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Packing Tips - How I Use The Packing List

You might be reading the title thinking, "Really? You're going to show me how to pack?" Yes...yes I am. It's come to my attention that I'm perhaps not in the norm when it comes to the way I pack. Now, people have lots of different packing styles; some throw a bag together the night before, some are super detailed, some start packing weeks in advance, and some pack a little and buy when they get to their destination. Whatever your style may be, I think packing is generally thought to be pretty annoying, but of course, necessary task when traveling.

I don't want to jinx myself but since using this method (probably for a few years now) I can't remember one time where I forgot something. I also have felt much more relaxed and prepared when heading out on my travels.

So let's get into it.


Give yourself enough time. Start at least a week before. I know, I know. Trust me here. We need to do a little prep work before we can really hit the ground running.

First things first, where are you going? Do a little research and figure out what the weather will be like. Don't forget to think about how the temperature might change from day to night as well. Then count how many days you'll be gone.

Using my Honeymoon as an example, we're gone for 17 days (including travel days). It will take us about 16 hours and two flights to get to Greece.

Now, list out (as much as possible) all of the events or activities you'll take part in. You may know your itinerary down to every hour or you may be a bit more flexible. Include any special events that may be happening during your trip too.

DAY 1: Travel

DAY 2: Arrive in Athens (at night)

Day 3: Site-seeing in Athens (Acropolis & Museum)

Day 4: Ferry to Santorini, Check in to hotel, walk around

Day 5: Hike Caldera Path from Fira to Oia, Atlantis Bookstore

Day 6: Wine Tour

Day 7: Boat Tour

Day 8: Site-seeing (Akotiri ruins & Red Beach)

Day 9: Ferry to Ios, Explore

Day 10: Beach Day

Day 11: Beach Day

Day 12: Ferry to Mykonos

Day 13: Site-Seeing (Paraportiani Church, Temple of Dionysus, & Terrace of the Lions)

Day 14: Beach Day

Day 15: Ferry back to Athens

Day 16: Fly out (noon)

Day 17: Arrive home

As part of the prep, I also will think about the overall vibe of the trip. Is it a relaxed weekend? Fancy Wedding? Girls Trip? Romantic Honeymoon? Buttoned up work trip? Is it classic? Edgy? Spiritual and boho? All of this plays into the packing process and what i'll bring on the trip.


So, here's where I differ from a lot of people. I'm an outfit packer, meaning instead of counting the days and saying I need X number of tops and bottoms, I plan out each and every outfit for every event or activity possible.

Taking a look at my itinerary, here's what I need:

2 comfy airplane outfits

2-3 bathing suits & coverups

13 regular outfits

+ a few options to change into for dinners

2 fancy dinner outfits


I'll be doing lots of walking so I'll want comfy clothes and shoes. It is expected to be warm during the day but can cool off at night s I'll need a few layering pieces too.

13 outfits may sound like a lot, and it could very easily get out of hand. However, with the amount of moving around we'll be doing I'll want to pack light. I've shown it before in The Edited Wardrobe, but I love using the outfit sudoku printable when I have to pack efficiently. The sudoku grid makes up to 15 outfits using only 16 pieces (even less if you repeat the same shoes & accessories over again). I use this method to come up with the majority of my outfits, then I add pieces as I see fit. Using this method, I avoid overpacking and I also ensure that all of my pieces go together.

I should note that with this method you have to be okay with wearing your pieces a few times. For instance, the pieces in the 4 center squares are the most important and need to be the most versatile. At most, you'll wear these pieces up to 5 times. Because of this, I might throw in 1 or 2 extra tops to swap out if I need.

To get your own printable packing list and outfit planner click here.


You don't have to run out and spend money on packing cubes that are supposed to revolutionize the way you pack, but I do recommend compartmentalizing. I keep all my toiletries in one bag, my makeup and brushes in another, electronics has one space, and underthings like bras, underwear and socks is kept in one bag.

Using my outfitplanner and the packing list I'll gather all of the items I need and start filling and organizng my suitcase. A few more tips:

  • Roll, don't fold.

  • Leave extra space in case you want to bring something back.

  • Pack your essentials in your carry on and even include a change of clothes just in case your checked luggage gets lost.

  • Carry your odd or hard to pack items with you. Bringing a hat? Wear it rather than stuffing it in your suitcase and risking it getting warped or misshapen.

  • Bring a small "laundry bag" so you're not sorting through a mix of dirty and clean clothes when you're getting dressed.


Now that you've done all the work to plan your outfits, don't forget to pack the outfit planner with you! I put these pages in my planner, which goes with me everywhere. Having a list or a visual represenation of your outfits makes getting ready each day super easy so you have even more time to get out there and explore the amazing place you find yourself in! That's what it's all about, isn't it?

So there you go, That's the process I follow when I'm going on a trip. I hope you found it helpful!

Let me know in the comments

What one packing tip has changed the way you pack forever?

Shop the printable packing list and outfit planner here.





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