9 Common Packing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip

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Getting ready for a trip can be exciting, but let’s face it, packing is not always the most fun part. In this article, I’ll share some common packing mistakes and easy tips to avoid them, so you can breeze through your travels stress-free.

Travel hand luggage with swimsuit bikini, slippers, sunglasses, etc.

We all look forward to our relaxing holiday, but how about what comes before that?

Packing used to be one of my worst nightmares. There is never enough time, and you always end up throwing things together the night before your flight.

Let me tell you what I learned:

Planning is key!

Once you master that, everything becomes easier, and packing won’t be so stressful anymore.

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure you are packing to perfection for your next vacation!

9 Common Packing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip

1. Overpacking

This is by far the most common mistake everyone makes (yes, myself included, but I am learning…). You need to think about what you are really going to use and wear.

I get it – when you’re getting ready for a trip, you want to be prepared for any situation. But sometimes (pretty much always…) this can lead to overpacking.

If you only wear that pair of jeans at home, why would you bring another 10 pairs of trousers you haven’t used for the last 3 years?

Stick to essentials and versatile items that can be mixed and matched. And if you’re worried about not having enough options, remember that you can always do laundry or buy things on the go.

2. Not having a list

Picture this: you’re about to leave for your dream vacation, and you’re feeling pretty good about your packing skills. You’ve got everything you need… or so you think. But then, as you’re sitting on the plane, you realize you forgot your phone charger. Or your toothbrush. Or that one pair of socks that you really wanted to wear. Oops.

Making a list has completely changed the way I pack for my holidays.

I used to think I could remember everything, but there are so many little things to keep in mind.

Make a packing list and start writing it a few weeks before your trip. You can then save it and reuse it for future holidays. I have a list for summer vacations, one for short weekends, and one for winter breaks.

It’s one of the best travel hacks to remember.

3. Not checking the weather

I remember quite a few years ago, we went to Cape Verde. I packed all my favorite summer clothes, including a new linen dress and cute sandals.

When we got there, it rained for 3 days straight, and it was so cold and windy! And I only had a fleece with me to keep me warm.

Sound familiar?

There is nothing worse than having a bag full of the wrong clothes! You see, the weather can be quite unpredictable at times. Remember to check the forecast just before you start packing.

It also helps to always pack a rain jacket with a mix of clothes that can be layered if necessary.

4. Fold, don’t roll

Rolling your clothes has been the suggested way to go for a while. But by rolling, you get lots more wrinkles, and you are not actually saving any space.

You need to fold your clothes the Marie Kondo way. I swear you will save space!

I also love using packing cubes to organize and separate all my stuff into categories. You can easily identify which cube contains what and keep everything in order.

Packing cubes also help to compress your clothes, and when you remove them from your bag, you don’t make a complete mess while trying to find the right t-shirt!

5. Bringing too many shoes

I get it, shoes are awesome! They can complete an outfit, make a statement, and even boost your confidence. But when it comes to packing for a trip, it’s easy to go overboard on footwear.

Suddenly, you find yourself with a separate suitcase just for shoes, and you’re not even sure if you’ll wear half of them.

So, how do you avoid shoe overload? Stick to the essentials!

Do not bring more than three pairs of shoes!

You won’t use them anyway!

You’ll just need some walking shoes, a more elegant pair, such as cute sandals or high-heels for special evenings, and some flip-flops if you are going to a beach location.

Make sure you put your shoes (and any heavy item) at the bottom of your luggage.

And always put shoes in shoe bags to avoid any dirt getting on your clean clothes. If you can be bothered to buy shoe bags, a plastic bag will be fine.

6. Not bringing  a swimsuit

The best packing tips from the pro! The ultimate list of packing mistakes to avoid to ensure you are packing to perfection for your next vacation!

Swimming suits don’t take up much space, and it’s always a good idea to bring one.

You never know, you might find a jacuzzi or a pool you weren’t expecting. So, before you zip up your luggage, do a quick double-check and make sure you’ve packed your swimsuit.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on any water-related fun!

7. Waiting until the last minute

Guess what? When you leave packing until a few hours before your trip, all you are going to achieve is a lot of stress.

You are much more likely to forget something essential as you won’t have much time for planning.

Make sure you start thinking in advance about what you’ll need, what clothes you’ll be wearing, and what shoes you’ll need to pack.

This will help you to start your vacation more relaxed.

8. Only packing light colors

Only packing light colors is a classic packing mistake that can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning.

While light colors are great for warm weather and brightening up your photos, they show dirt and wear much more than darker-colored items.

Plus, if you’re traveling to a destination with lots of outdoor activities or city exploration, you’ll want clothes that can handle a bit of wear and tear.

Dark colors are great for hiding stains and can also be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to pack a mix of light and dark colors in case of a last-minute laundry emergency.

And if you’re worried about looking too dull, you can always add a pop of color with accessories like scarves, jewelry, or shoes.

9. Forgetting a laundry bag

Forgetting to pack a laundry bag is a common packing mistake that can lead to a smelly and disorganized suitcase.

Without a laundry bag, you’re left with two options: mix your dirty clothes with your clean ones, or shove them in a plastic bag and hope for the best. Neither option is ideal.

That’s why packing a laundry bag is a total game-changer. Not only does it keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones, but it also helps you stay organized.

Plus, if you’re traveling for an extended period of time, having a laundry bag can make it easier to do laundry on the go.

A laundry bag will help to keep dirty and clean clothes separate and make unpacking so much easier at home.

3 Travel Essentials To Keep You Organized and Stress-Free

And while you are packing for your holidays, you need to check out these travel essentials I can’t live without!

Zipper File Bags

I love zip-lock bags! Since I started using them, I can’t live without. They help you to keep all those little bits that don’t have a place organized, you can use them for dividing your beauty essentials or to safely store your travel documents.

Numerical Padlock

Padlocks are very helpful to keep your belongings safe. The best option is one in solid strong still with a numerical pad. It will avoid having to carry extra keys, that can get easily lost.

Hat Clip

This is a must-have for any beach vacation! Easy to attach to your handbag without damaging your hat!


Ready to pack?

Avoid these packing mistakes, and you will be ready for your next holiday in no time!

And remember to download this useful packing list!

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  1. Good pin. Practical advice.

  2. I’m so surprised that out of all the travel tips from all over the world that no one ever mentions one situation you could have.. Your suitcase zipped or lock breaks and everything falls out of your suitcase.😩 Using compression bags for everything saves you the embarrassment of people seeing all your personal items. Just pick up bags put them back in your suitcase and use a security strap to keep your suitcase closed. That’s right- Always use a security strap around your suitcase or at least keep one or more with you for emergencies. Happy Travels Everyone πŸ›«πŸ§³

    1. I traveled for years, and I’ve never seen any suitcase break open, lol. If mine did break, having people seeing my personal items would be the least of my worries, to be honest. But I do like to have my clothes divided into packing cubes, as it makes it easier to organize them!

  3. I pack my packing cubes well in advance. Before I pack each one, I take a picture of the contents. Four fit in my suitcase, 1,2,3,4. Job done. (On arrival at the hotel), I just put the cubes in the drawers. Takes seconds. Then I put the sandals I want in their drawstring bag, just the right size – I’m a keen needlewoman, so I have various sizes. The smallest possible is best. They go in the front of the case. Hot brush (in it’s own drawstring bag) goes down the middle between the packing cubes. Then I zip up the case and weigh it. If it’s a bit too heavy, I can take one thing out of each cube. I always travel with a small Kipling Alvar cross body bag. I only take it off to go through security, otherwise it’s under my cardigan or jacket. It’s taken some practice, but it now holds my holiday cash, camera, tiny notebook, and packet of tissues. Plus passport and boarding card. Always useful in case there’s no loo paper! I always take a rucksack in my suitcase, as I do lots of walking. The Alvar bag fits in there nicely, so when I’m having lunch in a taverna, my valuables are on me, not in the bag.

  4. Jean Tate says:

    When I travel I note what I don’t wear then I don’t pacing next time. Eg I pack 6 tee shirts, wear 3. Don’t need 6. And shoes! I don’t need six pair of shoes for a 2 week trip. Who cares if your sandals are a different colour to your dress.

  5. Love your packing check-list!!!!!

  6. I doubt you will get a Swiss Army knife on a carry on in the US. They took a cork screw off me that had a 1 inch blade to remove the foil on wine bottles. Wasn’t a big deal but I don’t want them confiscating a $40 Swiss Army knife which I know they would. Its a bit of a pain really as I am going to The Grand Canyon in a week and this would be useful for that trip.

    1. Hey Graeme,
      I didn’t mean you should bring a swiss knife in your carry on! Sorry if that wasn’t clear πŸ™‚ I meant it’s useful to pack if you go on a longer holiday but it needs to be put in your hold baggage!

  7. Amazing post! Loved the packing list. I am going on a trip soon, so this post just saved my day. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Before you pack that vacation suitcase, lay everything out on a blanket and take a picture. Also take close-up shots of clothing labels. That way if your luggage is lost, you at least have hard evidence of what you lost.

    The airline will ask you to fill out a form for lost luggage. It will ask for items lost and estimated value. Those pictures will provide evidence for a cash reimbursement claim from the airline. The photos will also come in handy should you need to make a claim for lost luggage with your travel insurance agent. That will apply whether you need to make a temporary or permanent claim.

    Finally, don’t forget to take a picture of your luggage as you check in. The picture acts as more evidence to make a claim should you need to do so.

  9. Alexis Galamay says:

    Totally love your packing list!! And I totally agree with all these points.

    The laundry bag is KEY – do you have the Away suitcase (awaytravel.com)? It has a built-in laundry bag, and I’m OBSESSED. It also has a feature that compresses it!

    <3, Alexis (www.steadyblooming.com)

  10. Awesome Sara!! I also love the packing check list, I might need to make one of these as well, I think it would be a neat idea to add to my Etsy shop! xoxoxoxo β™₯ love your blog!!!! β™₯

    1. Thank you Viv! β™₯ A packing check-list for your Etsy shop is a great idea! I am sure people will love it! Your latest designs are beautiful! Love them xxx β™₯β™₯β™₯

  11. Nice post! I usually prepare like 5 days in advance. I’m just crazy as per my friends haha!

    I like your tip about not just packing lighter colour clothes πŸ™‚

    Btw love your freebie list. It’s super cute!! So useful for my next trip hehe