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I used to be a serious over-packer. It wasn’t until I started traveling  (and losing my checked luggage) that I realized what a hassle it was to over-pack.  You’re forced to check your luggage because you brought your largest suitcase.  You need to sort through your clothes and repack your suitcase over and over again to keep things neat.  You don’t wear half the things you bring.  Who needs all that?!  I realized I had to stop over-packing.  I bought a small rollerboard suitcase and decided not to check my luggage again. No matter trip length or destination.

After some trial and error, I discovered the perfect formula for packing light.  I used my packing light strategy on a recent trip to Mexico.  I traveled between Christmas and New Years  for five days and nights.  With these five simple steps, I was completely prepared for my trip.

Pro Tip:  Lay everything out on your bed or floor before you put it in your suitcase.  This way you can easily assess your packing, and edit as needed.  I always remove at least 2 items from my file piles to ensure I’m not over-packing.

  1. Versatility is the name of the packing game. 

I consider the versatility of everything I pack.  If a dress can be worn as a beach cover up during the day and dressed up with a sweater at night (like the T-Shirt dress), it’s coming along.  I brought my Band dress because I knew it would be perfect for dinners out.  One night I paired it with a cropped sweater and another night with a jean jacket.  Two completely different outfits; you’d never know I was wearing the same thing twice.

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Always think about layering.  I brought 2 short dresses: 1 black and 1 navy.  They were casual enough to walk around downtown and could be layered with a sweater or jacket for cool dinners out. 

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Basics tees are perfect for vacation.  Throw them on over a pair of shorts, or layer with a jacket or sweater when going out. 

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I love wearing white button downs with shorts.  For me it’s a comfortable and classic after-beach look.  

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Cool night strolls and early morning sunrises call for a jean jacket and breezy wrap scarf.

The Pack List:

  • 2 short dresses
  • 1 maxi dress
  • 3 basic Tees
  • 1 white button down
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 cropped sweater
  • 1 jean jacket
  • 1 pair of PJ’s
  • Undergarments

 2.  Think mix & match when it comes to swimwear and activewear

There was a time when I’d bring five bathing suits for a five day vacation.   But those days are long gone.  Now I travel with bathing suits that can be mixed and matched.  I do the same with my activewear.  I choose 1 pair of shorts and a couple lightweight tops I can wear for morning workouts or an afternoon hike.

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I mix and match these 2 different bikinis to make 4 different combinations. 

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I bring my lightest activewear while traveling.  It takes up very little room in my suitcase, so I don’t feel bad it if never gets used!

The Pack List:

  • 2 mix and match bikinis
  • 1 beach cover up
  • 1 Turkish towel
  • 2 lightweight workout tops
  • 1 pair of running shorts
  • 1 pair of joggers or leggings
  • 1 lightweight long-sleeve tee or sweatshirt

Pro Tip: I typically have active vacations, mixing different off-resort activities with hanging at the pool.  As I usually spend half my day out of a bathing suit, I bring just one beach cover up and utilize my shorts and tees as beach gear.  You can adjust and bring more beach cover ups and less shorts/tees based on your needs.

3.  Choose neutral footwear

I always bring neutral footwear that can be worn with everything in my suitcase.  I avoid bringing a pair of shoes that I’d only wear one time.  I also try to bring lightweight shoes – like my minimal sneakers – that take up less room in my suitcase.

 

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The Pack List:

  • 1 pair of casual flip flops
  • 1 neutral wedge
  • 1 casual sports shoe (as minimal as possible)

4.  Invest in travel size products, and always think about your skin

I stock up on travel size products whenever possible, and keep them together in a small bin under my sink.  When I’m ready to travel, I have almost all of the product I need at home already.  The most important products I consider – especially when going away to the beach – are for my skin.  I always bring a serious sunscreen and body butter for after-sun moisturizing.

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Travel size body butter, natural deodorant,  dry shampoo and body serum 

The Pack List:

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • Face and body mositruizer
  • Favorite makeup
  • Hair brush

Pro Tip: You don’t need to bring your entire makeup bag with you on vacation.  If you have a small travel size makeup bag, you can pick a few of your favorite products to bring along.

5.  Ditch your purse for the week 

You’re on vacation.  You shouldn’t be carrying all that around anyway.  I consolidate everything I need from my purse into one small clutch, and keep the clutch in my beach bag.  While traveling, the beach bag acts as my purse, and goes under the seat in front of me on the plane.  I use the clutch for dinners out and walking around town.

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I always have a good book and magazine to read on the plane.  I like to have easy access to my Turkish Towel to keep warm. 

 

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I pack my bathing suits and undergarments in my Brass dress bag to keep my suitcase neat and organized.

The Pack List:

  • 1 rollerboard suitcase
  • 1 beach bag
  • 1 small clutch
  • I Brass dress bag

The last thing to consider is your outfit for the plane.  I always wear layers so I can easily transition from cool temperatures to hot, hot, hot.   You’ll notice a I pulled a few items out of my pack list above to wear while traveling.  Less in my suitcase means less stuff to lug around.

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The Travel Outfit:

  • Tank Maxi
  • Lightweight long-sleeve tee
  • Jean jacket
  • Scarf
  • Casual sneakers

Travel safe and pack light this winter season.  I promise, you won’t regret it!

 

January 03, 2016 by Katie Doyle
Tags: Basic Life

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