I’m ready to get away!

Summer officially starts on Thursday and in this area the kids will finally be out of school today! That means a summer getaway is probably not far behind.  So what can you do to make the escape easier on you from start to finish? Pre-planning and packing light.

If you are going by car with endless room you may not worry about it, but if you are flying, packing can be a challenge.  I always want to take things I usually don’t wear at home; you know that cute maxi-dress you bought on your last tropical outing that’s a bit on the wild side for wearing out to dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze it in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days and how many outfits can you realistically wear?  Do you plan on an outfit for day and change for the evening?  Think back, did that really happen the last time?  If you are in a bathing suit all day are you really going to get dressed for dinner and is the location you are going to require something more than a casual outfit? These are the questions to ask yourself.  If you are not going to the beach, is it a climate that might need a heavier layer than a t-shirt?

With these answers we move on to selecting what to bring. Also think about creating your own travel checklist.  I started one several years ago and tweak it every time we come back from vacation.

First pick a neutral shade as your base color.  You can do this for either the tops or bottoms, but I would suggest it be your bottoms for the most flexibility.  According to where you are going that may include jeans (dark is preferable as they can go dressy or casual), a skirt or dress and a pair of slacks (again maybe a pair of the trendy soft pants or an ankle pant). In tropical locations, I always bring a denim skirt and opt for sun dresses over shorts for comfort.  And remember, neutral does not always mean black and tan.  Gray and navy work really well to maximize your options. I always use the fewer bottoms to tops ratio when packing and if you are going to a warm destination, always consider that you will only wear the top once (unless it’s a layering piece), particularly in the summer..

Select tops to add color and interest to your outfit.  If you brought along a pattern bottom, you can opt for a solid top or you can really go trendy and use another pattern as long as both patterns have the same dominant color.  No matter what tops you select be sure that each top goes with at least 2 bottoms to give you maximum options.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  I would recommend gold over silver jewelry if going to the beach to avoid damage to the silver, but whichever you choose, only take one metal color. Or opt to bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. A belt in either silver or gold is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.

Did you remember a small purse for evening and shopping? And don’t forget your pashmina for the plane, train and evenings out.

There is plenty of debate on the best way to pack all those clothes; fold, roll, bundle or investing in wrinkle resistant clothing.  A recent article I read suggests the best method is a combo and I would agree.  I started using packing envelopes over 10 years ago and just loved them particularly for a trip that moved around a lot.  Then 2 years ago I was given a set of packing cubes by the tour company we were using to go to Europe.  These were even better.  I had one for undergarments, sleepwear and scarves and another for dresses, pants, shorts and tops (in this one I rolled the bottoms and folded the tops). It keeps your clothes neatly folded, maximizes space and you really don’t need to unpack.

Put jewelry inside your shoes so you use every inch of space.  Swap out the jewelry for dirty clothes on the way home.  And if at all possible, wear the bulky item on the plane. Trust me on a long trip the only people that will notice that you wore those same jeans 4 times is you because you had tops and accessories to make it look like a totally new outfit.

Enjoy!!

What outfits are hiding in your closet?