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A fashion blog about weekend style


Packing with Purpose

Jessica Wagner

Traveling Light

Few things in life are as exciting as a pending adventure to a far and away place. 

We leave for vacation this weekend. It’s our first full week away from both kiddos since Coco was born – oh my goodness. While I am certainly ready for a week of straight up cocktails on the beach, getting there takes some serious strategic planning. (Not to mention, prepping the homestead for our absence.)

When traveling abroad I want to feel confident, comfortable and stylish while experiencing new people and places. Changes to the usual environment can be tricky, even when the journey is pre-arranged. Predicting aspects of the unknown can be managed with thoughtful planning. By taking care of travel concerns ahead of time, you leave yourself open and free to an enhanced experience.  

Know your destination and major modes of transportation. Are you traveling for business or pleasure? Will you be a sight-seeking tourist or nature-hiking adventurer? Carefully consider your activities, company and the destination’s culture. Do your research. Check up on the climate, and be aware of the ever-fickle weather. 

Compose a list ahead of time, and lay out all your options. I like to use my bed, but find a someplace that allows physical and mental space to edit. Carve out a block of time so you don’t feel rushed.

Once you have a proper list, take inventory. Select your basics, and build off of those. Look for versatile pieces. Choose colors and patterns that mix and layer easily. (Neutrals and stripes are my go-to.) Then, add key color palette items, like pops of coral or lush tropical shades. Rationalize shoes, and complete with accessories. Stick to your original list.

Now time for a confession: when it comes to packing for vacation, I’m usually the one with the most luggage. (It never fails!)

I’ve since learned to map out every detail of each outfit - top to bottom. As a repeat offender of over-packing, knowing exactly what I intend to wear and styling it ahead of time has made a huge difference. It relieves outfit-anxiety and decreases excess weight. Not to mention, it eliminates arriving back home, and to your wonderment, unpacking a bunch of items that never saw the light of day.

For this trip, we are beach bound and plan to spend most of our time relaxing on the resort, shopping the local market scene, and dining-out seafood-style. While I used to fear leaving something behind, and hence trudged it all along with me, I’ve learned to consolidate by staying focused. Tropic climates don’t require more than one set of jeans and a maybe a light sweatshirt.  Don’t worry about the “just in case” items and be deliberate with your choices.

Here are a few tricks I’m implementing this trip to save space and honestly make life simple, neat, and clean.


DO: Use travel size. This saves so much space and weight. Purchase travel size toothpaste/deodorant and transfer a small amount of your everyday facewash/shampoo /conditioner into travel size containers. Bring only what you need for the duration of your visit. Full size items are a no-no. Even better, if it makes no difference, use the provided toiletries.

DON’T: Bring shoes you cannot walk in. Those killer heels will literally kill after 10 minutes of walking down the strip. Avoid footwear that takes up valuable estate in your suitcase.

DO: Schedule a pedicure a few days before. When traveling I love not worrying about my polish chipping. And hello! Sandals.

DON’T: Bring those “juts in case items” you can purchase on location if necessary.

DO: Make sure you can lift your own bag. I’m speaking from experience here. My carry-on almost knocked me out once when I was lifting it down from the above airplane storage compartment. Not only was it super embarrassing, but who wants a fresh bruiser at the start of vacation?

DON’T: Over pack, leaving no room for special items or souvenirs you find on your trip.

DO: Keep the true valuables at home and stash anything precious you don’t want to lose on your body or in your carry-on. Once you arrive to your destination put the lockbox to use.

To summarize, be intentional with your choices.  Use logic and do your research. It will make traveling that much more comfortable and leave you free and functional to enjoy exploring the unexplored. 

Outfit Details:
Dress: Jessica Simpson (old, similar here) Hat: Brand unknown (similar here) Shoes: Michael Antionio Sunglasses: Forever 21 Watch: Michael Kors Lips: Nars Schiap Nails: Julie G in Oh em gee!

Where are you traveling next? Any packing tricks to share? Use the comment section below!