I have traveling down to science. When I say that I’ve turned my packing routine into an easy, efficient and anxiety reducing system, it’s not an understatement. Because I’ve learned the hard way over the years that the best thing you can to feel the most comfortable when traveling is to be prepared.
So today, I’m giving you a walk through of how to create your own pre-packed travel system and feel more prepared for any trip you might have planned. Let’s dive in!
START WITH A TSA APPROVED BAG
I personally love a double sided bag because it lets sort things that you might wants easier access to mid flight. It also means you can organize things a bit better. I’d recommend this one from amazon. You want something that fits the guidelines but will also be easy to clean if you have a spill. And I’ve had more than one lately.
If you’re traveling for more than 5 days, you may need to pack large versions of your products or decant more than one set of minis. But for the most part, I’ve found my system will last me for a good 5 days with a few products lasting for more.
LAY OUT YOUR ROUTINE
The first time you do this, lay out your routine and then write it down. It will make it a lots easier when you’re refilling things in the future. There have been so many times where I’ve tried to walk through a routine in my head and still forgotten something. Also make a note of what you can’t do without. Whether this is a skincare product or a charger, those are the things to prioritize ordering a duplicate of.
The things that always stay packed in either my luggage or pre-toiletries: apple watch charger, phone charger, deodorant, ibuprofen, bandaids, dry shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, a sleeping mask, a silk pillow case and lint roller. Essentially everything that keeps me comfortable no matter where I’m staying.
DETERMINE WHETHER TO DECANT OR SIZE DOWN
I would say that almost 2/3 of my products are decanted versions of my routine. But there are a few things I’ve learned it’s easier to just buy smaller. Hair products, deodorant and toothpaste all fit the list. There are some products that you may want to keep in smaller portions depending on how often you travel like skincare (because of expiration dates).
In general, if your product is liquid, you can easily decant. These refillable pouches are great for hair product and they don’t spill. For other hair products, sizing down is easiest and means one less product you have to remember to pack or refill.
DECANT, DECANT, DECANT
Part of the reason I lay out my routine is so I can create a smaller version of it. This is mostly for my skincare routine. Skincare can go off after a while or I may need to adjust my routine for the climate I’ll be in. Just to be sure, I like to refill anything the night before I go. And if a product I was using isn’t suited to my skin anymore or needs replaced, I’ll make sure I update my mini the night before I travel.
For the products I don’t decant (my acids, certain hair products, etc.) I opt for sample sizes, minis or other suitable options. There are some products that work well with the travel skincare containers. However, for more challenging liquids, I love reusing mini micellar water bottles. I find this works well with cleansers that you only want a small portion of over the flat screw on lid containers.
MINI PACKS & SINGLE USE PRODUCTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
There are some products that it’s just easier to get a mini version. Ulta has THE BEST travel size section for hair care. You’ll also often find a single-use sheet mask or two in my bag (Savvy tip: buy these from amazon to save $$$). There are somethings I won’t compromise swapping in my routine.
But I’ll happily take a mini body wash, single use shampoo satchel or even a tiny perfume to save room. It’s also the reason I love getting advent calendars every year at Christmas. I opted for the L’Occitane one a few years ago and now I have a small supply of mini body washes and lotions. Perfect for making my packing life easier!
STOCK UP ON SAMPLES
Even if I’ve loaded my bag with essentials, I’ll still throw a sample or two in there just in case. I find these are perfect for filling in the gaps when you need just one more day of product. These are easiest to get when shopping online so the next time you need a refill of your favorite product, shopping from the brand website is the perfect way to get samples of things you already love & use.
ALWAYS PACK EXTRA BAGGIES
Whether it’s your purple shampoo exploding or a piece of jewelry that breaks, you’ll never regret packing the extra baggies. There’s normally a ziplock or two floating around in my bag for this reason. But bonus points if you throw an extra shoe bag in your luggage. It’s great if you need to separate an extra outfit in your carry-on or just have a pair of shoes that took a beating during your trip.
Invest In Duplicates
If you can’t live without it and think you might forget it, it will save you loads of travel anxiety if you have one that’s already packed. My general rule of thumb for this is to ask what do I use in my routine that I don’t even think twice about. I’m the most precious about this with my nighttime routine because your girl doesn’t play with her sleep.
And if you’re traveling for a few days, this might be a thing you only need once but will really want to have a backup of (my oura ring charge comes to mind). This may take some time to build depending on your list. But chargers, pillowcases, and blankets are always worth it in the long run.
Know What Your Travel Only Needs Are
There are some things that aren’t really a problem until you’re traveling. Things that don’t come up often in your regular life but always seem to be a thing when you’re on vacation or away from home. When creating your pre-packed travel system, make a note of things you do daily but find are less common for others.
For example, I always pack decaf tea because it’s not always easy to find decaf coffee. You’ll also always find a hydrating sheet mask and cooling eye gels in my bag because late nights show quickly on my face and I get dry skin very easily. Or there’s always a pair of socks because if my feet are cold, I can’t sleep (and I am always the cold person in the room).
Truthfully, these are the things that are the power behind my pre-packed travel system. Aka how can I make sure that I feel supported (both financially and physically) no matter where I am in the world. And I can’t tell you how many times these little things have made ALL the difference.
Invest In Packing Cubes
While this isn’t necessarily something to pre-pack, it does make packing and unpacking so much easier. So we had to talk about it. Now I’ve seen people who like to pack individual outfits with ziplock bags in their packing cubes, and that’s an extra level of preparation.
I like to lay things out by outfits and then pack cubes with similar items. However, I LOVE repacking them before I come home putting all of the dirty clothes in one of two cubes. It saves so much time and makes getting things unpacked & sorted that much easier.
I’d love to know what your packing tips are for traveling. Do you have any go-to items you always take or things you’ve learned along the way? If you want more travel and packing content, make sure you’re subscribed to the newsletter so you never miss a thing! Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
I do a few sponsored posts but they are limited to maintain the authenticity of © What Savvy Said. Some links in my posts may be affiliate links. This means I receive a small compensation for purchases made through those links. The presence of affiliate links and potential commission compensation are marked with an (*).