I am a huge advocate for the Happy Planner! Not surprisingly, I have an embarrassing number of sticker books, and I’ve even cabbed from one Michael’s to the next looking for a new release. 👀 I use the Happy Planner for everything! Here, I want to share with you how I use the Happy Planner and accessories to help me pack for vacation.
First and Foremost
If you’re unfamiliar with the Happy Planner, have no fear! It’s a planner system held together with discs, making it easy to add and remove pages. There are tons of expansion packs and sticker books that help guide your planning process. They have planner systems specifically designed for teens, moms, teachers, crafters – the list goes on! I chose my base planner based on 1. My preference of the vertical daily format (some of their planners also come in a horizontal format) 2. I like the size of the classic planner (you can also get the BIG, mini, and micro) 3. The design of my current planner! You can shop for planners and accessories online at their store: https://shop.meandmybigideas.com/ or at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann’s and Amazon. Some people have even seen HP at Walmart. Sometimes they will only release certain products at certain stores (hence why I spent way more than the cost of shipping on cabs to every Michael’s in Chicago). New releases tend to sell quickly, so if you see something you like, I recommend grabbing it! Also, you can usually find their products on sale or use your coupons at Michael’s and Joann’s.
Now on to Packing
I have made many packing mistakes in the past. Those mistakes always involved not packing enough, packing the wrong items, or not packing the right type of shoes (story of my life). After many trials and tribulations, I’ve got it! Make sure you scroll to the end and grab my Ultimate Carry-on Packing List (it’s FREE)!
What I Use:
- A Happy Planner (I use the “Enjoy the Wild Side” Classic Planner, you can find it here)
- The Travel Sticker Book (you can find it here)
- Filler Note Paper (you can find it here)
As I mentioned, I’ve had many trips where I just didn’t pack enough, or I didn’t pack the right type of clothes. So step 1 for me is to check the weather! Read blog posts about where you’re going, that are specific to that time of the year. For example, I knew to expect extremely humid weather in Belize for the time of year we were going based on my research. Knowing this was crucial! When I look up the weather, I take notes in my Happy Planner – I write the forecast near the date at the top, so I can go back and reference it during my planning period. I recommend writing this in pencil, until the week of/week before since we all know how the weather is 🙂 Knowing if you should expect rain/snow or hot and humid weather will keep you from making my most repeated mistake: the wrong shoes.
Once you have an idea of what climate to pack for, you can better plan your outfits. At this point, I add in what events will be taking place on each day of the trip. For example, on my most recent trip to Cancun we knew we were going snorkeling on Thursday, and we had a nicer dinner reception on Friday. Each restaurant has a dress code, so I made sure to note that in my planner as well. This will give you the bones to guide your packing. Also, start brainstorming what else you’ll want to pack, aside from clothes. For the snorkeling trip, I wanted to bring my underwater camera! Note: this is also when I add in our flight times and info using some of the stickers provided in the Travel Sticker Book.
Using the filler note paper, I start brainstorming outfits, shoes and accessories. I even list how I’d want my hair to be, in case I need to pack certain hair products, curling iron, accessories, etc. Using the snorkeling in Cancun example, I planned for a bathing suit, a dress coverup, sunglasses, flip flops and a beach bag. For dinner, I wanted to wear my favorite maxi, cute earrings, dressy shoes and my hair curled. Knowing these things ahead of time will help you pack the essentials, and keep you from over packing. Historically, I would pack so many options and when the time came to choose (already on vacation), I’d be so dissatisfied with all of them! Note: don’t forget pj’s, undies, bras (especially if you plan on needing a regular and a strapless).
Once I’m satisfied with my outfit choices, I (personally choose to) go back and write each outfit in on the designated day in my planner. I like being able to see my week at one glance – and having the extra sheet doesn’t allow for that, so I toss it. Feel free to do this or skip 🙂
When that is complete, I use the Packing List sticker from the Travel Sticker Book and start with the most important items. For Cancun, #1 was my Passport. #2: Seasick bracelets. #3: Phone charger, etc. etc. This should include all of the accessories, shoes and clothes you’ve decided on, any medicines or sunscreen, and any toiletries, hair brushes, etc. you’ll need. Note: sometimes I have to use two stickers!
Sometimes my Master Packing List will include items that I still need to purchase. For these, I’ll choose a time a few days before I leave to run to the store. On that date in my planner, I’ll use the bullet stickers to list out everything that I need to buy. Going on a trip requires remembering so many things – I rely heavily on my planner to help me from keeping mental lists before trips. Write it all down! I even remind myself to ask my husband what he needs from the store lol.
This is also when I write down which day I plan to get a spray tan, highlights, waxing, etc. Having it planned out a week or so before leaving helps me relax and not feel overwhelmed by everything I need to do. Note: I even write down which day I want to start packing!
Once you’ve done your shopping, it’s time to pack! When packing, I first pull out all of the things on my list, and lay them out on my bed. As I do this, I lightly check off each item from the master packing list. Then, as I place each item in the suitcase, it gets crossed out. I have forgotten so many items during those dark pre-planner times, that this double-checking process sets my mind at ease! Note: for toiletries that I cannot pack until the day we leave, I still make sure to follow this process so I don’t forget anything!
You should feel extremely prepared for your trip at this point. So sit down with a glass of wine and a face mask and let the anticipation of your upcoming trip build! Or, if you can’t sit still – I find that adding decorative stickers to my Happy Planner helps, too. 🙂