This post has been sponsored by Cetaphil®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When we sat down at the end of the year to set our family goals, we wanted 2019 to be a year with more travel.
And boy, has 2019 ever turned out to be a year of travel.
I’ve partnered with Cetaphil® to share some of my best packing hacks that make travel run a little more smoothly.
Bart and I have both traveled a reasonable amount for work over the past few years, but we haven’t taken a lot of big family trips — so it’s been really fun to travel more as a family already this year.
We took our spring break trip to St. George in March, we went to Hawaii earlier this month, and we have a trip to Boise coming up with several days of exploring planned.
Basically, 2019 is making all my travel dreams come true.
I hope these packing hacks will make your trips a little smoother too!
My 6 Favorite Packing Hacks
Cetaphil® Makeup Remover Wipes are a lifesaver. I am militant about washing my face every single morning and night (going to bed with my makeup on is on par with going to bed without brushing my teeth — basically unthinkable).
I’ve used Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser for literally as long as I can remember. In every apartment or house I’ve lived in since I was a teenager, I’ve had this dispenser in my medicine cabinet or next to the sink. It’s designed for EVERY kind of sensitive skin and I love that it both gently cleanses and hydrates my skin. Since it’s been working for me for more than 15 years, I don’t mess with a good thing. You can grab a coupon for $4 off any Cetaphil product at CVS here!
CVS also has a 2 ounce version of the Gentle Skin Cleanser that’s easy to pack on vacation and this spring, I started using Cetaphil’s Makeup Remover Wipes when I travel. They’re perfect for taking off my makeup at the end of the day and cleaning my skin without stripping it and then I wash my face with my travel Gentle Skin Cleanser. Because bringing home a breakout isn’t my idea of a good souvenir.
Keep a travel pack of toiletries. Since I travel a fair amount, I’ve started keeping all my travel toiletries in a clear zippered pouch that I store in our hall closet. Then when I go to travel, I already have my travel toothbrush, a tiny bottle of dry shampoo, my Cetaphil Makeup Remover Wipes, extra contacts, and a tiny bottle of Gentle Skin Cleanser ready to go. It reduces how much packing and unpacking I have to do, and I don’t have to think about all those products every time I’m packing — they’re just ready to go.
If at all possible, stay somewhere with a washer and dryer. When you’re traveling with kids (or even without), it’s so nice to be able to do some laundry while you’re gone. You don’t have to pack nearly as much if you can do a load or two halfway through your trip, which simplifies everything. Less packing and unpacking, lighter suitcases, and less stuff to keep track of. When we were in St. George, I did two loads of laundry our last night there before we packed up in the morning and when we got home, almost everything in our suitcases was clean and ready to be put away and I didn’t have to do laundry for another week. That made coming home from vacation feel extra vacation-y.
Remember that you can buy most things in most places. Sometimes the stress of making sure you remember absolutely everything you could possibly need can kind of dampen the fun of a trip. When I was growing up, my dad would say “Anything we forget, we can buy it if we need it.” Now, Bart and I say the same thing — you can stop at a local CVS and pick up forgotten toothbrushes or a stick of deodorant (as I did when I went to Palm Springs in March). In Italy, we stopped in an optometrist office just outside the Vatican and bought a travel-size bottle of contact solution, and that little detour turned out to be a surprisingly memorable part of our trip. Sometimes these mental packing hacks are as valuable for my enjoyment of a trip as a physical packing hack.
Don’t go overboard packing entertainment for your children. It’s so easy to feel like your children need to entertained EVERY. SECOND. of the travel time, whether you’re flying or driving. I try to keep it fairly simple, in part because I don’t want their backpack to be so thrilling that they don’t look out the window or enjoy the actual experience and in part because I don’t want to drag around a bunch of junk. We bring a few books to read and activity book, a card game or two, our tablets, and some snacks.
UNpacking matters as much as packing. Packing for a trip is usually pretty fun. Choosing the outfits you’re going to wear, picking books to read on your flight (just me?), and doing a last-minute CVS run to pick up a travel-size bottle of contact solution or Cetaphil’s Makeup Removing Wipes all feels pretty exciting. On the other end, unpacking everything does NOT feel as fun.
But I’ve learned some good habits from Bart over the years and now we unpack as quickly as we can when we get home. I was so impressed when we got married and started traveling together that he would unload the entire car the MINUTE we pulled up at home. Nothing got left in the car and then he’d unpack immediately. I’ve contributed by making sure that after the unpacking, the suitcases actually go back downstairs to the storage closet where they live instead of hanging out in our bedroom for two weeks after we get home. I really like closing that vacation loop and finishing strong.
I’d love to hear your best packing hacks! Since we still have plenty of trips left in 2019, I’ll take any tips to make them run more smoothly.
Photos by Heather Mildenstein