How to pack like a pro...

How to pack like a pro...

Ok, you’ve booked a plane ticket, you’ve found the best hotel, you’ve checked out the local restaurant reviews. Now it’s time to pack the perfect bag!

PLAN FOR ACTIVITIES

One of my absolute favorite things about planning a vacation is choosing what outfits to pack, what accessories to bring, and making sure my wardrobe is on-point for the destination. It’s one of those type A habits that I refuse to break.

It helps to think about any activities you’ll be doing and consider any special dinners or meals. What outfit will you wear fishing? Probably something light, with a sweater or jacket to combat wind. What about hiking to a beach for a lunch picnic? You may want something versatile, sweat proof, with a bathing suit underneath. Dinner date? Will you be walking? If so, those high heels might not be practical, but a flirty dress paired with sandals might be the perfect solution. Plan ahead and you’ll be prepared with the right outfits for each occasion! If you're unsure what will be on the agenda, do a little research beforehand to see what the top attractions are and pack accordingly.

 Laying out my outfits ahead of time, helps me to visualize how much I am packing.

Laying out my outfits ahead of time, helps me to visualize how much I am packing.

FIND OUTFIT INSPO

I end up pursuing Pinterest endlessly for outfit inspiration. One of my favorite things to search is airport style! I am always looking for an outfit that can go from 8-hour plane ride, to sight seeing, back to the airport lounge seamlessly! Let me tell you, it’s tough to find that balance between comfort and function, but there are a TON of outfit ideas for all of your travel needs on Pinterest. Just start searching! 

CHECK THE WEATHER

This may seem basic, but I can't tell you how many times I have been surprised about the weather at an upcoming destination. There could be rain in the forecast or a heat wave. Depending if your vacation is in another continent, it may be a completely different season. Even if you are going someplace warm, you should always plan on chilly mornings and evenings. While I am considering weather, I usually pack my own sunscreen, a hat, and some powerful bug spray (depending where I am going).

 When I have time, I will sometimes try on my outfits! Just to make sure they look how I envision in my head :) 

When I have time, I will sometimes try on my outfits! Just to make sure they look how I envision in my head :) 

PACK MULTI-PURPOSE ITEMS

The key to packing light is to pack items that will serve multiple purposes. For example, I always try to fold up a beach tote in my checked bag. I end up using the tote at the pool, at the beach, out shopping, etc. At the end of the trip, I might use it to stash dirty clothes or as a second carry-on for my souvenirs. A structured jacket is also a good multi-purpose item. I almost always wear a structured jacket over a t-shirt or tank and paired with leggings in the airport. I end up re-wearing the jacket throughout the trip in the evenings, if it's chilly. 

STREAMLINE YOUR TOILETRIES

Before you toss in your make-up bag and toiletries, think about what you will actually use. I always take the opportunity to clean out my make-up bag before a trip. Eyeshadow I haven't used in months? Leave it at home. Crumbled bronzer? Don't need it. I actually narrowed my makeup bag down to about 10 items before a trip to Africa and I never looked back - even for my normal at-home routine!

As for toiletries, if you are staying in a hotel where they provide toiletries, you really only need a few essentials: deodorant, tooth brush & toothpaste, razor, and face moisturizer. I tend to pack all of these in my carry-on, so I have it with me at all times. A few other items I can't travel without: floss, q-tips, hairspray, and perfume. Word to the wise: if you are traveling somewhere hot and humid, you may consider skipping all of the fancy hair products and just go for the all natural look! I never pack a blow dryer and I rarely use a curling iron or straightener, even when I pack them. If the weather is too hot, I tend to just air dry and throw my hair into a bun or a braid. If you think you'll do the same, save yourself the room in your luggage and leave the appliances at home. You won't miss them! 

 Our carry-ons before a trip to Greece!

Our carry-ons before a trip to Greece!

DON'T FORGET ACCESSORIES

You want to pack light, but don't underestimate the power of accessories on vacation. Throw in a pair of bright tassel earrings that can go from day to night. I always pack a hat or two, depending where I am going: baseball cap for the airport and hikes, sun hat for the beach, bandana for the pool. Aside from my larger purse, I also try to bring along a fun clutch for evenings. Ta-da! I am ready for anything.

And there you have it! Plan ahead and you'll never be caught on vacation without the right shoes or outfit. Plus, you'll pack lighter and won't leave the house with that "did I forget something?" feeling.  Happy travels!

 

My favorite restaurants in Lincoln Park...

My favorite restaurants in Lincoln Park...