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How I pack for vacation in under 10 minutes

I used to HATE packing for trips. Not only was I sure to forget something (pajamas- dang I can’t even tell you how many sleepovers I had when I was little where I forgot my pajamas), but the whole mess of going through your face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and on and on and on, was SO exhausting! You gotta find those stupid tiny bottles, or risk your entire bottle exploding in your bag, and then what do you do with them? Just throw them in with your clothes? Try and find a makeup bag big enough for them (don’t even get me started on those “sleek and convenient roll-up bags”– you literally put one thing in the upper pockets and they won’t roll up nicely anymore! Good luck trying to get it closed). All in all, it’s a HUGE pain.

Which is why I streamlined my packing program! I figured, why am I packing all this stuff over and over again, when I bring the same stuff every time? Time to make my go-bag (also, is super helpful for soon-to-be-moms. No need to worry about forgetting something in your rush to the hospital, just grab your toiletry bag, and you’re good to go!)

To start with, grab a couple bags. Doesn’t have to be fancy, heck, doesn’t even have to be a real bag- grab a big ziplock. Just something to throw everything in. This is what I bought, mostly cuz I’m a little particular about stupid things, and Vera Bradley was having a great sale at their outlet store one time.


Here’s my main toiletry bag- it has pretty much everything I need to stay clean for a good week or so, maybe longer. Here’s what I have in here:

  • Facewash
  • Face Lotion
  • Facial exfoliating pads (I use these, and put a couple in a small Container Store jar thing)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Shaving Cream
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (I ran out on my last trip, and haven’t replaced it yet)
  • Q-Tips
  • Wet Wipes (cuz, ya never know…)
  • Tide to go pen
  • Shout wipes
  • Band-aids
  • Dry Shampoo (again, I ran out last trip, and haven’t gotten more yet)

While you’re getting this ready, take note of what you use everyday, or semi-regularly, and start making a list. Then go to Bed Bath and Beyond (seriously, they have a travel size version of pretty much everything- it’s amazing), but if they don’t have what you need, just grab a reusable to-go container. I got these at Walmart, and I love them- they seem pretty sturdy, don’t leak (at least they don’t in the tests that I’ve done. Haven’t flown with them yet, but I’ll let you know if I do), plus they come in fun colors. Just make sure you label them, or create a color coded cheat sheet (blue is soap, pink is lotion), cuz mixing up conditioner and face lotion wouldn’t be too good.

Some other things you can include in here are:

  • Birth control/condoms
  • Tampons (I usually keep mine in here, but it was getting pretty scrunched, so I moved them to my makeup bag)
  • Hair Mousse/detangling spray
  • Hair ties/headbands (I keep these in my jewelry bag)
  • Makeup removing wipes
  • Medication (regular pills, Tylenol, ibuprofen, tums, whatever you might use while away)
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Neosporin (my husband, a nurse, is adamant on putting Neosporin on EVERY cut. it’s ridiculous. and so cute)
  • Hair brush
  • Cotton balls
  • Fingernail polish remover

Basically, think of the worst thing that could realistically happen (or if you’re my husband, the worst thing that could ever happen in the history of the world) and whatever you would need to feel comfortable, pack that.

I also got a separate makeup bag, that I don’t pack ahead of time. Mostly because I’m too cheap to buy double of everything, plus I change my foundation quite regularly (still looking for the perfect fit for me), and I pack that while I’m packing all my clothes.

Here’s the bag I use for my underwear, since the weekender bag I usually bring everywhere doesn’t have many pockets. It’s actually a lunch bag, but it matches all my other bags, and does the job just as well- prevents my underwear from getting mixed up with everything else, so I didn’t have to fish around in my weekender hoping I come up with a clean pair.

And my jewelry bag. I love this little thing. Has little pockets for everything, so your necklaces don’t come out all tangled up and you can’t wear them anyway, and you don’t have to go searching through a pile of jewelry looking for the other earring. It also has a couple bigger pockets where you can keep larger jewelry.

I’m realizing as I write this post, that a lot of the bags I use are out of production at Vera Bradley, but they do have some fun new options for the jewelry bag and the toiletry bag that I use, and LOTS of other fun stuff. If it’s out of your price range, but you still love the looks of it, check out eBay or see if you can find an outlet store. I go to the one in Gretna, NE when I’m in the area, and they always have GREAT sales 🙂

Hope this helps relieve some of the stress of packing! It’s saved me loads of time and energy since I put this together (needs some time and energy up front, but it’s definitely worth it!)

and as always, have some fun, and give yourself a little love- Summer Grace



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