Posted in Packing, Travel Series

Preparing & Packing

Travel Series Volume # 8

So you are finally going to take the trip that you dreamed up, planned and saved up for.  Good for you!  Now you must navigate your next task…..Packing!  This had always been the hardest part for me.  What to take, what not to take, yikes it’s like predicting the stock market.

Let me tell you about a funny vacation story involving my Mom.  We were taking a big family vacation with my Husband, my 2 kids, my Step-Dad Ron and his 2 kids, my Mom and my 2 brothers.  First of all, that is a lot of people on one trip.  They had rented a mini van to drive from North Carolina to Orlando with their crew.  Ron grumbled loudly because he could barely get all the things into the back end that my Mom had packed.  It was ridiculous how much she thought she needed for 5 days in Florida.  She had one entire bag that I think she just unloaded the entire medicine cabinet into, just in case.  Hysterical.  Let this be your example of how NOT to pack!

We met Jay and Morpha on our first trip to Italy.  My husband and Jay were full of mischief and jokes and we were often seated near them on the bus during travel days.  It made the ride so much more fun.  They are world travelers and this was the second leg of their current vacation.  Morpha was always dressed stylishly and one day as we were talking and I discovered that she and Jay had travelled with only one suitcase for the both of them.  ONE SUITCASE for 2 weeks in Italy following their time in Spain.  I was amazed, impressed and in awe. She was my new hero! Mark and I had each packed a suitcase and we had a carry on style shoulder bag that contained all our miscellaneous items.  I had to find out how she did it.

Morpha says that the key is not to overdo it with clothes.  Early in their travels she packed a lot of items and brought half of them home unused.  Now she packs less items ensuring that they mix and match well and she utilizes pieces that can be hand washed and worn again.  She suggest rolling clothes for less wrinkles, going with lighter weight practical shoes that are good for walking and packing an extra lightweight bag for goodies you plan to bring home.  These are simple steps that can help you avoid shlepping around a lot of bulky, heavy luggage.

Although we will never be down to 1 combined suitcase, I am a much better packer since that trip.  In addition to the tips I have gotten from my friends, I research packing on Pinterest and other travel blogs.  There is a lot of great information available for you like Packing Lists, Capsule Wardrobe ideas, and suggestions for helpful items you may want to have for your trip.

My friend Cody suggests spending a little extra on some good quality travel wear and the right travel gear.  He says to invest in a good carry on backpack/bag that fits the requirements for budget airlines in order to save you money on luggage fees.   These savings eventually end up paying for the bag over time.  Purchase travel wear that is casual, antimicrobial, breathable, moisture wicking and quick drying.  As Morpha also mentioned, these items can be washed in a sink and dryed quickly if necessary therefore saving room in your luggage, and reducing fees for extra bags.

Some brands Cody recommends are Exofficio, Parana, Royal Robbins, Ice Breaker and Smart wool.  He says that although some of these items may seem a bit pricey to purchase, they are durable, multipurpose items and worth their weight in gold.  So spend a little up front on these items to save a lot over time.

If you are travelling to Europe, I reccomend getting a multi-voltage adapter.  You may want one that also doubles as a phone charging port.  Different European countries use different types of power plug styles.  Our adapter was a lifesaver during our trip.  I also packed an empty  flat duffel in our sundry bag in case we needed it to bring home any treasures we found.  I saved bubble wrap sheets prior to the trip and placed a few layers of them in the bottom of my suitcase before packing in my clothing.  This worked out great since I brought back 11 bottles of Italian wine and spirits.  I just rolled them with the bubble wrap, utilized some cardboard carriers and placed them between things in the suitcase on the the way home.  Everything made it home safely.


Another handy idea is using clear gallon bags for sorting items in your toiletry bag for quick use and to put any wet items in if you have to go quickly. Here is my suncare products that all fit in a snack size ziplock bag.

For our next trip I have planned my wardrobe to be very compact  and utilitarian with colors that mix and match easily.  I am taking a dual voltage travel steamer, which is a quick way to refresh tired, wrinkled, suitcase traveled clothes.

Travelon Anti-theft Crossbody Bag

A coworker had this great Travelon bag that she uses instead of a purse on vacation.  It is medium sized, very organized, has anti-theft closures and RFID blocking capabilities.  I put it on my Christmas wish list with the travel steamer and Santa hooked me up.

Travel Packing Tip:  Wear your bulkiest items on the plane to save room in your bags.


We did encounter some cool rain and wind in Venice in mid April and I was very glad to have packed a lightweight jacket and portable umbrella. Make sure to keep these types of handy items compact and not too heavy.

Windproof mini Travel Umbrella


Here is a link to a fun Post to read from Blog site:  Your Mileage May Vary 

Luggage Tags

I hope that my friends and I have provided some unseful travel tips for your next trip.  I have included some Amazon links to some  products that you might like that were discussed in this post.

Happy Travels!

Some links in this post are affiliate links, and I  may be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking the links. See About Me page for additional details.



Just an Art and History Nerd from MI Who Loves to Travel, Explore, Save Money, Share Tips, Enjoy the Best Foods & Adult Beverages🍷🥂🍸 Then Blog About It!