Packing Strategy 7: The Journey Home

Updated June 22, 2020.

Welcome to our last installment (for now!) of Packing Strategies. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series. I have some more fun posts queued up in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back soon!

You made it! You packed your best bag, didn’t have anything taken away at security, got to keep your luggage on that tiny regional jet, and you had a blast on your trip! But now you have to get home with all your stuff and your souvenirs, too!

Not so sure how it can be done? You’ve come to the right place. I once brought home a 35-piece set of formal dishes from Switzerland. And I didn’t have to leave behind anything else I brought! I did have to borrow a small roller board from my friends there, but I got it all home, and nothing broke! You got this, and I’m here to help you make sure!

Packing Strategy 7: The Journey Home

When you’re packing to come home, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind:

1. Look Around

This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s a basic point that I often disregard (and I’ve left things because of that–conditioner, earrings, etc.). So, take a last look! While I’m in a room, no matter how many nights, I try to keep everything I unpack pretty close together and in consolidated spaces. It has kept me from losing more things for sure! It’s always good to stay organized, and always good to do just one more walk through to open all drawers and look in all closet spaces before you check out.

Oh, and do the same thing in the overhead bins on aircraft! My sweet husband Steve seems to always be losing things in flight. This includes pullovers, earbuds, thumb drives, and even an expensive GPS watch! I know you’re tired and ready to get off that plane as soon as you can, but you’ll be sad when you realize your lucky earbuds were in the back corner of the bin, and you didn’t take a second to look!

2. Use What You Have

This one goes for bringing home breakable souvenirs. Steve and I collect Starbucks mugs, and that’s pretty much the only souvenir we bring home with us. Overall, that’s a pretty inexpensive souvenir, and we never forget where we got it!

But even if it comes in a box (maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t), sometimes that box is flimsy and not great for packing. So what do you do? I do one of two things: 1. Wrap breakables up in clothes and try to keep them either at the top or in the outer pocket of my luggage (so I can keep an eye on it); or 2. Wrap it up and rig it in the middle of my luggage, packed tightly with lighter things like clothes (as opposed to shoes or toiletries) so it won’t move around. That is the real key–make sure it doesn’t move!

Our mug collection from all over the world!

And that’s exactly how I got 35 pieces of a formal dish set home in my luggage from Switzerland. I wrapped each piece individually and made sure they were tightly packed (and very padded with socks and such).

3. Make Room

This one may require a bit of pre-planning. An easy way to make room for souvenirs is to get rid of things you packed. I keep clothes that happen to be on their last threads and just plan on packing them for trips, then leave them there. I almost never take gym clothes, PJs, socks, or undies that I plan to bring back home with me. It makes room and makes for a lighter pack on the journey homeward!

4. The Unclean

That’s right, laundry. By all means, bring a separate bag for your dirty clothes. It can be a plastic grocery bag or a fabric bag, whatever you like. I usually prefer plastic in case something is wet, like a bathing suit or a shirt I needed to rinse out before going home. And it’s best if you can fold or roll them like you did when you packed at home. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Be sure to check out Packing Strategy 1!) I know it may sound silly to roll your dirty clothes, but they will pack up much better that way.

Dedicated Laundry Bag

5. Pack Your Patience

Lastly, and everyone’s favorite–patience! Sure, you’re rushing to get out before check out time, you’re ready to get home, etc., but you’ll do yourself a favor by slowing down and re-packing neatly instead of shoving things in willy-nilly. This piece of advice comes not from me, but from my husband! He is a packing shover, but he always regrets it. Things get lost, broken, or they just don’t fit back into his bag when he shoves in a hurry instead of rolling and putting toiletries and other items away neatly.

Do you have anymore strategies for packing to come home? Comment below and let us in on them! For more Packing tips and strategies, check out my Packing Page!

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