How To Pack In Less Than 10 Minutes

That last-minute scramble before every trip, trying to remember if you've packed everything you need is the worst part of any vacation. Whether you're well-traveled or planning your first trip, following these steps will change the way you pack - and change your life.

Make a Packing List

Before you even think about packing, take a few minutes to make a packing list. I use a Google Doc to easily update but paper and pen are just as good. 

Create a comprehensive list of essentials to streamline your packing process and prevent you from forgetting crucial items. Consider your trip activities and the local weather to generate a tailored list that covers all your needs. Make a general column and a day-by-day column so I can plan for any specific excursion needs or specialty items (like my travel fan).

Plus, you get the satisfaction of checking off items as you pack.

Keep Essentials Pre-Packed

Save time and hassle by pre-packing your toiletries and essentials in quart-sized transparent bags. Keep these bags stored in your luggage, and replenish them after each trip so you're always prepared for your next adventure. These items stay in the luggage all the time and are only used on trips. Here’s a list to get you started on stocking your essentials:

Quart-Size Baggies:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Shaving cream
  • Travel Face Wash
  • Face Lotion
  • Makeup remover
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair styling products

Essentials Bag:

  • Razor (travel-size versions exist!) 
  • Contact Case
  • Extra Contacts or Glasses
  • Makeup (mini versions of the basics)
  • OTC meds (if you’re over 25, pack some ibuprofen at a minimum)
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss 
  • Loofah
  • Tweezers
  • Perfume
  • Q tips
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Travel lint roller
  • Outlet adapter
  • Battery pack

No more last-minute dashes to the drugstore for TSA-approved liquids or frantic repacking at airport security.


Mix-and-Match Clothing

When it comes to clothing on vacation, less is more. Stick to a color palette (neutrals, blues and greens, warm tones, etc) for effortless styling. Think capsule wardrobe, or follow the "54321" packing rule for a long weekend trip, and add a few extra pieces for longer journeys. 

Choose versatile pieces that easily mix and match to maximize outfit options while minimizing the number of items you need to pack.

For example, a pair of denim shorts can be matched with several cute boutique tops and different accessories for totally unique outfits.

Jeans, pants, and most summer vacation dresses can be worn multiple times without needing to be washed, so pack strategically to make the most of your luggage space.

Even a flowy maxi dress can be transformed into a new look when worn under a cropped t-shirt or with a denim jacket.

Lay Everything Out Before Packing

Before you start packing things into your suitcase, take a moment to spread everything out in front of you. Lay out your pieces by outfits or group items for each day – it's like creating a little packing roadmap.

This step isn't just about visually organizing your stuff. It's about giving yourself a chance to really see what you've got. By having everything laid out, you can easily spot if you've forgotten something or if you've got way too many of one thing. 

And if you realize you're overpacking (we've all been there), this is your chance to pare down and prioritize.


Master the Art of The Roll

Keep your essentials bag(s) and large items like a hair curler or shoes on one side of your luggage. Stuff shoes with socks to save space and help them hold their structure. 

Roll durable clothes like jeans and tees to fit into crevices. When you’ve packed your suitcase about half full, flat pack delicate items like dresses to minimize wrinkles. Then top it off with more rolled pieces. This not only saves space but also keeps your clothes organized and wrinkle-free – saving you time now, and later.

Essentials Stay With You

Always keep your essentials in your carry-on. Lost luggage does happen. Your ID, wallet, contacts, medications, and any irreplaceable items should stay with you at all times. This can be a belt bag, a beach tote, or a small carry-on luggage, whatever works best for you. 

Packing In 10 Minutes Or Less

With these tips, you'll streamline the packing process and spend less time stressing and more time enjoying your travels. Once you've mastered the art of efficient packing, you'll wonder how you ever traveled without it.

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