My top tips on how to plan the perfect vacation wardrobe.
With an upcoming trip to Europe, travel has recently been on my mind non-stop. I don’t just love to travel, but I truly enjoy the process of getting ready for a trip. While it can be stressful, I have packed a suitcase so many times in my life that I now have my system practically down to a science. (If only the same could be said for unpacking, which takes me weeks– ha).
I like to start my preparations in advance, in order to curate the perfect wardrobe for my whatever my destination is – pre-packing, if you will. Read on for my top tips on how to plan the perfect vacation wardrobe, and avoid a poorly packed suitcase!
Create a “mood board” to inspire your travel wardrobe.
One of the first things I do when I know I’ll be traveling somewhere is to create a board on Pinterest where I can compile my outfit inspirations. Every destination has it’s own vibe, which is important to take into consideration when packing and planning out your looks. You wouldn’t necessarily wear the same thing in Miami that you would in Paris, you know?
On the Pinterest board, I pin photos from celebrities, influencers, bloggers, etc. that I find on Pinterest itself, or that I’ve saved from Instagram. You can also just create a “Collection” folder of saves directly on Instagram, if Pinterest isn’t your thing.
Doing this helps me create a visual game plan of what kind of outfits I want to wear on my trip. This also helps me figure out whether I already own the right pieces to create the looks, or if not, what pieces I’ll need to buy before the trip.
Create a visual depiction of trip.
I’m a visual person, so I like being able to plan out my trip in a visual way. To do so, I will often take a piece of paper and section it off in the amount of days my trip will be, just like a calendar. Then I will fill in any activities I know of in advance; for example, a fancy dinner reservation, specific sightseeing plans, etc.
(Fun fact: I actually take this to the next level by creating elaborate Word documents or Keynote presentations for myself so that everything is typed out in an extra-organized way. I call this being thorough, but you may call it being OCD… lol)
Creating a trip layout helps me figure out exactly what outfits I will need to bring with me, and actually helps me to not overpack or spend money on the wrong things. I find that the more specific I am able to get, the less likely I am to fill my suitcase up with things I don’t need or don’t end up wearing.
Note: do this BEFORE you start shopping!
It’s tempting to go on a wild shopping spree as soon as you’ve committed to an exciting getaway, but if you’re being conscientious of your budget, you need to figure out your specific wardrobe needs first. By jotting down the days/nights of your trip, along with a general itinerary, you can better plan specific outfits and asses what your wardrobe is actually lacking.
When traveling, I often plan outfits from the feet upwards, meaning I start with footwear. This is because we pack fewer shoes than clothes, and they are the most specific to activities. For example, if you’re going to be doing a lot of sightseeing and/or walking, you’ll need to bring outfits that go with sneakers – which may be quite different from outfits that you’d wear with say, sandals.
Sure, you may be envisioning yourself sightseeing in some adorable outfit complete with a pair of strappy sandals, but ultimately, function should come before fashion during travels. Being realistic may not be as fun or as fashionable, but it will better serve you!
👉 Speaking of sneakers, I bring a pair on 99% of my travels!
Don’t forget about dress codes.
Self-explanatory, but make sure to consider any potential dress codes for restaurants or sites you’re planning on visiting during your trip. In particular, religious sites often have stricter dress codes that you’ll want to account for when packing your suitcase prior to your trip.
Invest in multi-functional pieces.
Since you’re working with limited space (a suitcase), it’s ideal to pack items which have multiple uses.
One of my personal favorite examples of this are my rubber Birkenstock sandals, which can be worn as regular walking sandals, but are also waterproof. This makes them suitable for walking around town, the beach or pool, or even wearing them in the hotel shower if you’re a germ freak like me, making them multi-functional.
Another example is a one-piece swimsuit, which can double as a bodysuit and pairs with skirts, shorts, and jeans, just as well as it stands alone on the beach.
Save your travel-sized products.
I have an entire drawer in my bathroom dedicated to travel size items that I get from my monthly Birchbox subscription, Sephora samples, etc. By collecting these small bath and beauty items, I know I always have a stash to choose from when I am packing for a trip, rather than using them randomly. (Of course, if there’s a product you’re interested in buying, don’t save the sample– go ahead and try it out before you buy the regular size!)
If you travel often, I definitely recommend signing up for a beauty subscription box like Birchbox or Play! by Sephora. They’re generally around $10 a month, and in addition to letting me try out a bunch of different beauty products, I have a constant incoming flow of travel-sized items that I can use on weekend trips, vacations, etc.
Note: if you tend to be sensitive to products, this may not be the best strategy for you. You don’t want to try something new while you’re away that may cause you to break out or have a bad reaction! Use your best judgement.
Create a personal packing list.
This is especially helpful to those who travel frequently – I recommend creating a list of items which you always need to bring with you on any trip (i.e., phone charger, glasses, vitamins/medications. etc.) save it on your phone or computer, or print it out. Doing this is much more effective than a mental checklist, because you’re bound to forget something when you’re solely operating on your memory.