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HELP! I’m leaving for a 20-day Europe backpacking excursion (aka only getting to pack 4 outfits I re-wear again and again), immediately followed by a wedding + week at the beach in NYC which I have to pack for pre-Europe.
No clue what to pack or how to even wrap my mind around it, but I want to look less travel-shabby and more beach-chic, if possible.
Packing for a vacation, no matter the length, is an endeavor not for the faint of heart. But as you’re gearing up to fill your suitcase this summer, remember that packing does not have to be (and most likely won’t be) perfect, and it can be simplified if you keep several tips and strategies in mind.
- Stick to the basics. Sticking to versatile, stress-free basics doesn’t mean that you can only pack white tees and denim shorts, but think practical and functional (e.g., leave behind the top that you can only wear with a certain bra that requires some adjusting…) and pack pieces that easily complement each other and can be worn multiple ways for multiple occasions (e.g., simple sheath or wrap dresses, sleeveless shells, and tailored shorts usually fit this bill). No matter what, I always recommend throwing a pair of dark jeans in your suitcase — they’ll come in handy more often than you think.
- Choose your palette. Planning outfits ahead of time and packing pieces based on a central color-scheme will eliminate on-vacation indecisiveness or possible mismatching. Neutrals are typically the easiest on which to base your vacation wardrobe, but if you’re comfortable with basing a week’s worth of outfits all around cherry red, then more power to you.
- Bring on the accent piece(s). Since accessories can quickly change the look of an outfit with minimal effort, I recommend packing several different styles of pieces. Scarves take up little space in your suitcase as do statement necklaces/earrings and belts, so if you pack more than you’ll wear, it’s not a big loss.
- Pay attention to wrinkles. The last thing you want when you make it to your destination is to find that your packed clothes are nothing more than a wrinkled mess. Plan ahead in the packing-phase and opt for fabrics like knits and blends that tend to be more wrinkle resistant. Brands, such as Banana Republic, also boast wrinkle-free pieces that may be worth a try. Another tactic is to roll your clothing before placing it in your suitcase, rather than folding which can lead to harsh creases.
- Don’t pack anything you would be (too) upset to lose. From lost luggage on airplanes to items snagged from a temporarily abandoned beach towel, you just never know if you’ll make it home from vacation with everything you packed. Be selective in what items you take with you and consider leaving your Prada bag or Tom Ford sunglasses at home.
Bonus Tip! Shoe strategy. We all know how a quick shoe change can bring an outfit from day to night, but shoes tend to take up so much valuable suitcase space. Try out a new shoe strategy by picking your shoes first (keep it to no more than three pairs) and your corresponding clothing pieces after. That way, if you are dead-set on showcasing one particular pair, go ahead and pack them, just make sure you can wear them with at least three to four different outfits.