Organize for travel

All travel requires organization, whether it is an overnight stay, a three-week beach holiday, a corporate trip or going camping with the family. 

You will tweak your organizing each trip as you evolve and your circumstances change, here are however, some of my basic tips.


Toiletries help you to feel comfortable and organized when you are away from home

I have a basic bag of toiletries with:

  • A small soap
  • A small shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Spare underwear
  • Make-up *
  • Tooth brush *
  • Tooth paste *
  • Hair gel *
  • Paracetamol *
  • Band-Aid *
  • Back up tablets of medication taken

* these items are not what I normally use, they are specific travel items and are small enough to take on board when flying. 

The toiletries are in a simple rectangular bag with a loop. It is important to have some form of loop on your toiletries bag to hang it. As this makes life easier and can be more hygienic to do so (think shower cubicles), you never know where you may end up.

The size is depending on your needs, I have sometimes opted for two toiletries bags, one for urgent travel, this covers; tooth paste, deodorant etc. And one for important things over a longer period like; soap, clippers and makeup.

In general, I like to travel light and make life easier for myself.

I don’t have too many items which are a must but I generally love:

  • Ear plugs for air travelling
  • Packing cells for larger trips
  • A square bag to keep books, laptops, paperwork neat and tidy
  • A journal or notebook, there are always impressions and ideas coming out of a trip I find.


Always check the weather of the location you are going. If you go overseas and know someone from that country (or someone who has been there recently), ask them about weather appropriate clothes, this helps you organize your clothes and pick items, which are suitable for that specific location.

Of course a 

  • Jeans
  • Short pants / skirt
  • Basic T-shirts
  • A set of swimmers
  • several days of underwear

are always a must.

Other tips –for travelling

  • Group like items together starting with clothes (shirts, pants, socks etc.) 
  • Go for comfort (this means comfortable versatile clothes and a comfortable bag with a manageable weight for travelling).
  • Cull a lot of the ‘just in case items’ – you can buy things at your destination (in 99% of the cases).
  • Keep paperwork close together and easily accessible. Make scanned copies prior to leaving and send both yourself and a next-of-kin a copy.

Before we go, a reality check

Sometimes we get so hyped up and excited about taking everything and having the perfect items for our trip that we forget one very important thing. They very likely,  have got some shops at your destination. Often with better quality and items, which are more suitable to the climate, than what we could find at home.

An example of this is: I live in Australia for many years now, but my family is all based in the Netherlands. Even if, I would visit all the shops in my area, I would never find a winter coat that would suit the European winters as well as I could in 30 minutes shopping in any town in the Netherlands. 

In a lot of cases you can just buy some climate specific items at your destination, use it and pass it on.

Taking the right bag – for an organized trip

Although I have multiple bags, there is always one easy to grab, with the l toiletries close by. This means, that no matter what trip I have coming up and how much notice I have, the very important bits and pieces are always organized for travelling.

If for whatever reason I need to go in a rush, I can pick up some clothes, my toiletries and the preferred bag at the time, which means I can be ready for any overnight stay in less than 5 minutes.

Suit case or backpack?

I use both; a suitcase or backpack depending on the type of trip I do:

  • A city tour or work trip requires a suitcase (with wheels)
  • An adventure trip goes better with a backpack

Recently on a camping trip I used neither backpack or suitcase.

During the camping trip, which I did with children, we needed all different items as we had a variety of things to do, at various times (tent supplies for setting up, clothes for washing and getting dressed, cooking equipment at dinner time). It therefor made sense to use multiple bags in the back of the car, they were color coordinated, so we knew which one to use when the time was right.

No matter how often and how you travel, enjoy, simplify and organize before, during and after your trip, it is an evolving process. 

I hope you will enjoy your next trip, feeling organized and adventurous.

If you have small people in your care, make sure to check out the Traveling with kids page.

What are your organizing tips for travelling

Do you have a number of great organizing tips for travelling?
Can these ideas make a good holiday great?

We would love to hear from you!

Please share your knowledge on this topic.


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