The Packing Paradigm + 10 Travel Tips Before Your Next Trip

Seattle is one of my favorite urban downtown’s to visit and I have less than 18 hours before my departure. Luckily, I love, love, love to organize my travels and have invested in some pretty handy essentials that make travel a breeze. I’ll be attending the National Main Street Conference over the next 5 days and am anxious to learn about what trends Main Street cities are experiencing across the country. I’ve been monitoring the weather forecast and it looks to be a mix of sun and rain (naturally, it is Seattle afterall) with lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s. My brain is already sorting through what I should bring to be prepared for a pleasant week. I have a couple of items I rarely travel without: Packing cubes, my PurseN Weekender jewelry organizer, and my Fossil Rachel Tote.


When I start packing I try to first see what items pair well together, what can be swapped to work with other items and then I’m on a roll. No, literally, I am on a role-spree to roll up all of my clothes so I can be efficient with space and limit the number of wrinkles that naturally occur when travelling. I am able to fit all of my items in my handy packing cubes and then into my suitcase. A girl can’t leave home without her accessories and my jewelry organizer is a lifesaver for sorting earrings, necklaces, and rings. Shelly gifted me with this one a couple of Christmas’s ago and I just love it!

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I tend to layer on my items when heading to the airport because the plane is usually cold and I like to stick with as few bags as possible. My plan is to wear a soft t-shirt and jeans paired with a scarf, jacket, and comfortable shoes. It may be 70 degrees in Austin but when I land in Seattle, I want to be ready for the Pacific Northwest! Plus, no one cares what you look like at 6 a.m. in the airport, so comfort is my #1 priority for a travel day. The time change will be a two-hour difference so I have snacks packed to help me adjust in between meals once I land. I also love to snack regularly and having dietary restrictions, I try to be prepared in case I can’t find something to eat at the airport or on the plane. A few of my favorite snacks are Kind Bars, Lara Bars, Complete Cookies, and fruit (fresh or dried both work well). I’ve packed a few magazines and my iPad to pass the time and hope to catch a few Zzz’s on the plane. I can’t wait to catch up with colleagues in the Main Street network and enjoy a week in the Emerald City.

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  1. Pack Smart and be Practical - it can be so easy to get carried away with packing everything you COULD need, versus everything you ACTUALLY need. Be realistic with your items and if you are not 100% sure you will wear it, leave it! I recommend laying out all of your items, then take a few minutes to assemble your outfits, and see if you have things that are not necessary for the trip.

  2. Roll Baby, Roll - you may be skeptical about this technique, but I’m telling you it is the best! Try it -you’ll never fold for another trip.

  3. Invest in a good set of packing organizers - I already told you what I can’t travel without and encourage you to find your own favorite packing cubes, jewelry organizer, and tote bag.

  4. Pack Snacks - No one wants to travel with a Betty White or Rosanne Barr (Snickers, eh?) so pick a few of your favorite snacks to bring along for the trip. I try to find healthy choices that pack well and don’t require temperature control.

  5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate - Flying can cause your body to become very dehydrated. It’s important to make sure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the duration of your travel day. It’s also important to hydrate if you are on a road trip. Consider this and take breaks when traveling for more than 3 hours to make the trip more enjoyable.

  6. Bring Along a Travel Pillow - Trying to relax and sleep a bit while traveling is made so much easier with one of these. I prefer one that I can inflate or deflate to my liking versus one of the foam ones.

  7. Don’t Forget Entertainment - I love to read when I travel. It’s a luxury that I don’t have time to enjoy often enough, so when I am traveling I always pack a good book or several magazines.

  8. Tech Gear Essentials - When I’m out of the office during a work week, I bring along my iPad and headphones to stay on top of e-mails and writing. If I am traveling out of the country, I also make sure to pack a travel adapter which is something you too will want to invest in if you are visiting any where outside of North America.

  9. Capture the Experience - You’ll want to make sure you don’t forget your camera or at a minimum have your cell phone camera ready for the trip. A picture speaks a 1,000 words as they say, so shop around for a camera that you can take on all of your travels. I have a Nikon D40 that I take everywhere!

  10. Make a Checklist - If you are prone to forgetting things when you are rushing to leave for a trip, then make a list ahead of time to prepare for your travels. I have a simple list that covers clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries, and those easy to leave items like my phone charger and watch charger.

I hope these tips help you on your next trip!

I’m off to have another Great Main Street Adventure!