I’m a strange bird. One of my greatest pleasures is packing for a vacation. I completely love the whole organizing and planning process. Before Ashton and I built our house, we went on out-of-town adventures nearly every weekend. It was during that time I simplified the packing process to make it quick and painless. Organization is the key! Although we don’t do weekend trips often, we always make sure that we have a cruise booked. Cruising will always be my favorite thing! I’ve complied a list of steps that help me pack for our cruises. I think I have probably used this packing process since the third grade. I’m pretty sure I need therapy. Or Compulsive Planners Anonymous.
These are the steps I take when planning for a cruise….
1. Plan Your Itinerary– I don’t plan every second of every adventure….there is a part of me that is a little free-spirited. However, I make sure that I do have a general idea of each day’s activities. I write the activities on paper. Because I always have a million other things that take up space in my brain, I have to be able to see my plan. And, because I’m an elementary art teacher, I decorate. There are always markers within reach and I love having third-grade flash backs. This list below is the one I created in preparation of our upcoming cruise.
2. Plan Clothes to Match Your Itinerary- Now that you have your itinerary, decide which outfits are the most suitable for each activity. This is the part that requires the most time! Usually, as early as a month before our cruise, I try on all of the outfits, including shoes and accessories. This allows me time to acquire anything that I might need to purchase. I try my best to choose things that won’t require ironing and comfort is a must! When I chose cruise clothing, I try to pick pieces that have more of a festive feeling. It’s just me….I’d always rather err on the non-slouchy side. Besides, for me, a cruise is a great excuse to wear some of the clothes that I never wear around the house. Note: When packing, it is best to sip a tasty beverage while listening to island music. It gets you in the vaca mood!
3. Edit-This is something in which I will dedicate an entire future post. Editing is tricky. Simply stated, edit your clothing so that you are not over-packing. The worst thing about packing is unpacking after a vacation. Try to pack multipurpose shoes, clothes, and jewelry. Be on the lookout for an editing post soon!
4. Take Photos- After you have decided on what to pack, take a picture of each outfit. This takes only an extra second and is is especially helpful if you are planning your clothes early. When I get ready to put the clothes in suitcases, I use the pictures as my guide.
5. Pack Your Hanging Clothes- My large garment bag has been a great investment. I chose an inexpensive one with rollers and a handle. My clothes rarely wrinkle and as I unpack, I just transfer them into the closet, while still on their hangers. When hanging the clothes, I use the wire hangers from the dry cleaner. Usually, I despise wire hangers. However, in this case, they are lightweight and fit better inside of the snappy things in the garment bag. Paper clips from an office supply store work great for securing clothes onto the hangers. My beaded dresses are placed into dry cleaning bags. This prevents snags. (FYI….packing with a cat is a battle! I’m pretty sure my black dress is now missing some of it’s beads.) I decided to pack some of my hanging things in a separate, lighter garment bag for the first nights we spend in hotels. By doing this, I avoid lugging my large garment bag into the hotel, except for the last night. Then, I’ll easily repack the things I plan to take with me, leaving behind the things I won’t take. As we say in elementary school, “Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy”.
The rolling garment back can be found here. *affiliate link*
The medium black binder clips can be found here. *affiliate link*
6. Pack the non-hanging items. In the past, this has been a big problem for me. Before, everything I folded would fall to the wheel side of the suitcase. On this trip, I purchased packing cubes for my non-hanging items. What is a packing cube? Why, it’s the best invention ever! I separate my non-hanging clothes into categories. The items in each category get rolled and placed into the cube. For example, I put all of my workout clothes together in a cube. Swimsuits and cover-ups get their own cube, as well as underwear and pajamas. When I arrive at my destination, or pre-destination, these cubes make finding what I need a snap! So go ahead, packing cubes. I dare you to roll around in my suitcase, making a mess of all of my clothes!
The packing cubes can be found here. *affiliate link*
7. Pack Accessories- Accessories get their own packing cube, too. I place all like items together and bag them up separately. I always pack my makeup, accessories, a pair of flats, and important documents in my carry-on so that there is no chance of them being lost. I received this fantastic Diane Von Furstenberg carry-on for my birthday. You’d better believe it will not leave my side!
The Diane Von Furstenberg carry-on can be found here. *affiliate link*
8. Pack miscellaneous items- There are always a ton of random things that go onto the boat with me. I am forever one of those “be prepared” people. I received this super-cute packing list in one of my subscriptions boxes. This helps me to note anything last-minute that I need to pack. To make all of these random things easier to find, I pack them in separate bags according to the category. Hair tools and styling products go into one bag, with an extension cord, outlet extender, and mirror. All shower items go into a waterproof bag. Makeup goes into a hanging bag. Everything else that won’t fit into a category goes into a different bag. Placing things into their own bags makes things super easy to find when I need them!
This is a similar packing list, found here, by the same manufacturer.
A lot of serious effort goes into packing. Once I’ve done the initial planning, packing is fun because it heightens the anticipation of the trip. Unpacking, however, is zero fun. I am sure that when I pack to return home, items will be crammed haphazardly into the suitcase as always. It will take me about five minutes to pack, as I always want to savor every last second on the ship. Then, once home, all of the suitcases will be dumped onto the middle of the closet floor until I am over the end-of-vacation depression.
Do you have any packing tips you’d like to share? If so, please comment below. I’m always looking to hone my packing skills!