Tips to Pack Your Suitcase Like A Boss

Packing Tips

How did I manage to pack only a carry-on bag for a 9-day trip to Africa in February? Yes, me. A woman whose purse alone weighs 20 pounds. A woman who carries no less than half a dozen varieties of lipgloss or lipstick at at time. A woman who can be known for her indecisiveness. A woman who now knows  the secret to packing your suitcase…like a boss!

Yes I packed for my trip to Kenya back in February like a boss. Of course it certainly helped that we were traveling to a warm climate, hence eliminating any bulky items, but still I was amazed.

My traveling companion Rene and I each could check in one suitcase and we had designated this to a large duffel bag filled with donated shoes to give to the children and teens we were working with in Kenya. That left us with the option of bringing on a carry-on for our own clothing and personal items. We could have paid more to check in an additional bag but if you’ve ever traveled internationally (and I had only once and that was just to Mexico), you know it’s best to pack light and bring a carry-on.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Although this was a different sort of trip, a mission trip and not a luxurious vacation or conference requiring multiple outfit changes, I still had to plan out my wardrobe for each day.

Start packing early – I planned out what I’d need each day. I really only needed one nice church type outfit for Sunday and even that was simple – a cotton t-shirt dress. I also relied on my friend, who had traveled to Kenya before, to tell me exactly what I needed (including snacks!)

Roll with it baby – Roll your t-shirts, dresses, underwear, EVERYTHING. It helps to bring clothing made with lightweight, non-wrinkle material.

Leave no space empty – Stuff your socks into your shoes, stack sandals to maximize space, etc.

Edit your toiletries – If you have a traveling companion(s), collaborate with them on items you can share. (For example, I brought hair conditioner and my traveling companion brought shampoo.)

Embrace the flat – I used a school supply pencil pouch to hold my makeup. Much better use of space than my regular makeup bag. Use ziploc bags to store items. It’s time to get utilitarian, not show off your uber cute monogram cosmetic trunk.

Make your clothes multitask – I brought one lightweight cotton cardigan to wear on the plane (as it gets chilly) and to bring along in case I needed layers at night. Consider bringing items that all coordinate so you can mix and match.

What tips do you have for packing light? I also recommend loading up your Kindle and keeping jewelry to a minimum.

Here are more great tips!



  1. Sarah Kirkell says:

    Now I just have to figure out how to pack my baby’s suitcase like a boss. I’ve never flown with the kids and now we’re taking a 4 year old and a 9 month old on a beach vacation to California–from the opposite coast. But… it will help to minimize my packing space, right!! Thanks for the great post!

  2. Jamie says:

    Sarah, good luck with that! Little ones have SO MUCH gear! 😉

    Cindy, true…rolling clothes saves tons of space. The key is to bring clothing made with fabric that is travel (scrunch proof) friendly. 🙂

  3. nelson says:

    i totally agree with all you girls i hope you had a great time in kenya i live there i saw a white woman with a small bag it may have been you

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