Home » 7 Easy Travel Packing Tips for Any Vacation

View of the Vancouver Skyline You know that feeling when you book a vacation, start counting down and then suddenly two days before, you panic because you still haven’t started packing?


Packing can feel like the biggest chore when it comes to travel. I have this tendency to over pack and dread the process SO MUCH. I would procrastinate packing like crazy and it always led me just over stuffing my bag the night before.


I have been travelling pretty frequently in the past two years and despite the madness, found a way to make travel packing work for me! I’m excited to share these 7 easy travel packing tips with you! These tips help me stay organized and not go crazy packing for both short and long haul vacations!


Here are my 7 easy travel packing tips for any vacation:


Try to Avoid Procrastinating and Get Thinking

Walking along the Vancouver skyline before travel packing


One of the best packing tips for traveling I can give you (and the hardest) is to not procrastinate!


I’m guilty of starting my packing 12-24 hours before but I always find that it stresses me out more than it needs to. Actually, packing alone stresses me out.


If you pull out your suitcase about 1 week before you take off and start throwing items in day by day, it makes packing easier. But, I can’t because I usually need a lot of the items that I plan on packing.


I suppose by starting earlier, you have the luxury to take your time and allow yourself to do a little bit everyday.


When I was packing for my trip to Hawaii , where all the items were relatively tinier because of the tropical weather, it was much easier. I prefer packing for tropical destinations as I can usually keep everything within a carry on.

For my trip to Los Angeles though, I checked in my bags but ended up over packing!


Keep in mind things like clothes and accessories can be packed earlier!


Though I can’t start putting items into my suitcase a week ahead, I do create a checklist on my cell phone and start planning and piecing together my outfits. I like taking photos while travelling and so I usually pack more than the regular person for travel. Hence why, planning ahead and not leaving it for the day before is so important.


When you give yourself time to put some real thought in it, it’s less likely you’ll over pack or forget something important!


Pick Your Luggage Type


If you’re only going on a quick weekend getaway, you probably don’t need your giant, 4 wheel suitcase. Pick your luggage type based on where you are headed and how long you will be gone for.


I like to say anything that is less than 4 days usually just needs a carry-on, like when I went to Seattle for a one day trip!


Try to choose your luggage type depending on how your check list looks like! For shorter trips, use a carry on and 1 personal item if you’re flying. For longer haul trips, it would depend on how much clothing you’d be packing and for what season.


This will prevent you from over packing and save you that pesky checked luggage fee. Also side note, can you believe we need to pay to check ONE baggage in?


Here are a couple travel luggage options:

Fresh Flowers to keep me motivated while travel packing

Duffel or Weekender Bag


Sometimes I prefer traveling with my duffel or weekender bag for quick weekend trips up to Whistler, or even to the island. It seems like too much to bring a full suitcase but a duffel or weekender still allows me to pack all my clothes while saving a bit of room in the car with something that can easily be tossed in the back. My car is basically a second wardrobe. Some of these bags even come with wheels now! Lots of room with lots of flexibility. I love this floral duffel bag, it’s affordable too: HERE


Travel Backpack

My favourite travel backpack is my Herschel Tropical print one that I bought in Hawaii!

This is for all my adventurers out there! You can roll up clothing and fit so much in that backpack!


If you are planning to go for a long haul trip like Southeast Asia for a month, a travel or camping backpack might be your best bet. It is easy to throw onto a plane, train or bus and gives you lots of compartments to organize your stuff. The Herschel backpack doesn’t have too many separate compartments but it’s large enough to put smaller packs to separate your items. It also has a compartment for your laptop!


It’s super easy to travel with and feels less bulky than a suitcase. It’s usually my second carry-on that I call a personal item, and just put my purse or fanny pack in there. Fanny packs are coming back in style guys- rejoice! 


The downside is that you’ll probably have to organize your clothes and items differently since you won’t be able to open up the whole backpack to find the items you are looking for. I usually place the clothing and items I won’t reach for at the bottom and then keep my light jacket, snacks and chargers at the very top!


The backpack is a great option for those who are constantly on the go.


Clickable links: 


Classic Luggage – Roller Luggage for Carry On and Check In


I personally go for the hard shell luggages because they are much more durable and they protect my items better. I used to use soft shell luggages but love my baby pink Herschel pink luggage set! 


Many airlines these days are pretty rough with bags so I’d rather make sure my items are safe. I love using luggage because it’s easy on my back and it gives me the easiest way to repack my items during my trip. I love being able to layout my items and see all the clothes I’ve brought.


My favourite luggages have always been the one with 4 wheels. Being able to easily move across the airport in a rush is the best feeling. Trust me, always invest in the 4 wheels.


Clickable links: 


Make a Packing List


During Vlogmas last year, I filmed a video for packing for short haul trips and these have some of the tips I listed here :


Creating a packing list for you trip based on the destination!


Your list will change drastically depending on if you’re jetting off for a girl’s trip to a tropical destination or backpacking across Southeast Asia. So, make sure your travel packing list is relevant.


When I start my packing list, I usually write down everything that I know is an essential for travel. Items like undies, socks, bathing suits, toothbrushes etc. are going to be things you’ll need to bring regardless. This is a great starting place and then you can start adding your tops, pants and other important after. If you have a hard time figuring out how much of each item to bring, a good rule of thumb is think about how many days you’ll be gone, what activities/events you will do and then what you can re-wear!


If you aren’t great at making a list, there are lots of packing apps and a special Ultimate Travel Packing List I created by that you can download by signing up for my Samsational Mailing List! 


Check the Weather Before you Leave

Walking through the Vancouver Skyline before travel packing

I have made this mistake many times. When I don’t check the weather of my destination, I usually assume a normally warm place would be warm when I arrive! Sometimes this is not the case. My last trip to LA did have a little bit of chilly and rainy weather which I wasn’t prepared for.


The weather may not always be accurate but it can give you a good idea of what outfits to bring and ensure you stay warm or cool on your trip. I will always bring a light jacket on most of my trips just in case. You don’t want to be running around trying to purchase a cute jacket when you’re supposed to be relaxing on vacation!


Invest in Some Packing Cubes


This is my BEST packing tip for traveling anywhere in the world. Packing cubes help me keep all my outfits organized and help prevent me from over packing. Packing cubes are usually mesh or cloth cubes with zippers that come in a variety of sizes. They include sizes for shoes, pants, big jackets, socks etc.


You can use packing cubes to organize socks and underwear from my tops and bottoms. It makes packing easier because you can visually see how much you should be bringing. Most packing cubes fit perfectly into suitcases. Basically, a game of Jenga. And a bonus, it makes things easier to find when you separate your clothes! You can also separate the cubes into different outfit choices!


** You’ll be able to click on the category links below to some of my cube picks!


Here is how  you can separate your cubes:

Enjoying the Vancouver sun before I start travel packing

My Staples Cube: 


This cube is all the staple items you need for sure. Items like socks, underwear, undergarments, and bathing suits. You can use the smallest size packing cube for these items since they will all fit. You can also add flexible items and accessories in here too like scarves and gloves and hats.


My Tops and Dresses Cube:


The 2nd largest cube usually works perfectly for these items. Place your tops and dresses, and roll them to save space and carefully pack these together. This way, I know that all my tops and one piece outfits are all together. It makes for pairing outfits and find items really easy.


My Bottoms and Big Items:


The largest size is where I like to keep all my pants and larger items like blazers, sweaters and jackets. Pants and jackets take up the most room so naturally, house them in the large sized cube.


Toiletries and Makeup Bag:


Not all packing cube sets will come with a toiletries bag but I highly recommend buying a 4 pocket style one with a hook to hang up in your bathroom. With multiple compartments, you can separate your makeup from your shampoo and toothbrush. I love my hanging bag (a gift from Pixi Beauty) because the clear pockets make it easy to find the things I need right away.


Shoe Bag:


Invest in some shoe bags if they don’t come in your set! It’s this easy zippered bag specifically for your shoes. I reuse plastic bags I have from grocery shopping! It keeps the rest of your clothes clean from the dirt that can track in on the bottom of your shoes and I like that it keeps all my items separate. If you don’t have a shoe bag, a shower cap to wrap the bottoms in works great too.


Pack Your Clothes by Rolling, not Folding

Fresh flowers to motivate me during travel packing

After watching Marie Kondo fold all her clothes into 3 or roll up her clothes, I realized this is also a great way to pack! It saves space instead of folding the traditional way and it’s easier to manipulate when putting in into my packing cubes. With all the clothes rolled upright, you can also see all your items without having to empty your entire suitcase. I practiced this tip and more when I went to Hawaii last year!

Plan Out Your Carry-On Items


Check out your travel carrier’s carry on allowances. I always try to plan ahead with the bags I bring with me. Bringing a small pursue might be helpful for the trip itself, but it wastes a personal item for the carry on because you can’t fit much into a small purse. I usually will pack a small pursue into a backpack that I carry on or in my luggage and opt for a tote instead for the plane. Not only can I throw in more items in a tote but I can also throw in my an extra sweater for the plane if it gets cold and even spare clothes and personal items in case my luggage gets lost. Always keep your travel documents with you because you never know what could happen!


After honing in on these tips, I’ve started to be less anxious about packing. It doesn’t have to be a big chore and following these tips has also helped on my way back!


Don’t forget to sign up for my Samsational Mailing List at the bottom of this page for your FREE Ultimate Travel Packing List!



Until next time,


xoxo Sam


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