How to Avoid Over Packing

Counting down the days to a vacation can feel exhilarating, but when it comes to packing for the trip, packing can feel like quite the chore. Most of us make a habit of throwing all of our belongings into our suitcase, forcing them to fit. Conversely, some of us know exactly what we need but tend to overpack anyway.

In either scenario, you’re not alone. Luckily, there is a way to avoid this common pitfall! Here are a few ways to help you avoid over packing for your next trip.

Walk Through the Must-Haves

First and foremost, you’ll want to walk through the items you absolutely cannot travel without. Before you start throwing things into your suitcase, simply create a list of the essentials. This should include daily hygiene products (i.e. toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, etc.) as well as any miscellaneous items that you need daily, (i.e. cellphone & charger, any daily medications, makeup, etc.).

Count Items by Day

Next, you’ll take a look at the number of days you’ll be on your vacation and begin to count how many apparel items you’ll need. For instance, if you’re going to be in Florida for five days, you’ll need 5 pairs of underwear, 5 shirts, 3 going out dresses, etc.

Make sure when you get to this step that you’re not including any extra items. Count out exactly what you’re going to need and limit your selection process for this first step. There will likely be room to improvise once you’re at the end of your packing journey. It’s always safe to include one extra outfit, just in case something you packed gets dirty or you just aren’t feeling the outfit you picked for that day.

Plan an Outfit for Every Single Day and Work Backwards

Once you’ve counted out everything you’ll need, you can start planning your actual outfits for those days. These will typically be weather dependent, and can even share pieces from other days (i.e. you can use the same pair of shorts for two separate outfits). Don’t forget to include one-off clothing items such as pajamas, swimsuits, and other items that you’ll need while on your trip.

Limit the “just in case” planning to a minimum. Assume that the weather will happen as reported and select your outfits accordingly.

Plan Your Travel Day Outfit

Whether traveling by car, plane, train, or any other mode of transportation, you should plan the outfit that you’ll wear on that day. It’s also good to consider the location you’re traveling from vs. the location you’re traveling to. If you’re traveling to Florida from Illinois, consider wearing layers to keep you warm during the climate change. This also eliminates the need to pack whatever layers you wear while traveling. Another pro-tip is to wear the bulkiest shoes you plan to pack, that way you’re not allocating too much space to them in your luggage.

Limit Your “Just in Case” Items

By this point of the packing process, you’ve packed everything that you’re going to need, and know exactly how much room you have left over, if any.

If you have leftover room in your suitcase, you can consider packing additional layers or clothing options to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the duration of your trip. Again, you won’t want to overdo this step as this is where most people go wrong and end up overpacking their bags.

Vacations are incredible but packing for them certainly isn’t. Rather than throwing everything you own into your suitcase, use these tips to help ensure that you don’t overdo it. Just think of all the leftover room you’ll have for souvenirs!


    1. Gene, we are so glad this could help you! We have one more tip – when packing, do it fast! That way, you’re grabbing the stuff you really want and not overthinking the whole process! – Think Glamor

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