It’s spring break season, which means it’s time to pack our bags and hit sandy beaches or big city sidewalks! Whether you’re headed for a tropical island or a bustling metropolis, we’ve got the style tips for putting together a cohesive mix-and-match wardrobe that will not only seamlessly transition from casual to dressy, but will also save you a pretty penny on excess baggage fees. Liz Stoner, from Birmingham’s J.McLaughlin, shares her tips for smart packing for a five-night vacation. Here’s what to bring — and what to leave at home — to get the best out of your travel experience!
7 Packing Tips from a Local Style Expert
1. Pick a color palette for your travel wardrobe.
Before you start packing, pick a color palette that you want to stick with. This will give you more mix-and-match options. “I’d go with no more than four color options — and yes, black and white both count,” says Liz Stoner, J.McLaughlin Birmingham store manager. For this tropical wardrobe, we’ve chosen black, white, blue and taupe. “Taupe, blue and black are our anchor colors, while white can be intermixed in any color palette. And especially in a tropical wardrobe, white is always a staple.”
2. Start with the basics.
Start pulling the basics, which obviously depend on your destination and the weather. “If I have tickets to the Paris Opera House, then I’ll pull the outfit I want to wear to that event right away,” says Liz. “Then I pull the other miscellaneous pieces, building around that outfit and my core essentials. Ideally, the outfit you wear to the opera is versatile enough to be worn again for another occasion.”
3. Double up on your comfort clothing.
“What article of clothing is most you?” asks Liz. “I’m more of a skirt person, so if I’m going on vacation, I will definitely bring more skirts or dresses.” Liz suggests doubling up on your comfort clothing items so you’ll feel at ease in your home away from home!
4. Shoes are made for walking.
For some of us, shoes are our main accessory. So the thought of not taking our favorite sandals, booties, heels, wedges, flats and sneakers to show off in a new town is ludicrous! But shoes take up valuable baggage space, and the point of the trip is to soak in the beauty, not to show off your shoe collection to people you’ll never see again. So keep it real. “For a five-day trip, take — max — three pairs of shoes,” says Liz. “One good walking shoe, one pair of sandals and one nicer wedge or small heel for dinner.”
5. Bedazzle your travel wardrobe with smart jewelry and colorful accessories.
“You’re sticking to versatile neutral colors in your clothing, so get bright colors through jewelry, scarves and accessories,” says Liz. “And it’s easier to pack these than a red top or a coral skirt that doesn’t go with anything.” Choosing pieces that you can transform from a long necklace into a doubled-up shorter one or bracelet adds options without taking up space. And, if possible, don’t bring expensive jewelry to save yourself the worry of losing it. Also, you might find some terrific vintage earrings in the city or a tropical necklace on the private island to sport in celebration of your fabulous vacation!
6. Make most of your luggage real estate.
Put the heaviest items, such as shoes, on the bottom. And, if possible, take your bulkiest sweater or large cashmere throw with you on the plane to save luggage space. “I like to do what I call the flat roll,” says Liz. Also, it takes willpower, but leave a little breathing space in your bag for souvenirs and gifts. You don’t want to have to buy an extra bag, pay excess baggage fees or look like a bag lady on the plane, but you definitely want to surprise your besties with a token from your travels, so save that space.
7. It’s all in the carry-on.
“You want to make sure all of your essentials are in your carry-on,” says Liz. She includes toiletries and prescription medications, chargers and converters, your passport and any valuables, like jewelry, as well as a change of clothes, in case your luggage is late. And be sure to include a bathing suit and cover-up so you can still enjoy the destination sans suitcase. Our friends at Brownell Travel have this super helpful carry-on checklist to ensure you have everything you need!
Have a great trip wherever your travels take you!