Summer Vacation Essentials: How to Pack Light With Endless Outfit Options
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Who else is ready for a summer vacation?! I would give a limb to get out of this apartment for a few days haha. We are exactly two months away from our move back home to Little Rock, so naturally I’m planning all of the things we’re going to do when we get back, from home remodeling to vacationing. While the actual vacation is a blast, the getting ready part is a little less fun, am I right? I’m sure if I asked you all what the least enjoyable part was, 90% of you would say it’s packing. I used to be the same way. I wanted to take literally everything in my closet for a 5 day trip because “you just never know.” Only to come home and have to wash an entire closet’s worth of clothes and/or hang up 25 things I never even wore. Friends, there is a better way! So today I’m sharing how to pack light for summer vacation without limiting your outfit options!
**all items in the graphic above are clickable!
one // Carefree Vacay Spotted Playsuit | two // Button-Up Crepe Top | three // Chloe Long Necklace, Sunburst Coin Necklace, Crescent Charm Necklace | four // Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee, Crewneck Muscle Tank | five // Block Heel Slide Sandal | six // High Rise Mid-Length Denim Shorts | seven // Straw Panama Hat | eight // Retro Straw Crossbody Bag | nine // Easy Knit Midi Dress | ten // Denim Jacket | eleven // Crochet Kimono | twelve // Vivienne Sunglasses | thirteen // Low Back One-Piece Swimsuit | fourteen // Turkish Beach Towel | fifteen // Cary Sandal | sixteen // Beachfront Tote Bag | seventeen // Espadrille Sneaker | eighteen // Tiered Mini Smock Dress
My Summer Vacation Essentials & Tips for Packing Light
I know what you might be thinking. Our styles aren’t exactly the same, so how is this going to work for me? That’s ok! Just take the guidelines that I lay out in this post and apply them to your style. Also, remember this post is geared towards a summertime getaway, so if you’re going on a business trip, for example, just dress up your layers and accessories.
Base Layers (5 total)
Be sure to pick these out first. These items will be the ones you can wear multiple different ways without anyone ever noticing, especially if you opt for neutral colors and simple patterns. You can do SO much with a graphic tee and a midi dress. One of my favorite party tricks is to knot an oversized tee over a dress. All of a sudden, you have a totally new outfit!
- 1 basic tank or silk cami
- 1 tee (this can be basic or graphic. I prefer it to be loose fitting for more layering options.)
- 1 casual knit dress (I love this midi, I just bought it in 2 colors!)
- 1 little white dress (shop all my favorites here!)
- 1 romper (that can be dressed up or down)
Pro Tip: If you prefer bright colors or had a specific dress in mind for the trip, replace the white dress or the romper. Try to keep this number at 5 to maximize space!
Top Layers (3 total)
The top layers are the real key to giving yourself endless outfit options. Opt for neutral colors and patterns to ensure that they go with anything you pack. A good denim jacket is the easiest way to dress down your outfit from the night before. Also, think of things that can be used different ways. A kimono for example, can be used as a swimsuit coverup while also giving you a cute layer to add over a dress or a pair of cutoffs and a tank.
- 1 denim jacket
- 1 button down shirt
- 1 kimono or other swim coverup
Bottoms (2-3 total)
For the most part, I find myself wearing more dresses and rompers on summer trips, so I’m usually able to get away with just my favorite pair of denim shorts and either a pair of light jeans or breezy trousers.
- 1 pair of cutoff shorts
- 1 pair of casual pants (jeans or other)
- optional: 1 skirt
Shoes (3 total)
This is really where you want to stick to neutrals to get the biggest bang for your buck. I know, three pairs of shoes seems like it wouldn’t be nearly enough, but trust me, it is. The key is to try and match every pair of shoes with as many pieces of clothing as you can. It’s amazing what you can do with a pair of cute, white sneakers, honestly.
- 1 pair of flat sandals
- 1 pair of (comfy) heeled sandals
- 1 pair of white sneakers
Pro Tip: I highly recommend choosing your shoes after your clothing and before your accessories.
Accessories (5 total)
- 1 crossbody bag
- 1 tote (that can double as a beach bag)
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 straw hat
- 1 set of layering necklaces
- optional: 1 belt
Swim (2-4 total)
Pro Tip: Choose a simple one-piece suit and all of a sudden you have a bodysuit that you can pair with your cutoffs! More outfitttttsss, yas please.
- 1-2 swimsuits (depending on your trip)
- 1-2 beach towels (depending on how much time you plan on spending at a beach or pool. This one is super thin and easy to pack!)
P.S. Don’t forget your undies and pjs!
That’s just about 20 items total! Only 10 of them being actual pieces of clothing that will take up space in a suitcase. How many outfits can you make out of these things? I’m counting at least 22 outfits, and that’s without swapping out shoes and accessories! Crazy right?
Shop My Vacation Essentials
More Tips for Packing the Right Way
- Start by selecting the items you tend to reach for most in your closet, followed by special pieces you had in mind for the trip. From here, you can eliminate what doesn’t work.
- Once you’ve selected your items, try on each outfit (accessories and all) to make sure it looks like what you’d pictured in your head.
- Consider taking a quick mirror selfie so you don’t forget what outfits you put together once you get there.
- Roll your clothing, don’t fold it. This will give you so much more space in your suitcase + your clothes come out less wrinkled.
- Wear some of your bulkier items on your travel day to save space. (denim jacket, tote, sneakers)
- Use your tote as an extra piece of luggage. Use it to transport shoes and accessories (or road snacks, most likely) if you need the extra space.
About The Outfit
This cute little romper is from Chicwish, and I am obsessed. I love the spotted print and the flouncy bottom. The fabric is SO light and breathable, making it perfect for hot days and summer vacations. I paired it with my favorite little straw crossbody from Amazon, a pair of lace up sandals, and my new straw hat. You could so easily swap the flat sandals for a heel and instantly have the cutest little date night look! Wearing a size small in the romper!
I hope you all enjoyed this post and learned some valuable tips on how to pack light for summer vacation! Where are you going this season? I’d love to know below in the comments! And also, just for fun, how many outfit combos can you come up with from my graphic above?! Comment your number below! Hope you all have the best week, and as always, thanks for stopping by.
I really really needed this for my vacation to Florida because I always overpack! Thank you for doing this post- it’s amazing.
Ahh I’m so glad it was helpful to you! I hope you have a wonderful trip!