Packing 101

For the past few years, I have been working with clients on improving their packing skills. Seems silly until you experience the ease of packing less, which in turn alleviates stress while traveling. I have heard it from LOTS of people; packing stresses them out. And I can relate! Long ago before I learned how to pack smart, not having my closet with me while traveling gave me real anxiety. What if I wanted to wear something I didn’t have? What if I didn’t realize I needed a certain something until it was too late? I can already feel my heart rate rising just thinking about it. This self-induced panic caused me to bring WAY too much stuff. Then I would spend too much time deciding on what I was going to wear instead of enjoying my trip! Wouldn’t it be nice if getting dressed was the last thing you had to worry about? If so, let me HELP YOU! My packing process will help you learn how to pack only what you need, exactly when to wear it and exactly how to style it while you are away, resulting in less stress while traveling and a heightened sense of confidence as well. You have heard me say it a million times: if you look good…you will feel good. This saying goes for all aspects of your life, even when you are traveling! It doesn’t matter if you are going on a 2 week tour of Europe or a week-long trip to Disneyland with your family, the same rules apply for packing. Follow these steps below customized to your trip and you will be a very happy camper. Or hop on over to my instagram stories to watch me pack!

Step 1: Make an itinerary

Start with your first travel day and any event in between until your last travel day. If you do not have exact activities planned, this can be a loose itinerary but the more detailed the better. I like to hand write my schedule but some like to use a spreadsheet. Include weather for each day as well. This will determine type of clothing you will be taking. Leave space to include written out outfits under each day. We will be using that space later.

Step 2: Find your set number of outfits

Based on your itinerary, determine how many outfits you need to take from travel day to travel day. Depending on where you are traveling and what you are doing, you may need 2 looks a day or maybe you only need 1 look per day.

Step 3: Determine luggage situation

Are you traveling by air or car? Do you want to take more than one bag? How large is your suitcase? Once you figure this out, you are ready for step 4!


Step 4: Start formulating your looks.

If you need some inspiration on putting some outfits together, I like to browse Pinterest or Instagram and save images of outfits that speak to me. These images may also give you an idea of what is appropriate or not for the place you are traveling. Many times (for my clients and myself) I will try to recreate some of these looks. Creating an “inspiration board” will help to set the tone for my overall travel style. Then (if your closet permits) choose a color palate for your trip. This will maximize your outfit options and give you more room to mix and match. Pull potential items from your closet that you might want to take. Then day by day, start to put your outfits together to go with your itinerary.

Step 5: Style and Try On Session

Hang your outfits together and try each one of them on. This is EXTREMELY important. Sometimes looks in your head just do not compute in real life or maybe something needs a little altering before it can be worn. Take note to how you style each look. Is your top tucked in? Are the bottoms of your jeans cuffed? Which shoes go best with each look? Paying attention to details like this will elevate your look from so-so to ultra polished while you are away.

Step 6: Create your Look book

Once you have finalized what you are wearing for each day of your travel, lay each look out and photograph from your cell phone. Include shoes, jewelry and any styling details that need to be done. Using your look book, write out each look on your itinerary on its coordinating day. Include styling details, jewelry and shoes.


Step 7: Pack it up!

  • If you are traveling for longer periods of time, packing cubes are a lifesaver. They will compress your items inside your suitcase to save space. These are my favorite packing cubes. There are lots of packing cubes out there, the most important thing is to find a pack with a variety of sizes. Place lighter weight items in your cubes.
  • If you do not use packing cubes, you can roll everything else up to save space and to help with wrinkling.
  • Items like jeans or thicker items DO NOT need to be rolled. You will save more space if they are folded flat.
  • Pack your shoes last. Shoes can be wedged in between clothing in your suitcase to save space.
  • Throw a couple of dryer sheets in your suitcase to help keep everything in your suitcase smelling fresh.
  • Bring this travel steamer (because you can’t look stylish in something wrinkled)


  • The best color pallets for traveling include neutrals and a pop of color. The main goal is that you want everything to mix and match together!
  • A good rule of thumb is 2-3 tops to 1 bottom ratio.
  • Try to re-purpose as many bottom options and third piece options as you can. These are the pieces that tend to take up the most space.
  • Packing too many pairs of shoes is what puts most people over the edge. Try to utilize your shoes in as many looks as you can.
  • Follow the packing rules. If you don’t have a set reason for an item, it does not get to go on your trip with you. No more throwing stuff in last-minute. Be confident that what you have planned out is all you need.
  • If you are packing for your kiddos as well, this method works wonders for them too.

For additional info on travel packing services, contact me here!