Travel Tips to Make Packing and Flying Easier With or Without Kids

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Happy Wednesday, darlings!

I’m currently sitting poolside in Hawaii sipping cocktails with my love as we enjoy the sound of the ocean and one another’s company.


I’m currently running around like a madwoman trying to get my house ready for our house-sitters, the last details of our vacation handled, picking up snacks for the kids for our flight, checking into our flights, hoping the scale at the airline ticketing counter is broken…

I’m in vacay mode at the moment. And by vacay mode, I mean we leave today and there are still a million and one things to do, because prepping for vacation does require a vacation. Right?


That said, I have a few moments (and I made a promise) to share some of my must-dos, haves, and tips for packing for a family of six – or any family or person or cat or whatever, really. I had a lot of questions the other day on my Insta-stories from you guys asking if I have any tips for packing for so many people.

Yes. Don’t.

Kidding. Kind of.

The other question I was asked more than a few times was how I pack for so many people and keep our luggage under-weight.

I don’t.

Not kidding.

I’m a chronic over-packer, and I have no shame in my game, my friends. But I do have a few tips that might help you get packed, organized, and make the most of your time before you leave and when you come home.

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  1. Leave a perfect house: Truth be told, I can’t handle mess at all. I can’t do it. I can’t leave my house to run the kids to school in the morning if my coffee cup is sitting in the sink. I can’t leave my house with anything messy, out of place, unorganized. Before we leave on vacation, I wash all the sheets and remake the beds so we come home to fresh beds, we wash all the laundry so we come home to nothing but vacation laundry, and we stock the fridge so we aren’t worried about shopping. Our house sitters know I need to see absolute perfection when we get home, and they’re SUPER great about making sure everything is perfect. It takes some serious stress off of traveling knowing you get to come home after a trip to a perfect house.
  2. Pack trash bags: I do this, because the little bags hotels leave in closets are not big enough for dirty laundry, and I can’t handle dirty laundry touching clean laundry. This also helps you find a barrier between shoes and clean clothes. Because, ew.
  3. Make use of all space: The best thing I can tell you is to make use of all your luggage space. I like to stick my swimsuits inside my hats and stick my hats on the bottom of luggage. One, it keeps them from becoming deformed while we travel – because you know it’s next to impossible to get a hat back to its original shape once it’s been flattened – and to use that space. I also stick all the kid’s socks and stuff inside their shoes to make more space.

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  1. Buy what you need when you get there: I don’t pack non-essentials. I’m picky about my hair products and bath products at home, but I’m fine using the hotel stuff or picking up diapers and wipes and things when we arrive to avoid packing so much stuff. I never pack swim diapers or sunscreen – that’s what Walgreens and Target are for, right?
  2. Mix and match: I am an over-packer, but I’ve learned that I can pack just a few swim tops and bottoms for all of us and we can mix and match. If we have a four-day trip, I pack two tops and two bottoms that all go together, and I remix them during the trip so I have four suits. Less packing, more style, easy.
  3. Skip the separates: With the exception of my husband and my son, you won’t find any separates in our luggage. It’s all dresses all the time. We just don’t even bother with anything else. Vacay is all about dresses, and it really narrows down what we pack.

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***My absolute favorite tip ever for travel – pack sample items. If you order from Sephora regularly, you know you get three free samples with your purchase. I always choose lotions, hair product, and perfume samples. I throw them in a drawer in my bathroom and go through them when we travel so I have little items that don’t take up much space and that can be thrown away when I run out. It’s less packing and unpacking – and it uses none of my baggage weight allowance!***

If there is anything I highly recommend when you travel, it’s dry shampoo. Always buy good dry shampoo (my favorite is DryBar, linked here at Sephora) because who wants to bother with shampoo on vacation?

I also pack each of the kids their own backpack to use as a carry on through the airport, and I put new coloring books, crayons, little activities, toys, their tablets, and fun snacks in them for the kids. This way they have something to keep them entertained on our flight they’ve never seen before, so it’s all new and exciting for them. You have no idea what a bag of M&Ms can do for my twins – who pretty rarely get any junk food to eat!

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If you don’t use apps for airlines, use apps. Check your luggage. It’s so much easier to make it through the airport when I can use my watch or phone for boarding passes, and when we don’t have to carry so much stuff. We also always check the kid’s car seats so we don’t have to rent them with a rental car (here’s a fun tip – car seats always fly free with airlines, and you get a fun bag to put them in to keep them from becoming dirty and disgusting).

Keeping My Travel Style Simple Chic in the Airport

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Few things stress me out more than figuring out what to wear to the airport.

First world problems, I know.

Listen, I’m certainly not complaining about the traveling we get to do or minimizing any actual, real, valid life problems – I’m merely stating a simple fact. I have serious issues figuring out what to wear to the airport.

I have too much dignity to go anywhere in my pajamas.

Pants dictating the temperate across my rear-end aren’t my jam (hottie).

Leggings make me feel like a mom, so those are out. (Yes, I know. I am a mom. Geez.)

Will I be hot? Will I be cold?

I’d love to wear a dress and keep it simple, but we all know passengers would see more of VS underpants than my actual face if I did that. So – no.

It’s always about comfort, functionality, and style for me. And jeans. Because so far this year I’ve spilled my Starbucks down my leg on two flights and avoided serious burns only because of my jeans. I thank the jean Gods for that one. Anyway; airport style varies, and you should really dress for you. When we fly and the kids aren’t with us, it’s easier for me to dress. When they are with us, I find myself gravitating toward darker colors so they can’t make a (noticeable) mess of me if they spill something.

Says she who spills her coffee every single time.

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Not Your Mama’s Jeans

I’m a dark wash girl all the way, and I looooove a good pair of quality jeans. 7 For All Mankind is my favorite, but I do love some Rag & Bone. These are my favorite skinny jeans, but I also like these boyfriend jeans, too. They’re comfortable, they wear well, and they are super flattering on all body types.

Not-So-Basic Tees and A Sweater/Blazer

On top, I like a basic tee. Layers are helpful, so I like to bring either a sweater or blazer with me. Blazers are for the times the kids aren’t with us, and sweaters are for when they are with us. Why? I don’t know, really, but sweaters just say “Good mom” and blazers kind of say “Bad-ass” to me. Since “good mom” and badass kind of go hand-in-hand, the sweater says it all when the kids are in tow.

Try this sweater, this blazer, and this one.

I like my tees longer in the back and tucked in up front. I never wear a belt when I travel, even though I miss the opportunity. I already have too much stuff with me to want to spend additional time disrobing at security, to be honest. Nordstrom always has my favorite basic tees, and I’m linking this one, this one, and this one for you, too. They’re fab. And each one is a little bit more than basic. It’s comfort on a brand-new level.


Shoes For Comfort and Style  

Flats, friends. I once navigated the LaGuardia a 5 am in a pair of 4-inch Manolos sicker than you even want to know after having entirely too much wine at the Plaza the night before, and I regretted every moment of that day. Hashtag true story. Hashtag lesson learned.

I’m a big fan of my Reva flats – but now you’ll need to go with the Minnie ballet flat – and my espadrilles. I don’t love sandals or flip-flops in the airport, though. My toes are always cold – and in case you didn’t know, I always spill my coffee. Feet safety first, y’all. But really, choosing the right shoes that are both comfortable and a little unexpected can really make a boring outfit a little more exciting.

PS – My Tory Burch espadrilles (pictured above) are on sale right now for only $79!

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

Wear the belt, girlfriend – I won’t, but I should. Earrings, hats, great shoes, great sunglasses, great handbags; it’s all you need. When you have the right accessories, you’re going to love how you feel even when you’re in a basic white tee and some skinny jeans. Personally, I think a bigger bag is perfect in the airport for all your little extras, but I’ve seen women in their smallest crossbodies rocking them like it’s their job. It just depends on what you prefer.

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So, now you know that I’m all about simplicity and ease when I travel. I need to be comfortable and not worry about how many people might see my lady bits, but I need to feel confident in what I wear, too. It’s helpful when the kids are with me and I need to bend over to pick things up, get 396 things out of the overhead bin, and I spill my coffee all over myself they make a mess and I’m their victim. What’s your favorite go-to travel item?