How to get the most out of your next Vacation

June 30, 2015

Before you can blink  we will be in full on summer and vacations will be on everyone's calendar if they're not already.  I have  made vacation plans and now it's time to pack.  A little over two weeks from now I will be in Southern California!  Are you going somewhere?  Today I want to share tips on packing which for some is a nightmare.  Are you an over packer?  You know the kind... she has three bags for a weekend getaway. Or what about a last minute kinda gal?  She throws whatever is clean in her bag and hopes it matches.  Or the worst..... The over thinker of your choices? This is the gal who has laid out her choices on her spare bed three weeks in advance, has a diagram as to how it goes in the bag, and is constantly changing out items only to find that the change has a domino effect in other outfits.

Make a List
Arriving at your destination and realizing you have missed packing something vital will ensure a mini meltdown.  Having a packing list will help.  As soon as you book your trip you should start with your list, so that you can add things as they occur to you. Starting your list early offers a fail-safe for your packing; hopefully you will not forget anything important.  Below is a standard list that almost ever trip requires.  You will want to tailor and build your list for your destination. 

So lets break it down

How to Pack:

Start by gathering the basic items you can mix and match through out several outfits.  This would consist of your tanks, solid tees, and at least one striped, one LBD, denim shorts,  and a khaki jacket. These items will be the foundation to your travels so having good versatile items is a must.   Depending on the climate of your destination,  this could also consist of leggings, boots and a wool hat for colder, and a cover up, comfy sandals, and a straw hat for warmer temps.  This brings me to the next step.

Check the weather.  Knowing what the temperature will be is your compass for packing correct items.  I will never forget the first time I took the boys to San Francisco.  It was summer and naturally we expected it to be warm and sunny.  After all, we were in California!!  To all our surprise it is windy and colder by the bay with the breeze coming in off the water and we were freezing.  Now it made sense why so many gift shops were selling fleece jackets!  They new dummies would come unprepared like us! If your destination is to a different country, research the culture and styles of what woman are wearing to prevent you from arriving and feeling uncomfortable in your wardrobe. 

Choose your color scheme.  If you are headed to say Florida, you would probably pack pastels or lighter colors.  However, if your destination is say Seattle, you would pack more utilizing colors.  Which ever your coast or destination is, pack a few key neutrals to mix and match.  A maxi skirt is a solid neutral color, a pair of denim or khaki shorts, one long sleeve top (in case evenings get chilly or rain blows in).  Now add a few color pieces that will mix and match.  More than one color is great just make sure they are compatible as well.  Refer to this post on The Color Wheel for ideas of what works.

Shoes for Every outfit.  Shoes are the bulkiest items to pack and you will waste valuable real estate in your suitcase if you don't choose wisely.  If at all possible wear your biggest pair of shoes traveling. Think of the types of activities you will be doing to help you select the right shoes.  A nice pair of classic heels, a pair of ballet or foldable flats, a good pair of walking shoes like tennis shoes, and of course a pair of sandals.  If you are headed to a city rather than a beach destination switch out the sandals for a pair on ankle boots. Tip:  Pack smaller items in the empty space between the pairs of shoes to save room. Roll up your swim suit, socks, undies, any small items are great.  

Lay it out.  This is very similar to how you would plan your weeks outfits.  Lay your selections out on the bed placing items that will work in several outfits side by side with the item between them.  Visualization is key here to a successful outfit instead of a panic in a hotel room.  Count your days and count your outfits.  Tip:  Always have one item that is for emergency purposes, generally a top or shift dress.  You will use this item in case of a spill or tear in what you have planned out.

Accessorize.  Now that you have everything laid out on the bed, start placing your accessories on the outfits.  A nice statement necklace for evening perhaps in clear crystals so not to fight with your color scheme and it will go with everything.  Select two pair of earrings.  One longer... like a hoop or tassels, and one pair of studs like these.  A floppy hat is great if you have the room and even a scarf.    This is great to travel with in your carry on to keep warm on the plane.  Your hats should go in the center of your suitcase with small items in the hat to maintain its shape and other items rolled up around and on the brim of your hat.  You should ditch the bigger purse for vacay and stick with a tote to travel with and a cross body as your smaller bag.  Not only will your cross body allow you the freedom of sightseeing, and not be so heavy, but also a more secure way to keep your valuables while out.  Keep the cross body in front of you.  I see a lot of girls with their bags on their hips or even worse, behind them. You tote doubles as your carry on with your camera, reading material, bag, scarf, snacks, all your chargers  and whatever else you like.  Once you arrive your tote now becomes your shopping bag if you have a kitchenette or do a little souvenir shopping to place your purchases in. 

Beauty.  This can make or break a successful packing.  Try to find travel size items in all your toiletries.  If you can't find them purchase a package of empty travel bottles and fill them with your products.  A flat iron is pretty slim lined and can tuck neatly in the center of your suitcase to help protect it during travels.  Most hotels now offer hairdryers so that's a plus. Don't forget your nail polish.  You can touch up any chips your toes may encounter.  Tip:  Place your makeup bag in your carryon.  If your luggage for some mysterious reason doesn't show up when you do, you will at least be able to freshen up. And who wants to repurchase all of your makeup if it stays lost?!!! Not me!

Now that I have shared the essentials to summer travels, I want to share a few of the little details and my checklists.

Roll it up

Roll your clothes to save space and for items that tend to wrinkle bad, roll them up with a drycleaner bag.  Unpack your suitcase first thing to allow plenty of time for wrinkles to fall out.  A slight mist of warm water will also help on cotton fabrics to drop wrinkles.  Packing your bag efficiently can save you on checked luggage.  Most airlines charge a fee for the first bag and fees range any where from $25 to $75 dollars with a weight limit of 50 lbs.  That may seem like a lot but trust me.... you reach the weight limit quicker than imagined.  I have had to open my bag at the ticket counter to remove enough to reach right under the weight limit only to add to my already heavy carryon. 

The Carry on

To me my carry on is the most important bag of my trip.  Having the right items in your carry on is important especially if  you have ever had a piece of luggage lost.   I always keep my jewelry in my carry on and I like my makeup in my carry-on.  Finally, I keep a scarf, baby wipes,  my glasses and contact case, iPhone charger and ear buds, reading materials, hair accessories, laptop and charger.  

So, where are you off to this summer? 


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