Monday, August 11, 2014

Samantha Goes to San Diego: Packing Tips and Tricks

Hello all! Today is the first post of my Travel series to San Diego! I'm super pumped to be going back to palm trees and salty seas!  In today's post I'm going to give you some of my packing tips and tricks. Things I've learned along the way of traveling! :)

First off the basic details of the trip:
Where: San Diego, CA
When: Aug. 21- 25 (5 days, 4 nights)
Weather: High 70's to Low 80s daytime, 50s-60s at night
Activities: Museums, beach, zoo ie: lots of walking

So now that we've got the details out of the way let's move on to the tips and tricks I have for packing and traveling!


Find out how big of a suitcase you can take. Airlines are very particular about the size of bags you can take with you. If they exceed the size allotted then you will have to check it and pay $25+. No one want's to do that so go to the airlines website and find out their dimensions. 

I'm flying Delta Airlines and they allow for 1 carry- on and 1 Personal Item. A carry- on is a small suitcase that can fit in the overhead bin and a PI is a backpack, camera bag, tote bag, etc., something small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. So everything I'm taking must fit into the suitcase and backpack. 


I've learned this the hard way and have learned from my mistakes. The first time I flew to Cali I was in NorCal, by San Francisco. I packed for SoCal temperatures and had to buy sweatshirts and pants. Check the weather before you go and pack for temperatures in the middle. You do not want to pack for warm temperatures and it be cold or vice- versa. 


This tip I can't stress enough. I'm an overpacker and I've learned that packing for 2 weeks for really a 5 day trip is a bit overkill. 

  • Stick with a neutral color scheme, browns, blacks, greys, whites. If you wanna jazz it up bring scarves or jewelry that can add pops of color.
  • Take layering pieces ie: a dress that can have a cardigan layered over top.
  • Take pieces that can be mixed and matched and worn different ways. For example, a black romper that can be worn with converse and a kimono during the day and strappy sandals and a statement necklace at night. 
  • Pack outfits that you've worn before that are comfortable. Rompers, leggings and light dresses are cute, stylish and super comfy.
I know we all wanna look our cutest at the airport for those attractive pilots or a random passerbyer but wearing a dress, heels and jewelry on a 6 hour flight isn't the best idea. Wear comfortable clothes for your flight. Running shorts, leggings, rompers, maxi skirts/dresses or even a comfortable pair of denim shorts are all good options. Throw on a comfy t-shirt and sweater/cardigan/jacket and you got yourself a cute and comfy outfit! 

Wear shoes you can slip on and off. You'll be walking through security and probably don't want to spend 5 minutes unbuckling those sandals or un-tieing your laces.

Another thing don't wear tons of metal. If you can avoid wearing a belt, jewelry, etc., do so. Don't be that person who holds up the line. 

If you're only taking a carry- on maximizing suitcase space is essential. Wear your bulkiest items, sweaters/sweatshirts, walking shoes, sweats, etc., on the flight to save space for other things in your suitcase. Fortunately, I have enough room in my PI that I can pack my Nikes there instead of wearing them. 


If you're like me and love shoes then this might be a challenge. Take 3 pairs of shoes. One walking pair, one sandal and one dressy/nighttime pair. Your shoes should be able to go with any outfit. Also don't take your brand new heels for a night out. You'll save yourself the pain of having blisters and a limp. 


Don't take your entire makeup collection with you. If you're a beauty buff then this might be a challenge. Take your essentials, ie: you don't need 6 blushes and 10 lipsticks. Pack a shade that looks flattering during the day and night. 

Another tip if you don't wanna put on your makeup at the crack of dawn before you leave throw your makeup bag in your PI and apply your makeup before you land! You'll have a fresh face!


Make sure your are within the 3 oz. limit for liquids. TSA is very strict about it. You can either get empty bottles and fill them up with your own products or you can get cute little travel size ones. Places like Target, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens sell both.

If you don't want to take up precious space in your bag you can always buy travel sized items once you land to wherever you're going!


This is probably the most forgotten thing packed. Bring a plastic grocery bag to put your dirty underwear, socks and swimsuits in. There's nothing more gross than having them mingle with your clean clothes! 


Make a list of everything your bringing. This will help you pack so you don't forget anything at home or at your hotel. It would be a shame to leave your new top you just bought at the hotel. 


This might be the most important. Bring only the essentials. You can always buy things at your destination. Don't pack 10 pairs of jeans or bring 6 lipsticks. Pack on the lighter side because more times than not you'll do a little bit of shopping and be needing the extra room. 


Make a rough schedule of the things you will be doing during your trip. This will help a bunch so that you know what you're doing and can spread out your activities. 

Here's a rough schedule of mine:

Thursday: Land at airport, lunch, USS Midway museum
Friday: Balboa Park- museums and botanical gardens
Saturday: Beach and free day
Sunday: Zoo day
Monday: Free day, flight leaves at 4:30p


If you're a student most attractions offer a student discount. Just ask. It takes 10 seconds to ask and can save you a few bucks. Also some stores offer discounts as well. Just make sure to have your school ID with you.


If you're going to be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing you probably shouldn't bring you $400 Kate Spade purse. Instead bring a small crossbody bag. I love crossbodies for traveling because you have everything on your person, right beside you. Big cities that are tourist places attract pickpockets and thieves, that's the last thing you want to happen. Most stores sell crossbodies in a variey of shapes, sizes and colors. Target is a great place to find one that won't break the bank. 


Please, please, please don't bring with you $500 in cash. That's just asking for trouble. If you need cash bring $50 in a variety of bills. Or if you have a debit card go to an ATM throughout your trip and draw out money. 

If you're using a credit card/debit card make sure you have enough money in your account. Especially if you plan on doing a lot of shopping. Nothing would be worse than running out of money on your trip. 


No one wants to wake up the day of your trip all stressed and frazzled. Pack everything the night before and leave out your makeup/toiletries. You can always throw them into your PI bag. Make sure you have all the proper documentation, especially if you are going out of the country. Some airlines let's you print out your tickets from home so print them out the night before. Have your outfit laid out and ready to go. This allows for a stress free travel day and a few extra minutes of shut eye. 

Well that's all my travel tips and tricks! I know there are tons more out there but these are just the things that I've learned and have used before. If you want to see more you can search Pinterest for some or go check out my friend Lilly's blog for her travel tips and tricks when she went to Europe! 

Keep checking back for more posts in my travel series! Next up is actually what's in my suitcase! :)

Till next time lovelies!

"when preparing to travel lay out all your clothes and all your money. then take half your clothes and twice the money"

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