How To Stop Overpacking For Vacation

By Kelley Boymer
27 Apr 2023
How To Stop Overpacking For Vacation
Photo by Caroline Selfors on Unsplash

I must admit. I’m an overpacker, and the packing part of going away has always caused we may too much stress. The online community was recently buzzing with discussions around this very issue, and I took note. For those of us who like to be prepared for every possible scenario, packing can be a nightmare!

There were some very useful tips and tricks to come out of the discussion, so it only felt right to share them with the rest of you. I used them on a recent short getaway, and my packing experience was so much less stressful (not to mention my suitcase much lighter). Don’t be that person pulling things out of your suitcase at check-in so your bag weighs less. Make your travel experience more enjoyable and streamlined with some of these helpful tips.

Here’s some advice for how to stop overpacking for vacation. We promise, you can do this! Looking for more travel tips? Check out How to Travel with a Toddler.

How To Stop Overpacking for Vacation

Start Planning Early

If you wait to pack until the night before or the morning of your trip, you are bound to feel stressed (and overpack). Imagine way too many mismatched tops and bottoms and nothing that actually goes together. Not ideal. You’re more likely to throw things in last minute that you don’t need because you aren’t in a good headspace

Plan for your trip early, so you can ensure you have everything you need in place for travel day. Lay out your outfits on your bed and try each one on. Consider weather, layering and activities that you will be doing while away.

One of our favorite tips is to create an “Evergreen Packing List” in the notes app on your phone and use it every time you travel. Make sure to keep your evergreen list specific and check off only the items you need for your trip. When you are done uncheck each item, so your list is ready to go for next time! Giving yourself enough time will help you avoid overpacking due to feeling rushed and distracted.

See our “Evergreen Packing List” at the bottom of this post.

Choose a Capsule Wardrobe

It was very clear from the seasoned travelers that choosing a capsule wardrobe is the best way to ensure a successful packing experience. Pack coordinating color schemes for trips that allow you to mix and match different pieces that go well together. Traveling somewhere with differentiating temperatures? Pack layers (sweaters, coats, hats, mittens) that are neutral or match with your color scheme.

For example, you could choose neutrals like creams, black, gray, brown and white or add some color with navy and green or red.

clothed hanging on rack

Designate an Outfit for Each Event

Designating a specific outfit for each event will help you stay focused and avoid overpacking. If you’re anything like me you start pairing things you like together and throwing them into your bag without thinking about what you will be doing while you’re away. If you know exactly what you’ll be doing each day while on vacation, pack in outfits versus independent items that may or may not pair well together.

It is really only necessary to bring 3 pairs of shoes along for any trip. Sneakers are essential for walking and exercising, your other two pairs of shoes will differ depending on your vacation. If you are going to the beach you will want a casual pair of flip flops or sandals that goes with everything and a specialty shoe that is dressier like a wedge or heel if you have a fancy event planned. If you are going on a cold or rainy weather vacation you may need specialty shoes like snow boots, rain boots or hiking boots for adventure. Try to bring only what you will need and wear.

Plan Outfits in Advance

Lay your outfits out on your bed and identify their coordinating event. You can take pictures of your outfits laid out, so when you arrive at your destination you remember exactly which outfits are meant for which events. This is where capsule wardrobes really help, and packing lighter means you can carry on luggage, so no matter how long you are traveling for you don’t have to deal with lost luggage or dragging around a massive heavy suitcase.

Try Everything On

This is a key step and one that I am making a regular part of my packing routine. It is so important to try on an outfit and see how it fits and looks, while also considering the event you plan to wear it. Make sure everything you’re packing is comfortable, you like how it looks and feels and you actually want to wear it. Trying everything on- including shoes, accessories and outerwear.

How To Stop Overpacking For Vacation
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Other Things to Consider

Something else to consider while traveling is if you will have the opportunity to do laundry. This can help to cut down on the amount of clothing you will need for longer vacations if you can do laundry. Remember, if you forget something essential, there’s a good chance wherever you are traveling has somewhere to get what you need.

Tips on Packing Your Suitcase

Once you have all your outfits, accessories, shoes and outerwear picked out and finalized, it’s time to pack your suitcase. If possible, choose a carry-on size that will be easy to manage while traveling. A combination of rolling and folding items is a great way to maximize your space. The key is to roll softer items like shirts and jeans and fold stiffer items like blazers and skirts (things that are more likely to wrinkle). Organize your items in your suitcase with rolled items at the bottom of the suitcase and folded items laying on top with alternating waist bands so as not to take up too much space. Packing cubes are also really helpful for keeping your suitcase organized!

Evergreen Packing List

evergreen packing list

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1 Comment

  1. It’s a complete list for a vacation. Useful information for me because I often forget something for each trip.

    5.3.23 | Reply

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