Use Every Trip to Learn

One of my tips is to take photos of the items you take on vacation. Then, when you return, make notes of which items you used, any items you didn’t use and any things you needed to stop and buy along the way.

In July I had the good fortune to go to Whidbey Island for the first time. It was for a family wedding. My son-in-law’s sister was getting married and we got to spend an entire week on the island getting ready for, and celebrating this most special occasion! I also got to spend the time with my daughter, her near three-year-old, and their new one week old baby. I feel very blessed to have time with my son-in-law, Ryan, and his amazing family who I count as my own family!

So here’s what I brought on the one week trip:


CLOTHES: 2 sweaters, 4 tops, 2 dresses, jeans, leggings, socks, 3 underwear, belt & Birkenstocks (not shown).



Personal Care items


OTHER: Books, computer, phone, camera and lens (not shown), and charger cords.

What I didn’t use:

  • Black long sleeve top.
  • Silver tank top.
  • It was warmer than expected, so the jeans and bulky ivory sweater were worn just once.
  • Face makeup used once, really could have done fine without it.
  • Books. With my new grand baby and my near 3-year-old granddaughter, plus the other family events before and after the wedding, there was no time for reading really.
  • Earplugs. This was just for emergency as I hate earplugs.
  • Aleve. But, still good to have in case.
  • Bandana. But, works for so many things from a hanky, to hair tie, to napkin…it’s worth packing.

Fun surprises:

  • Having a washer and dryer is always a plus. You can easily take these same items and go on vacation for more than a week, if you can do laundry.
  • My new duffel bag (not shown) is a little bit larger at 12 x 24 inches than my original one. It held all these items with ease, while also being easy to carry via the shoulder strap.
  • Loading the weather for the city I’ll be visiting on my phone and watching it for a few weeks prior to my trip helps me pack. I still always bring layers and options to go a bit colder or warmer than the average temps for that area.
  • I didn’t have to buy anything, other than food, to complete our stay. I always worry I’ll forget something, but the more you travel the easier it gets to hone your list for your own unique needs.
  • When you have less, you actually tend to get more creative. I used my eyeglass case as a holder for my phone so I could watch videos.



My eyeglass case ended up being an ideal stand for video viewing on my iPhone!

I was one of the photographers for the wedding and this is my favorite shot below. It captures that moment when bride and groom were going to do what is called “the reveal photo” where they see one another for the first time on their wedding day…but at the last-minute they choose to wait until they walked down the aisle.


Sarah & Collin on their wedding day

I encourage you to learn as you travel by taking photos and pausing to reflect upon what was used or not needed with each trip.

What tips do you have about traveling light? Please post them in the comments below. 


  1. kimflournoy says:

    Good idea! I’m planning to do this on my next trip – I always overpack, due to “what if I need this?” syndrome.

    Also – you might want to check your formatting – your captions are really long, and are running off the side of the page and breaking your page layout.


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