tricks on how to pack efficiently and stay organized while traveling this summer.
What tips can help you pack for your 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.”
Ter Avest 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 explained. 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 said.
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 mentioned.
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 said.
What organization products can keep your bags neat?
“Packing cubes and stand-alone products are great for any trip," Ter Avest said. "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 $5. Each bag has a zip closure and is a different color so you can remember what’s in which bag.
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.
If your plans include an extended stay at a hotel, one of the easiest ways to stay organized is with a compact shoe holder. This one can hold up to 12 pairs of shoes along with sunglasses, kids' hats and sunscreen.
Get the most out of your carry-on space with this accordion zipper pouch. Each of the six pouches has rose gold zippers and 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 also comes in four classic colors including black and navy.
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.
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.
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 four different colors, but all feature a clear mesh so you can easily see what you’ve packed.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 16 travel backpacks for every kind of summer vacation
- These are the only 13 pieces you need to pack for your next vacation
- Travel experts weigh in with their tips for picking the best carry-on