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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Packing for a Trip 101

I hate to pack! But as a self proclaimed queen of organization I have put into place a sort of "system" to help with the process. My husband and I are leaving on Sunday for an All-Inclusive paradise in Riviera Maya, Mexico for our 10 year Anniversary trip so it's time once again to stuff that suitcase! So, I thought I'd share with you some of the things I do to make this process more efficient and to ensure that I never forget anything! I always start my packing with toiletries and extras because I find that easier than packing clothes.

My process starts in the hall closet where I have pre-made travel baggies with all of our toiletries in them. I have them filled with the bare minimum products that we need all in smaller travel sized containers so we are always ready to go without a lot of fuss! And remember- you don't need to bring your whole beauty arsenal- let loose a little it is vacation after all!

We each have 2 baggies. One bag is for stuff you need inside the shower and the other is stuff you would use outside of the shower. This way you don't have to figure out what you need and carry it all into the shower. You just grab the right bag!

if you are traveling with a companion it is a good ides to color code your toiletries so there is no confusion. My bags have pink bottles in them and...

his has blue bottles in it so it's easy to know whose is whose.

 Consider packing products that do more than one thing. Like a shampoo plus conditioner combo, a cleanser that has exfoliating beads, a face moisturizer with SPF, use your body wash as a shave gel, a small eyeshadow quad with enough colors to get you through the week, and if you have someone traveling with you, instead of both bringing toothpaste just bring one (but please bring your own toothbrush!)

This is what is inside my in the shower bag:

 a razor
shampoo and conditioner
body wash
body lotion
and my HydroPeptide face cleanser which has exfoliating beads in it so I don't need to pack a separate exfoliator

This is what is inside my out of the shower bag:

(clockwise from the left)
Kenneth's Volume Infusion for my hair put into a travel sized spray bottle- I can make my hair curly or straight with this one amazing product thus saving space
Kenra 25 travel sized hair spray- voted best hair spray for the past 3 years
Secret Clinical travel sized deodorant- expensive as heck but totally worth it!
Always freshening wipes- also great to throw some of these in your carry on bag
travel hairbrush with a mirror from Sephora- who wants to lug their giant nasty hair brush all the way to Mexico? Not me!
bobby pins/ pony tail holder- they stay together when you hook the pins onto the elastic band
elastic headband- for when I wash my face
Sephora travel mirror- just in case I'm somewhere without a mirror
travel sized toothbrush/ toothpaste/ mouthwash- a small toothbrush saves a lot of space
HydroPeptide toner in a sample sized bottle- will also throw in some cotton pads to with this
HydroPeptide Power Lift and SPF samples- saves space because I don't have to pack the full sized bottles and risk my expensive beauty products get lost or ruined- Just ask your skin care provider- they are usually happy to give you a few samples of your products but don't try something new while on vacation just in case you have a bad reaction!

If you normally take vitamins and/or medications don't forget to pack them! You should also pack some medicines for those just-in-case scenarios. You never know when heartburn might flare up or when diarrhea might strike! Be ready to fight any ailment that might threaten to ruin your trip of a lifetime. I'm pretty sure you would rather remember what the beach looked like and not what the tile in the bathroom looked like! This doesn't have to take up a ton of space either. Take pills out of their boxes and write on a slip of paper the dosage amounts and put it all in a little plastic baggie.

I know I look like an old person with my giant pill case but it is actually really handy if you take a lot of vitamins everyday like me.
 Just-in-case medicines I pack:
Immodium or Pepto pills
heartburn pills and rolaids 
Lactaid dairy tolerance pills
Azo urinary tract infection pills
Advil Liquid Gels

You never know when something might come open during travel and ruin everything in your suitcase! Prevent this by simply putting all liquid products in a plastic bag. Remember, if you are carrying your luggage on the plane keep your containers of liquid under 3oz. in one quart sized bag!

I keep several running lists leading up to a trip including what to buy so I only make one trip to the store and I don't forget anything! I also keep a list of things I don't want to forget. I don't feel the need to write down every obvious thing I want to take but there are some things like phone chargers that I feel like I might forget. Lastly, I make a list of Things to do or take care of before we leave. These lists might be different for you though. Feel free to write down as much as you need to but write something down because nobody remembers everything!

I have found this to be important when traveling to the beach because you need something to tote your sunscreen and magazines from your room down to the pool or beach.  Consider using a beach bag as your carry on bag or packing a small collapsible tote that doesn't take up much room. It is especially nice to have an extra bag just in case you make some purchases while on vacation. In addition to a beach bag you should also bring a couple of extra trash bag type bags just in case you want to take a last minute dip before you leave and don't want to pack a wet suit. A plastic bag is also nice to have to separate your dirty clothes from your clean clothes.
Here is a nifty little bag that my clever mother-in-law got me for Christmas from World Market. It starts out about the size of a cell phone and unravels into a nice sized tote bag:

Instead of packing a phone, a GPS, an IPod, and a computer all I need to pack is my IPhone. It has everything I need! Many devices have multiple uses these days. 
Choose one paperback book to pack. Magazines and books can always be purchased at the airport. If you needs maps or directions from a book, print them out on a few pieces of paper.
You never know when your flight might get delayed or you get stuck somewhere that you don't have access to food. Always pack a few snacks just in case! I like to take things that don't take up much space like Goldfish crackers, energy bars and trail mix.

Hope this helps on your next trip! Happy travels everyone! Stay tuned for the clothing packing portion- gotta go finish packing!
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