Whether you are planning a short staycation in your own town, visiting relatives, or going exploring, packing for a vacation always presents some challenges. Personally, I’ve strived to pack exactly what I need in one carry-on, no matter how long I go touring around the world. My challenge, therefore, has always consisted of knowing when enough clothes are packed, and unsurprisingly, what skincare products should come with me. The latter I will leave for another blog post as I still haven’t exactly nailed that part down. In this post, I’d like to discuss my packing list.
Last year I went to Europe for three weeks, and first experimented with the idea of only packing a carry-on, no matter what. While I certainly managed that, I ended up not wearing several of the outfits and a pair shoes at all. In this packing round, I’d really like to avoid it. So, here’s what I am doing this time:
1.Make a List
As I started considering what to pack, I decided (unsurprisingly) created a Numbers spreadsheet detailing what I might want to take with me. As before, my plan is to pack enough clothes for seven days, which really means wearing seven different outfits, including whatever I wear during the flight.
Making that list helped me consider each item at a glance, and allowed me to continually reconsider what I truly needed and what items I may need to grab before my vacation. I could also determine the colors I’ll stick with in one glance, though in my case it’s incredibly easy since my collection is already highly edited to easily mix and match. Whether you are a planner or not, the key here is NOT to willy-nilyly throw outfits into your luggage without giving them some thought.
2. Plan for Different Occasions
If you decide to make that list, I recommend considering whether you really have enough options for different occasions. Honestly, I’ve read this recommendation before, but I always disregarded it. Fast forward to my travels as I realized I didn’t pack anything to wear to a nice restaurant. Going to Italy this summer, I know I won’t look as chic as the amazing women I saw during my last time in Italy. I mean, seriously. Who can look this good riding a bike? Wearing a skirt? And heels? Certainly not I.
Nonetheless, I know I will do my best to at least look like an elegant tourist. I made sure to include items that can either transition from day to night (looking at you, Cuyana silk tops!) by adding a nicer necklace and a pair of heels. I also included dresses, since I feel like these are an easy pick that can, again this is key, play double duty when accessorized.
3. Do You Love What You’ve Packed?
Another consideration is whether you truly need and love every item you pack. For example, during my last vacation to Spain I packed two pairs of jeans, but ended up dumping one pair as I traveled since I simply didn’t want to wear it and needed some space in my carry-on. It was a pair of jeans I almost never wanted to wear at home, so one wonders why I took in with me in the first place? Once I donated it, I didn’t feel like I missed it at all. This time I am only packing two pairs of pants: one comfortable pair of black pants for the flight and one pair of jeans.
4. Where and When Are You Going?
Another reason I like making a packing list is due to the fact that different trips require different clothing, and so relying on all time favorite outfits may not work out. Vacationing in the middle of July means packing lighter clothing, but since I want to strive for elegance in Italy, I decided not to only pack t-shirts but mix it with nicer items. while there’s very little chance I won’t look like a tourist anywhere I visit, I still want to make sure I feel comfortable in my chosen attire wherever I go. As you pack, think about the clothing most people are likely to wear where ever it is you are going, and take note. This will give you a clue as to what is culturally acceptable, and perfect for that particular climate.
By the way, this also holds true for skincare products. My skin is quite different when I’m away from home. This usually leads me to packing a variety of creams (heavy and light) when traveling, just in case one is too heavy or not heavy enough.
5. As you Pack, Remember Your Shopping List
Simply put, when I pack I try not to take anything that I intend to buy while traveling. During this trip I intend to buy several pairs of shoes, as my shopping list for the year has been curiously devoid of such plans. As such, I decided to really minimize the shoes I plan on carrying with me, because… well, why bother carrying something I’ll be buying soon?
This is something you should definitely consider as you pack, especially since anything you buy does have to fit somewhere. This is pretty much why I am leaving half my carry-on totally empty.
What I Packed for Two Weeks:
Since I’ll be visiting Israel and Italy I decided to focus on clothing that suits really warm weather, but that still could keep me looking elegant as needed. Not pictured are a new Mata Traders dress I was lucky to find on eBay, and a pair of Birkenstocks I’ll be using for days that are heavy on walking around.
This is a total of 7 outfits, including the one I will wear when flying. I think it’s always preferable not to look like one is wearing one’s PJs in public, so I opt for nice but comfortable outfits. Please, I beg of you travelers. Let’s stop making the airport a place where it’s acceptable to wear sweatpants. You have other comfortable clothes, too!
What are your packing rules? Any fun vacation plans? Please share in the comments below.