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How to Organize & Pack Like a Pro While Planning a Trip This Summer

Planning a Trip

Are you planning a trip this summer?

People are getting vaccinated and the world is finally opening up again. This means that most people are longing for an adventure.

Whether you choose to explore your own backyard with a domestic road trip or you are planning to wander further afield on an international trip, you need to get organized.

Planning a trip is fun, but getting organized and packing can be time-consuming. Unless you’re a seasoned traveler, this part of the experience doesn’t come naturally.

Without a plan and a well-packed suitcase, your trip may be more stressful than enjoyable. And you don’t want that. Prepare for your summer vacation like a pro by being organized and packing like a travel expert.

Trust me, the experience will be much more fun when you know you’ve packed everything you need and didn’t forget anything essential.

Use this guide to help you as you plan your trip for this summer. It’s time to safely get out of our homes and see the world again!

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.

Types of Vacations

Planning a Trip

You can literally plan any type of vacation during the summer and you know it will be a hit. Warm weather and sunny skies mean that it’s the ideal time to be out and about. You can wander abroad, hit the open road for a road trip, go hiking in the mountains, or just lounge about at the hotel pool or beach. The bottom line is, you’re guaranteed a great time.

If you’re planning a trip but unsure of what type of vacation to go on, I’ve got you covered. Here are some different types of vacations you can go on this summer:

  • City Vacation – if you live in the countryside or a rural area, then you may be tempted to head to a big city (local or international) such as New York, Rome, or Paris. Cities offer plenty of activities, attractions, historical sights, restaurants, and more for you to enjoy.
  • Beach Holiday – a beach holiday is the iconic type of summer vacation. Opt for a beach destination where you can spend your days sunbathing, swimming, reading, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, sleeping, and sipping cocktails while enjoying the fresh sea breeze.
  • Resort Vacation – a resort is an ultimate getaway for the family as there is usually plenty for everyone to do. Adults can lounge by the pool or indulge in a pampering massage while the kids enjoy the water park and other fun activities.
  • Cruise – the all-inclusive nature of a cruise means it’s similar to the resort vacation, except that you’re out at sea for an extended period of time. There are numerous different cruises to choose from such as Disney cruises, adults-only cruises, river cruises, and more. Most include tons of entertainment as well as excursions.
  • Road Trip – an adventurous way to travel around your own country or even to explore a foreign country. This a terrific way to see the sights of any destination or to explore multiple destinations on one trip in a spontaneous or planned manner.
  • International Trip – chances are, you haven’t left the country in over a year and are eager to explore a foreign destination. Head to any of the many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, to enjoy the summer in a new and exciting destination.

NB. There are still areas and countries that are off-limits (each country has its own guidelines). Therefore, it’s always smart to check with your local travel council before booking a trip.

If you’re planning a trip this summer, choose one or more of these types of vacations. Then, use the genius tips below to plan, organize and pack for your trip like an expert traveler. Although it’s safer to travel again, make sure to adhere to safety guidelines and restrictions issued by the state or country you’ll be visiting.

Take 90 Seconds for Safer Travel

Before planning a trip; especially abroad, check the Travel Advisories for that particular destination. This color-coded map of the world gives you an indication of risks for each country. Note, that the state of each country can change suddenly at any time, so it’s important to keep track of this throughout your planning stages and even during your trip.

Although it is safe to travel internationally to certain destinations, conditions vary widely across locations. Because of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, it is advised that you exercise caution when traveling abroad. These country-specific pages will assist you in making an informed decision about travel.

Tips for Planning a Trip

Planning a Trip

Planning a trip is such fun, but it can also be stressful if you don’t know how to plan effectively. Ideally, you want to plan a trip that fits your budget and you want to make the actual journey run smoother. 

Here are some ideas to help you save money and get through customs with your sanity in check:

  • Use a private window or Incognito mode when booking flights and hotels online. Travel sites such as Skyscanner often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you’ve visited before. You could even use a VPN to hide your location which ensures that you get the best prices for your preferred flight or hotel stay.
  • Apply for global entry – this speeds up the process of getting through customs significantly and comes with TSA Pre-check. Truly life-changing.

Organizing Tips

Being organized is essential for traveling; especially for international trips. So, if you’re planning a trip, you’ll want to keep the following organizing tips in mind:

The Basics (what to wear & bring):

  • Choose one simple color scheme for your trip to easily mix and match your clothing and accessories.
  • Avoid wearing too much jewelry during your journey; especially a long-haul flight.
  • Bring a simple makeup routine – use this handy Trish McEvoy Makeup Planner to store your makeup safely during travel.
  • Pack one pair of very comfortable shoes for walking and one pair of flats.
  • Think double duty such as a  sarong that can also be worn as a skirt or dress. A pool bag that will work as a day bag for sightseeing.
  • A fanny pack is a lifesaver. It leaves your hands free and it’s lightweight.
  • Don’t forget a lightweight poncho or umbrella.
  • Your hair is your accessory. Wash your hair in the morning and wrap it in a bun on top of your head. By dinner time you’ll have beautiful waves framing your face.
  • For carry-on liquids, creams, and pills: get leak-proof travel tubes that come in 1 oz to 3 oz sizes and label them. They are easy to fill, squeeze, and clean. Use a plastic quart-size Ziploc bag with the pleat in the bottom so you have extra space for liquid toiletries.
  • If you go to Europe or another area with a different plug/electrical voltage, buy a travel-size hair dryer/flat iron there because you can’t use a converter easily.   
  • It’s useful to get one universal converter with room for 2 electrical plugs and 2 USB slots. Also, have AC adaptors with changeable plugs. But if you’re just carrying one phone and one device, you can just carry a small AC-USB for that country. 
  • Having one really long cord to go from the adaptor to your device is super helpful so you can keep the phone by the bed even if the outlet is far. 
  • Keep loose chargers and cables organized in an eyeglass case or a Ziploc bag.

Tips for Packing

Planning a Trip

Packing is the part of traveling that most of us despise. But it doesn’t need to be a problem. Learning how to pack well will make all the difference. Here are some clever ideas for packing your suitcase before a trip.

  • Use zippered packing containers. They are great for organizing different items. I like that you can pull them in and out of your suitcase and on a two or three-day trip you don’t even have to unpack. 
  • I fold almost everything I can in packing cubes. If you have clothes that need to be folded, use tissue paper to keep them from wrinkling. You can also roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.
  • You can also pack hanging items on hangers by putting them in thin garment bags and folding them into your suitcase.
  • Disposable lint remover sheets, bounce sheets (removes static if rubbed on clothes and clothes smell fresh), clothing tape (if hem falls, shirt opens and shows bra) are all super handy and should be packed into your suitcase.
  • Put pre-moistened makeup remover towelettes in one Ziploc bag and baby wet wipes in another Ziploc bag – good items to have in order to freshen up on the plane or between meetings and it doesn’t count as a liquid.
  • Bring toothbrush/toothpaste and dental floss/picks for the plane and between meetings or appointments to keep your mouth fresh.
  • Pack alcohol pads to wipe down all surfaces on airplanes you might touch. This is the only proven method to decrease your risk of getting sick from the plane. 
  • Get a silk eye mask to sleep on the plane. It has a soft lingerie strap that doesn’t make a line in your hair, the silk doesn’t line your face.
  • Use a pill container to keep jewelry organized. Snaking a necklace chain through a cut-up straw will keep it from tangling.
  • Put socks and underwear inside your shoes when you pack to save space.
  • Use sample size beauty creams that come with your purchases. Perfect travel-size. Tip: Prick packet with a pin so only a very small amount is released at a time.
  • Use a binder clip to protect the head of shaving razors.
  • A disposable shower cap is an easy way to cover the bottoms of shoes.
  • Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.
  • Keep hair clips in place with an empty Tic Tac container.

CDC Travel Guidelines

As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Here are some safety guidelines direct from the CDC to follow if you’re planning a trip this summer:

CDC recommends delaying travel until you are able to get fully vaccinated. If you are traveling with children who cannot get vaccinated at this time, follow recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose the safer travel options described below:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60%) alcohol.

During Domestic or International Travel

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth at all times in crowded areas and during transit on a plane, bus, or train.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations and requirements, including mask-wearing and social distancing for the duration of your trip.

After Domestic or International Travel

  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

If you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months, you do not need to get tested or self-quarantine after a domestic or international trip. However, monitor yourself and take the necessary precautions should any symptoms arise.

Unvaccinated individuals should preferably not be planning a trip but if you do travel, get tested with a viral test about 3-5 days after travel and stay home in self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.

Summary

We’ve been staying at home for far too long for our safety and the safety of others which means we’re all eager to travel again. 

So, if you’re planning a trip this summer, make sure it’s unforgettable by being prepared. Getting organized and packing well is essential to ensure an enjoyable for all involved.

Use this guide and all the helpful tips to help you get ready for your summer vacation!

Are you planning a trip this summer?

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Comments 12

  1. All of these tips are great to remember. Your packing tips are spot on. I had never thought to put a pin hole in those sample packs. I always mangle them and then the sample of the product comes gushing out – Oops! Your other tip of covering a razor with a binder clip is also terrific! It’s these small tips which make packing and traveling so much more pleasant and easy.

    1. Diane,

      A pinhole in the sample pack is the brainchild of a cosmetician that I know. I love that tip as well.
      I find that with travel razors the protective plastic covering falls off and I lose it. If I’m in a hurry and can’t put my hands on a clean binder clip, I’ll use tissue or a paper towel.

  2. I am planning a trip this summer with my hubby and due to age, mobility issues, and illness concerns there is a lot to take into consideration. But we are excited to go to this family reunion at a cabin in Montana so your tips are very helpful!

    1. Jonda,

      I’m excited for your upcoming vacation. I always suggest taking a list of prescriptions and copies of the scripts with you. Prescriptions and other essentials are items that I carry on the flight with me.

      Have fun!

    1. Thank you, Hazel. It’s important these days to keep up with our local guidelines and guidelines when traveling to other countries. I think I should take stock in alcohol wipes because I bring a lot of those with me.

  3. What excellent tips for making vacation travel less stressful. The more prepared we are, the more we’ll enjoy the time away.

    We have a bunch of mini-vacations this summer. All of them are road trips. We’re not ready to get on a plane yet for domestic or international travel. And it’s also a bit easier to pack when you’re driving because you can bring some extras. A few things that are travel “musts” for me are the packing/to-do list and the travel cubes. I think my Aunt Ruthy gave me my first travel cubes over 10 years ago, and they are the best invention ever! I like using a mini one for my socks and undies instead of packing them in my shoes. They stay cleaner that way. In addition, when I unpack on the travel destination end, I use the travel cubes as drawer organizers. I unzip them, fold back the top, and then I can access the various groups of clothes more easily. If I have to live out of my suitcase, the cubes also work well that way too.

    1. Linda,

      I do like putting socks in my shoes when luggage space is tight. (It also holds the shape of my shoes.)

      I Also fold almost everything I can in packing cubes. I use zippered packing cubes or containers. They are great for organizing different items. I like that you can pull them in and out of your suitcase and on a two or three-day trip, you don’t even have to unpack.

      I agree that road trips are a bit easier as you have more flexibility. You don’t have to go through that dreaded weighing your luggage. It’s bad enough having to go through that at home!

  4. This is a stellar post. I consider myself an experienced traveler (both domestically and internationally), but I loved seeing the depth and breadth of your coverage, from the pleated-bottom zip-lock baggies to using a VPN in incognito window to get the best travel rates.

    1. Julie,

      I must admit that I learned so much through trial and error. I always thought about organization when I traveled. If I heard a great tip from a friend, colleague, or flight attendant, I put it into action.

      Years ago, I did an enormous amount of business travel. I learned priceless travel tips then too. So, why not share the helpful experience?

  5. I am counting the days until I can pack my bags for a long-term trip. I just went away with my husband for a few days to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the Lake (wine country here in Ontario) and had a marvelous time. I admit the crowds were small so we did appreciate that! Great travel tips Ronni – as always.

    1. Margarita,
      That’s a great compliment, especially coming from you. You are the travel guru and I love your posts on your travel explorations!

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