You guys have asked me to cover what I pack on longer international trips and how I plan outfits–trust me when I say it has taken me many trips to really get it down to a science. I still find myself majorly under-packing purely because I hate packing and try to breeze through it as fast as possible. However, in turn, it has helped me realize the the amount of clothing I’m bringing (which is not a lot) is actually fine.
Over-packing (the whole better safe than sorry mentality) actually creates more problems. The more options, the more decisions, the more problems (IMO). Plus, it leaves less space for shopping and the inevitable overage charges at the airport, especially on the smaller planes. They key is to pack pieces that are versatile and can be mixed and matched so they can be worn differently. No one wants to be a repeat offender on vacation (plus, hello, pictures!!).
I’ve found that sticking to the basics with a few novelty items sprinkled in is the way to go. Depending on your destination–stripes for Italy, lots of white for Greece, florals for France, bikinis for tropical islands, etc.–you should narrow down the “theme” of the trip. I like to have fun with my outfits when I travel. Even though I would consider my style very simple in everyday life, I like to stick to a theme when I travel. Once you decide on your style for your trip it will make the entire packing process a lot easier.
Here is my overall checklist when traveling internationally (during the spring or summer for 7-10 days):
Dresses. I’ve always been a fan of dresses in general since it’s basically an entire outfit and they take up less space. I like to roll mine to maximize the space in my luggage and also it helps keep them somewhat wrinkle-free. Typically bring 3-4 dresses.
Rompers. Like dresses, it’s one piece that is essentially an entire outfit. I find rompers and jumpsuits so comfortable, especially if you’re walking around all day, that I always pack 1-2.
Tops. I like to bring 1 cute tops (think: ruffles or off the shoulder) and then 2 t-shirts or tanks to go with a pair of shorts or jeans.
Shorts + Jeans. One of each. Choose wisely, aka a medium wash, so that they can be worn with just about any type of top.
Bodysuit. Or a one-piece. Looks very cute & polished with jeans and can be worn on the beach as well. All about versatility.
Bikinis. I bring 2 per day. No joke. It’s totally excessive and unnecessary but I change twice a day if it’s a beach trip. However, if you’re normal (unlike me LOL), then 4 suits should be just fine for a week-long trip.
Denim jacket. I always bring a white denim jacket because it goes with just about anything. I would bring a blue denim but if I wanted to wear it with my jeans then I can only do that once since denim on denim is very specific (and memorable). I don’t usually bring any other jackets on trips with the exception of the sweater I wear on the plane. I need something comfy and warm.
Hats. I always struggle with hats. I hate packing them and Paul hates carrying them, which is why he’s usually walking through LAX with a stack 5-hats deep on his head. BUT, again, if I was normal I’d bring a white panama (very versatile) and a straw for the beach in a different color.
Sandals. I prefer a flat, strappy, nude or black sandal for the night. I NEVER pack heels, like ever! Unless I’m going to a wedding, you will never catch me dead in heels on a trip. It’s super unrealistic and uncomfortable for me. There’s usually cobblestone everywhere and with all the walking involved it just doesn’t make sense to me. A cute sandal is just fine for the night.
Slides. Perfect for the daytime outfits and can be worn to the beach as well. I’m currently obsessed with slides so I really hope they stay “in” for life. I also suggest bringing a pair of nude flip-flops since they are very compact.
Sneakers. I typically wear them on the plane since they tend to be clunkier, but then they come in super handy on days that you’re walking around all day. I think sneakers can be super cute with dresses so find a pair that is comfy and cute.
Sunnies. I usually bring a couple pair but stick to more simple ones so they can be worn with anything.
Backpack. Or a cross-body bag. Something that can be comfortably and securely carried all day.
Clutch. For the nighttime. Stick to the essentials–ID, money, chapstick, phone.
SPF. Duh. But in general, I try to downsize all my beauty products into travel-sized bottles so save space. My biggest struggle is always the toiletries since I have to bring my entire skincare routine with me, but since I go light on the clothing and shoes I have the space in my luggage.
Other things to pack:
-Chargers–phone and camera
-Kindle or books
-Pills / vitamins
-Curling iron (I never bring a blow dryer since hotels have [a crappy] one)
-Underwear / bra / socks
-Plane clothes (for the ride home)
-Accessories–jewelry, headscarves, etc.