Summer Travel 101: How to Pack like a Pro

This story is from our partner, PopSugar! Twice a month we’ll share PopSugar’s best fashion tips and shopping guides. In today’s post you will learn the dos and don’t of packing like a pro for your next summer vacation:

Summer Travel 101: How to Pack like a Pro

Now that summer is upon us, it’s time to prep for upcoming summer travels with a refresher in minimalist packing. Because as much as we love feeling ready for any dress code, it’s not exactly fun lugging around an overpacked bag, either. Cutting down on what makes it inside your weekender bag has everything to do with staying calm, cool, and collected. Ask yourself: What’s the weather going to be like? Are there any formal evening events involved? Is there room to recycle outfit pieces? Those answers should help shape the contents of your packing strategy, along with employing a level of self-restraint, of course. Read on for our quick tips for packing (light) like a pro. Have one to share? Do so below!

  • Don’t underestimate the power of making a list. Write down the bare essentials of what you’ll need for your trip, wherever the final destination may be. Key word here is basic: bras, underwear, socks, a pair of jeans, a warmer layer for the evenings, a chic go-with-everything dress, and so on. Then, follow your list without exception — it’ll help you to not go overboard when you start digging into your wardrobe.
  • Do be reasonable. Override that voice in your head trying to convince you that you absolutely need six tops for a three-day trip. You don’t…and the practical you knows that.
  • Don’t skimp too much. If you know that you’re going to a wedding with formal dinners planned every night, then yes pack a few extra dresses. The trade-off? Include a neutral-toned pair of ankle-strap sandals that go with each outfit, so you don’t have to overload on the shoe front.

The Ultimate Summer Style Guide for Her

  • Do roll your clothes instead of folding them. First of all, it minimizes wrinkles and therefore you don’t have to worry about the quality of your hotel iron. Second of all, it frees up a lot of space for other traveling necessities.
  • Don’t forget to pack a great belt, a pair of statement earrings, and a classic pair of flat sandals. When in doubt, these things will come in handy.
  • Do adopt Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama’s recycled-outfit policy. Unless you’ve been out hiking all day, or rolling around in the sand, there’s a very good chance you can wear certain wardrobe pieces more than once in a single trip. If you first wore your white sundress with a jacket and cute espadrilles for a casual night out, turn said sundress into a beach cover-up for day two — just a thought!

Do you have any tips for packing light like a pro?

Leave them in the comments below and happy travels everyone!

XO Team LC

More Stories from PopSugar:
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Keep Calm and Carryall: The Best Bags to Tote All Summer
Kick Off Your Heels: 15 Flats to Live In All Summer

Source: J.Crew
Categories: Grow, Travel
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  • Sarah Heckle

    I’m so bad at overpacking, especially when it comes to dresses and shirts. I just never know what “”mood”” I’ll be in and what I’ll want to wear. I think list-making would definitely help me!

  • Caitlin Maureen

    I’ve never heard of rolling your clothes instead of folding them. It does sound like a much better idea though! I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Katelin Absher

    I always roll my clothes when I travel it really gives you so much more room!! Great tips!!

  • Justine Trocchia

    Great tips! I actually wrote a “”listing writing how-to”” back in February on my blog. This may be helpful for some readers as well :)

  • Sarah @ Sequin Doll

    Such great tips! I would also suggest consolidating makeup choices by bringing one palette that has all the eye colors you need, a palette that has a blush/highlighter/bronzer all in one and one foundation instead of also bringing a BB cream/tinted moisturizer also. If you want a lighter coverage, just mix your foundation with your day moisturizer and you’re good to go!

  • Jacque

    “”Do be reasonable.”” Best advice! I suggest packing in browns or blacks. Black belt, black shoes, black skirt. This will make it easier to mix and match for days you want to recycle clothes or you simply change your mind about what you want to wear.

  • NidLid

    Love these tips! So helpful :)

    And I would love it if you guys took a look at my fashion/beauty blog!:)

  • suzanne

    Packing is always a bit stressful, so these tips will come in hand :)
    Suzanne from

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    Great tips! Packing has always been a difficult activity for me. But I’m proud to say that I am getting better at it! I find that making a list is really very helpful for me.

  • Rachel Trampel

    Great tips! Definitely need to remember these for packing!

  • Valeria Alvarez

    Great tips!!! love the one of rolling the clothes instead of folding them :)

    <3 Val

  • why_vette

    I put tissue paper on top of my clothes and then I roll to help minimize the wrinkles…On this site I’m sure most all of us here have extra tissue paper to use when packing…that’s my tip!!

  • RachaelWorthi

    When I know that I’ll be shopping on a trip, I fold my clothes to pack for the way there, and roll them for the way back home. I find most of my clothes take up more room folded than rolled, and I end up with enough extra room for my new purchases!

  • Lindsay Adams

    Use every inch of available space – roll up underwear and socks and tuck them into shoes. And for things that are ok to wrinkle (cami’s, workout clothes, PJs) roll them up and tuck them into weird little open spaces that are often created when you put shoes in your bag.

  • Katy Lord

    Rolling not only save space but as mentioned, wrinkles clothes less! Especially great for skirts and dresses.

    My tip is to lay out your outfit for everyday, assuring a couple pairs of shoes will cover all outfits. Allow an extra pair of underwear or two; and be sure to “”recycle”” (as noted above) when possible! For example, on a summer trip, I’ll put a pair of shorts with two different tops. I’m super visual so laying out my outfits is the perfect way for me to prevent over packing!

  • karina kaboom

    i would recommend packing in advance and packing medicine, bandaids and all beauty and clothing essentials. if your looking for affordable nail polish

  • Harmony

    Good tips. I traveled for a year on a personal tour throughout all California beaches and all I took is a tote bag with toiletries, laptop in my oversize purse with cameras and a carry on bag. I also pack a cross body bag so when I reach my destination or want to shop or sightsee, I pull out the cross body and leave the big purse in the room,

  • Katja Anni

    Great tips! Rolling clothes definitely helps! I travel heaps and for shorter trips I pre-mix a small batch of light foundation with moisturiser (ideally already with inbuilt spf!). But I only do that with products I know my skin is fine with and of course test-drive the mixture at home first 😉 Helps esp if you only travel with carry-on and can’t go over 100ml bottles.

  • Sofia Alleyne

    Thanks! Such a great tips. Keep posting stuff like this…

  • Jackellyn

    I’m actually in the process of packing, leaving to NY at 7am tomorrow. I’m definitely overpacked but only taking a carry on. Telling the tale on my blog.

  • Tiffani Stuart

    Making a list is a MUST for long trips, or trips far away. And if you’re going with a buddy- talking about things you can share on the trip. For instance:

    *If you bring the tooth paste, she can bring her curling iron
    * She brings the Shampoo & Conditioner, you can bring body wash & shaving cream…

    Things like this are good, because often times it saves money on buying toiletries for the trip, and also, frees up your bag for things you really want to bring or buy on the trip.

  • Ashley

    These tips are all great! I have something to add to the list idea (which is crucial!). After you have made your list and packed the essentials/basics, know that’s it’s perfectly fine to bring along extras if you have the room for it! “”Recycling”” outfits and shoes is incredibly helpful too!

  • Tiffani Stuart

    and when I say Buy on the trip– Of course I’m talking souvenirs & clothes/accessories! :)

  • Christine Bishop

    pack all of your liquids in Ziploc baggies! You wouldn’t want to ruin your dress now would you?

  • English bELLE

    All of these tips are so great! Especially the “”Be reasonable”” one, we all tend to over pack! Living Bi-coastaly, I’ve learned to always make a check list and ALWAYS pack these things:
    – key items (credit cards, ID, and flight booking number)
    – Charge our iPod, laptop, and phone. Stock up on reading materials and snacks (or you’ll be paying for a $10 mini salad)
    – Wear shoes that are easy to slip off at security (I always love my Tom Toms or Uggs)
    – Wear leggings or jeans and a long sleeve shirt to combat the chilly plane temperature
    – Make sure you have all of your cords and chargers!
    – ALWAYS bring a long scarf or travel blanket, neck rest, and eye shades (nothing like catching a snooze on the plane to recharge for a fun trip home!)

    I posted about this exact topic on my blog a few months ago, check it out if you’d like! :) – Love Always, Elle from English bELLE

  • Franci Gire

    Good tips. I always roll up my clothes before I pack. It makes everythin fit easier too.

    Visit my blog today for super cute dresses and other clothing on sale at Tulle right now. Floral dress for $15!


  • Alyssa Dawson

    Such good ideas! Some how I always overload my suitcase and I end up not being able to carry it!

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Raven Locks

    Ok…I don’t know why I didn’t think about rolling my clothes instead of folding before. lol. These are awesome tips!

    xo Azu

  • Rachel

    Have already made my packing list for my trip next week! Love packing tips!


  • Tif

    I am a HUGE list writer…for EVERYTHING…especially trips! lol I have my list for this weekend made and one for the end of the month so far! It’s so much easier making the lists because while you’re writing things down, other things you may have forgotten will pop in your head!

    Also, I try to keep old lists to compare to later. It’s nice if you are going somewhere that has similar weather so you kind of have an idea of what you needed and what you didn’t really need on your trip! I have a folder on my computer that has most of them in there… :)

  • My Style Diary

    Lists are my holy grail.. they just keep everything organised and I usually don’t forget anything. :)

  • photosbyjaana

    sunglasses. i can bring less makeup and rely on sunglasses for a good portion of the traveling

  • Jennifer Calise

    Great advise! I travel a lot and almost always find myself over packing or under packing when trying to spare room.Comes in handy when im about to leave on a 8 day trip to Mexico and can only travel with one suitcase!

  • Teawithtash

    Buy small containers for your beauty products, instead of buying travel sized ones. It’s way more cheap and you can control how much you will need. 😉

  • Stefie

    I was with a guy once who rolled his clothes instead of folding them when he packed his bag and I was so shocked and gave him a lecture about how you need to fold your clothes instead of roll them, oops! 😛

  • Taylor Borcheller

    My family travels a lot, so I’ve picked up some useful hints that make everything a lot easier. These are things you might not have thought of as something you need to take care of, but I’ve found that they make travel SO much easier.

    1. Buy a thermos. Aside from being able to nix toting around tons of empty plastic bottles, thermoses can handle a variety of drinks, hot or cold. They keep soup nice and toasty or can be used to pack a quick salad. Also, the metal ones are nice and durable, so you’ll always have a water bottle when you need one. (Bonus: thermoses come in all sorts of cute shapes, sizes, and designs. Waaaaay more chic than bottled water)

    2. Keep a stash of feminine supplies in every suitcase and purse you own. Invariably, you’ll forget to stock up on these essentials during pre-flight packing trauma and be stuck in the middle of an airport feeling like you’ve wet your pants. And those midnight emergency runs in an unfamiliar city to WalMart?? Not fun.

    3. Make sure all your maps are current, and double check the GPS. Road construction or closed roads can sometimes double your driving time, particularly during rush hour in big cities.

    4. Get all of your laundry done at least the day before you’re scheduled to leave. Also, check your washing machine before you go: leaving wet clothes in there over the weekend is a recipe for disaster (speaking from ashamed experience).

    5. Grab a granola bar before you hit the road, along with a banana. I would say to bring an apple, but airline companies don’t really appreciate sticky armrests.

    6. Don’t check bags. It’s costly and just adds to the stress of airline travel. If possible, consolidate all of your trip essentials to your carry-on: you don’t need three pairs of high heels, and most hotels have hair dryers that will work just as well as your own.

    7. If you do check bags, tag them with your name, phone number, and mailing address in clear print.

    8. Put all of your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face wash, etc. into travel sized bottles, then put the travel bottles into a Ziploc, and then put that Ziploc into another Ziploc. I swear to god, my soap has a personal vendetta against the other contents of my suitcase.

    9. Bring a sweater or jacket to wear or tie around your waist. From camoflauging any unfortunate leaks, spills, or that gum you sat in on the tram, to keeping you from freezing your butt off at the gates, a sweater or jacket is a must.

    10. Car charger for your cell phone. Your battery will probably be spent from that “”Words with Friends”” marathon you had when your flight was delayed, so recharge it as soon as you get the rental car so you can look up directions, book a hotel room, or contact your friends.

    I know that was a mouthful, but hopefully I didn’t just state the obvious and actually gave some useful tips :)

  • Nikki

    I’m pretty good at packing because I make lists and don’t forget essential items, but I’m a chronic over packer. I know I’m over packing when doing it, but I figure as long as there’s room in my bag I can take more things so I have options.

  • Jodie

    Rolling your clothes instead of folding is the ULTIMATE tip. My friend taught me that when I was a junior in college (and studying abroad!) – revolutionary. I travel a lot and I like to take jewelry with me so I keep boxes/bubble wrap to store it safely. I also learned the hard way to not let my makeup bag out of my sight, whether on a plane or in a car. It’s always in my main purse so it doesn’t have too much motion and no powders/eye palettes get broken. (Although I accidentally knocked my powder to the floor the other day so it broke despite my best efforts…)

  • hannah

    when I’m going to some other places for a vacation, I packed my things earlier so that I can still figure out what are the things that I need to include. It is so hard left important things. I love to travel during summer but there are also some things that I can do at home to enjoy my summer. Check this out: My Summer Ideas.

  • Alex Galerkin

    Thanks for the tips!

  • autumnmay

    I am not really good in traveling. My mom is the only one who always prepare my luggage whenever I have a trip. Well, your tips will surely help me a lot to do packing of my things. Thanks for sharing.


  • Nikki. C

    Instead of traveling with your clothes exposed to dirty shoes- wrap them in a plastic bag, or put them in your shower cap.



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