If you know me, then you know I pack *way more* than I need even for a day trip! Needless to say, I am an overpacker and I am not afraid to admit it. I have been fortunate enough to travel and be able to do it quite often, even for the day in my new city of Washington, DC. So, I have picked up several packing essentials of mine along the way, which I will be sharing today!

*Disclaimer: Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through one of my links, then I will receive a small commission. This commission is at no extra cost to you. Additionally, this post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own.*

My Packing Essentials!

  1. Packing Squares – If you have been following several fellow influencers, then you have probably seen the hype behind packing squares! Packing squares range in all rectangular/square sizes and are amazing when allowing one to pack a ton of things, especially into smaller luggage items. They are an excellent organizational tool that allows you to even categorize your items that you’re packing, such as items for two different locations or lingerie versus pajamas and loungewear/activewear versus dressier items. When I travel overseas, I ALWAYS pack my items in packing squares – they’re easy and practical and allow me to store all of my items in one space. Tip of the trade: rolling your clothing items and garments into a packing square allows you to maximize your space and pack many more items than you could have ever anticipated!
  2. Duffle Bag – Duffle bags have been amazing for me. They’re not only great for weekend trips and road trips of all kinds to say the least, but they’re also pretty great for carry-on’s for plane rides, too. I have owned multiple Vera Bradley duffle bags for 10+ years now, and they are AMAZING! They have lasted all these years, too, on all of my many trips which says something for sure. Last year, I purchased the Lands’ End Canvas Duffle and *of course* monogrammed it. Let’s say that I love that duffle bag, as well!
  3. Pouches – Whether for a day trip or a long weekend away, pouches have been my favorite essential to bring practically everywhere. I use them for makeup, feminine products, jewelry, work things, and even essentials within my purse. My favorites include pouches from gifts with purchase when I buy my Clinique foundation in multiples during the holidays, thrift store pouches, and most recently Rae Dunn pouches. Let’s just say that my pouches dominate my bags, especially when packing! Tip of the trade: pouches are great when you have totes/bags without a zipper. That way your items stay secure and are stylishly covered.
  4. Insulated Water Bottle – Insulated water bottles are AMAZING for travel. They keep your water cool and are a great necessity to carry your water wherever you go. When I studied abroad in Italy, they had free safe drinking water fountains all across the city of Florence and others for tourists and locals alike to fill up on water and stay hydrated. The same concept goes for United States cities, too, as water fountains are everywhere you turn in all major cities and buildings and beyond. You also can help safe the planet when carrying an insulated water bottle, as you’re not buying a bunch of plastic bottles. Tip of the trade: pack an empty insulated water bottle when boarding a plane and fill it up once you get to the gate and through security. That way, you save $5+ on a water bottle at the airport!
  5. Printed Bandana/Head Scarf – One of the most stylish ways to travel is with a printed bandana/head scarf! I use them to tie onto my suitcases and bags to look all that more stylish. Especially when traveling, exhaustion is real. So, anything stylish is the way to go!
  6. Crystal Lite Caffeinated Packets – If you know me, then you know I am OBSESSED with my caffeinated beverages. In case you didn’t know, Crystal Lite has caffeinated sugar-free packets that are great for fueling up in the middle of the day. Like many of y’all do too, I struggle with the afternoon, post-lunch slug. So, I use caffeinated Crystal Lite packets from my local grocery store/Target/Walmart to purchase them. The best part?! I can add a packet to any water bottle, shake it when shut, and then go on my merry way!
  7. Mini Hair Brush – There are many times that I have out of all things forgotten my hair brush. I always leave a mini hair brush from The Dollar Tree in my go-to travel bags for that reason. At the same time, traveling can be long and tiring, so being able to grab out a hair brush no matter how big or small is great to have. Not to mention, whenever I forget my hairbrush, I ALWAYS have one.
  8. Zippered Tote Bag – Although I do LOVE my un-zippered tote bags, I do love a zippered tote bag, especially when traveling. My favorites over the years have been my Longchamp large Le Pilage totes that I have in red, pink, and tan (I own this color in the Small size) as well as my Kate Spade polka dotted tote. Although I do not have one myself, Lilly Pulitzer also has some pretty awesome packable and washable totes. I have used these tote bags and they have been through it all and back and still remain in their beautiful and true glory. Durability is key, and my zippered tote bags are extraordinary for my travels.
  9. Hand Sanitizer – I may sound like a COVID-19 safety queen, but it’s true – hand sanitizer is your best friend when traveling! Wherever you go, pandemic or not, it is always good to make sure that you have some hand sanitizer on hand and take that extra precaution. My favorites been the Bath & Body Works spray bottle with 71% alcohol that come in the brand’s trademark scents. Mine has lasted me almost a year!
  10. Wifi Hotspot – Wherever you go, wifi is an essential when working. As I am working and working mostly remote, it is important that I am able to access all of my work-related matters from wherever I am. Tip of the trade: it is more secure for me to be on a wifi hotspot, than on a hotel or airport wifi.
  11. Oversized Sweatshirt – I am one that gets super cold at night. While at home, I love to wear a comfortable fluffy robe when I sleep, but it can be a pain to pack. So, I pack an oversized sweatshirt and college sweatshirts have been my favorite over the year to pack! For a typical trip, I usually pack a Lilly Pulitzer popover, Vineyard Vines Shop Shirt, or a trench coat (depending on the travel occasion) when traveling and then I pack an oversized sweatshirt (or two) just for sleeping. I also curl up with a blanket, too, so it’s nice to have an oversized sweatshirt to keep me warm through the cold nights, specifically in hotel rooms that can be FREEZING at night. My favorites recently have been from United Monograms!
  12. Insulated Coffee Cup – Just like an insulated water bottle, an insulated coffee cup is a must when traveling. It allows me to be able to drink coffee on the go and in-style. My favorites include the Vera Bradley coffee cups in their oh-so adorable prints. Not to mention, it is easy to pack and a whole lot cuter than the one’s given at hotels or if you’re lucky provided at an AirBnb!
  13. Batiste Dry Shampoo – When traveling, it is easy to not take a shower for a day or two or even three, especially when on the road. If you’re like me, then you probably use the hotel-provided shampoo whenever traveling. Sometimes the hotel-provided shampoos do not work magic on your hair. Batiste Dry Shampoo is the magical potion for allowing me to look and feel my best when I haven’t taken a shower or my hair doesn’t make me feel like the queen that I am. Tip of the trade: hit your local Walmart to Target for their travel sections with travel-sized products, including Batiste Dry Shampoo!
  14. Trench Coat – I am a sucker for an adorable trench coat! Personally, I have loved the glamour of them from the 2000’s movies, like Bride Wars and Confessions of a Shopaholic amongst many more. I have also discovered that trench coats spice up any look and add an element of glamour to any look, whether it be a yoga pants and t-shirt get up or a dress. I bought a trench coat and got it monogrammed from Lands’ End last year and I LOVE it!
  15. Disposable Face Masks – Yet *another* COVID-19 precaution! Disposable face masks are key to have on hand when traveling. Especially when you have to wear a face mask for hours on end, disposable face masks make it much more bearable and comfortable to do just that. I like to pack a pack of disposable face masks with me wherever I go. Tip of the trade: layer a disposable face mask underneath your cloth face mask. That way you look cute and are comfortable while you’re on the road!
  16. Laundry Travel Bag – Last but not the least, laundry travel bags are great for travel. While most people use them for laundry, I like to use mine for shoes. Since laundry bags come in all shapes and sizes, I use the bigger one’s for sneakers and boots and the smaller one’s for sandals, flats, and heels. Overall, they’re great for multi-purposing!

Shop some of my favorite packing essentials, here!

XOXO – Katie <3

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