18 Feb 2019

Vacation - What’s in my Suitcase?

Today's post is a bit different than my usual format, but I thought I'd give it a try! I figured some of you might be interested in what/how I pack my suitcase for a vacation. Being a super organized person, I know I'm always looking at what people pack and how they do it. I feel like I've somewhat perfected the art of the travel capsule wardrobe and of packing light, but smart! So here is a glimpse into my suitcase for my tropical mini-moon.

This trip wasn't our official honeymoon (the big one will be this summer), but we still wanted a mini getaway somewhere warm for some much needed R&R. Seeing as we typically go to a tropical destination this time of year, we liked the idea of sticking with the familiar. We opted for a week at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic. 

Having gone on many of this type of vacation, I knew exactly how to pack. I know what our typical day looks like on a resort and knew I needed beachwear (obviously), some dinner looks, a few casual bits and bobs and some workout gear. Over the years, I've realized exactly the amount of clothing for each of those categories. With me so far? 

Here is where my insane organizational obsession kicks in (it has its perks!) Back in the summer of 2013, I got this app that completely changed my life! It's called Stylebook and is basically a virtual closet. I have my entire wardrobe and accessories at my finger tips and this is how I plan my outfits and keep track of my closet's content. It is revolutionary! This app has many very useful features, but for today's post, I'll focus on the option of making Packing Lists. When I plan what to bring on vacation, it all starts with creating a new packing list in my app. I start adding pieces of clothing or outfits to the list and work from there. I try to stick with a particular colour palette because this capsule-style packing helps maximize your wear per piece. I usually start by adding all the items that I feel like bringing and then tailor the list once I select a palette or vibe. 

I know myself well enough to know that I like to bring one swimsuit per day of vacation. I find that swimsuits don't ever completely dry in the humid heat of the tropics and if there is one thing I don't like, it's putting on a wet swimsuit! For that reason, I always bring a lot of swimsuits. They don't take up much room in a suitcase and they are the clothing I spend most of my time wearing while on vacation, so this is totally justified! On a side note, I suggest packing a few wet swimsuit bags for the trip back home. I get mine at La Vie en Rose or Old Navy for a few dollars. Totally worth it! I instinctively pack one whenever I pack a swimsuit, it's a great habit to get into.

Next up is the cover-ups or sarongs. I'm all about that fancy or matchy beachwear, so I go all out! I don't have very many opportunities to dress up for the beach, so I make the most of it on vacation! I try to only pack a few of these and make sure they mix and match well with the swimsuits I brought. I like to wear each one at least twice to justify packing it. I'll admit I brought five this time around and only rewore two of them. Not the best track record, but I could not decide which ones not to bring. Again, they are usually thin pieces that don't take up much space. 

Another category that is totally optional is workout gear. I like to workout while on vacation and most resorts have decent gyms. I find it creates a bit of a routine and I thrive on routine, so I work out. It's as simple as that. I make sure to pack a few outfits to have options. Also, workout gear is a great thing to wear of excursions or for travelling, so you could always bring a few pieces as back-ups if you're not into working out when on vacation.

Ok, now let's talk shoes. Footwear can take up a lot of space in a suitcase so I like to think long and hard when selecting my shoes. I always bring a pair of running shoes and usually wear them for travelling because they are the bulkiest. Beach vacations call for flip-flops and I like to bring at least a couple pairs to switch things up. You also never know when one pair might hurt so having a back-up is a great idea! I also like to bring other strapy sandals and flats. Again, having options is not a bad thing. Finally, I settle for one pair of heels as evening footwear. I try to pick something that will go with all the evening looks. Hint: metallics are neutral and go with everything!

Speaking of evening, I like to pack a few dresses or jumpsuits to wear to dinner. For a week-long vacation, I figure I need a minimum of six dinner looks. I try to stick with three pieces that I wear twice each. I'm only wearing them for a couple hours at a time, so I in order to justify bringing these bulkier items, I need to wear them at least a couple times to make it work my while. I do switch it up with different accessories and add a jacket or cardigan in case some nights are a bit chillier. For this trip, I brought a couple jumpsuits and one dress. We don't have to get super dressed up for dinner, but I still like to look put-together.

Finally, a beach vacation wouldn't be complete without a fair dose of straw accessories! I always like to pack at least one hat and beach tote. A clutch for evenings is also a great thing to bring. You might just have a room key and phone to carry, so it doesn't have to be too big. I opted for a fun pompom hat, a straw tote with striped handles and a straw box clutch. They were my most worn/used items, so although they are bulky, they were worth packing!

Last but not least is the casual clothing. Since most of our time is spent wearing swimsuits or dinner wear, there are very few opportunities to wear much else. I try to stick with one or two pairs of shorts that I can mix and match with a few t-shirts and tank tops. I typically only wear these pieces for breakfast or excursions, so there is not need to over pack. We like to get room service for breakfast, so that's one less outfit per day! I remember packing way too many shorts and t-shirts on my first vacation, so I've learned to only pack what I need now. I also try to see what I can layer and wear on the plane as a way to minimize content in my suitcase. 

Once I've made all my looks and figured out exactly what to pack, I go to my app and it generates a packing check-list so that I don't forget anything! This is the best thing ever! It lists things by category so no frantic rummaging in the closet. Once I gather everything I need to pack, I pull out the suitcase and get cracking. 

I am proud to say that I managed to pack 24 outfits and 70 articles of clothing in a carry-on sized suitcase! I am a fan of rolling my clothing as I find this keeps things from wrinkling and helps maximize space. I also stick socks and undergarments inside my shoes, I stuff my hat with swimsuits and pack other items around it. My hats have never lost their shape during travel, so this method works well. I'm also a fan of packing cubes. Seriously, if you do not have these, go get some! They help you organize your clothing and act as little suitcase drawers. They are seriously an awesome invention! 

I didn't take pictures of the packed suitcase because I was cutting it close on timing, so I'll be sure to snap pics of the inside of my suitcase for our next trip. Be sure to check-in during the week to see vacation outfit posts! I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know if you liked it and want to see more of these! 

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