I've lamented a few times to readers about my packing shortcomings. The root of the problem is that I'm not one to plan. I may make a list, but by the night before my flight, I'm shoving in extra pairs of shoes, spare jackets—whatever I can fit just in case. While I've tried to plan outfits and generally just work on cutting back, I haven't been able to curb my packing anxiety until now.
In March, I found myself lucky enough to travel for a week to India. I'd be doing a lot of moving around the country and needed outfits that ran the gamut—comfortable (for travel), fancy (for dinners), cool (because well, it's really hot there). And so, I decided to try something new: packing cubes. Though in part, the purpose is to keep yourself organized when you're moving from one hotel to another, the added bonus was that I could see exactly what I was bringing.
Sorting all my tops together was a reminder that I didn't need three white tees—in fact, one might suffice. Same was to be said for jeans—does one wear jeans in India? I'd bring one pair to be safe. Having an instant visual way to compartmentalize what I was bringing along quelled that feeling of last-minute anxiety that woke me up at 2 a.m. covered in sweat the night before my flight.
Below you'll find a simple breakdown of my anxiety-free packing method, as well as the packing cubes I used (from Away) and similar options. Then I included a little inspiration to help you pack for your next getaway.
1. Think in Categories
When figuring out what to pack, keep like things together. It will not only make it easier to find items while traveling, but it will help with organizing too.
2. Assign Each Category Its Own Cube
When you're ready to get packing, use one cube for each category of clothing. Keep tops, jeans, and even your socks and underwear together.
These packing cubes are perfect for easy, organized traveling and ensure you use your suitcase space efficiently.
Available in sets of four and six.
For optimal organization and structure in your suitcase, try these perfectly-sized packing cubes.
These packing cubes are versatile and make packing a breeze. Plus, they've got some style.
When it comes to traveling, you can never go wrong with these Common Project sneakers. Not only are they comfortable for the airport, but they are also the perfect pair of versatile shoes for almost any outfit you pack.
Available in sizes 37 to 41.
Make packing less stressful with these light, casual straight-leg jeans—perfect for mixing and matching, these bottoms will save you space without sacrificing on style.
Available in sizes 25 to 29.
Whether your destination is tropical or otherwise, these Le Specs sunglasses add the perfect pop of color to any outfit you pack.
What travel ensemble is complete without some comfy leggings? Save space in your packing cubes by having these leggings double as travel and workout clothes (if you are so inclined!).
Available in sizes IX to 3X.
Save some packing space by bringing along a staple pair of heels like these Raye sandals. Ideal for dressing up or down, these heels will become your go-to travel shoes.
Available in sizes 5.5 to 10.
No suitcase is complete without one fun, easy top. Perfect for a day out, you'll find yourself grabbing for it time and time again.
Available in sizes 0 to 22.
What better way to save space in your suitcase and carry around all your travel essentials than this Simon Miller bag? Large enough for all your travel go-to items, this colorful bag is all you need.
Versatile and classic, these frayed denim shorts will go just about anything (read: the perfect packing piece!).
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
For a spatially economical but stylish option, this Bardot dress is a must.
Available in sizes X to 4X.
For that instant wow factor, no need to pack a dozen items—this colorful Zara dress will do just the trick.
Available in sizes S to L.
For a good neutral bottom to pair with your go-to airport outfit, these Outdoor Voices leggings are light enough to fit into any suitcase and epitomize easy travel.
Available in sizes M to XL.
Make sure to include some dark denim in your suitcase for the perfect basic bottom for travel.
Available in sizes 10 to 20.
No need to pack three swimsuits—this red one-piece is all you need, and it's the perfect easy item to tuck in your suitcase for any summer ensemble.
Available in sizes XS to XL.
Don't underestimate the versatility of a maxi dress! Perfect for dressing up or down, this linen maxi will become your favorite easy item.
Available in sizes 12 to 28.
For a bit of glamour without overpacking, this one-shoulder top is surprisingly adaptable—try pairing it with shorts or jeans for a breezy summer look.
Available in sizes XS to M.
Hopefully, you'll now be able to head on vacation totally stress-free.