Summer travel is here, but with it comes a lot of frustration: long lines, delays and cancellations, lost baggage, and high prices on airfare. Your trips are going to require a lot of patience. Hundreds of checked bags are not getting to their final destination. If you’ve ever been on a trip where your bag doesn’t arrive, you’ll know the stress that comes with that. Let’s talk about how to pack light for summer.
Unless I’m on my way home and have purchased more items than I have room for, I don’t check a bag. When I do, it’s only on my way home and I never pack things I bought in my checked bag, or things I can’t live without, in case it goes missing.
I’ve packed for two weeks in a single carry-on for two of us, and a personal item for our electronics, snacks, and toiletries. I’ll be doing the same for our upcoming trip to Paris, because we’ll be flying on budget airlines, but for now, let’s look at how I suggest packing for Las Vegas (and any other summer destination you’ll be visiting).
I generally go with 3 bottoms in a solid color. For warm destinations, I take two pair of shorts and a pair of capris. I then take a versatile dress that can be dressed up or down. Men can bring a pair of lightweight slacks. These can be worn on the plane to avoid having more pants that you don’t need.
The bottoms I bring are usually all in one neutral color family (tans or black/gray), so they can go with every top I bring. I’ve shown brighter colors here, because maybe you’d rather do neutral tops and fun bottoms, but also because it’s easier to see than a bunch of black pics.
You want to make sure every top goes with every bottom, this way you can maximize your travel wardrobe and not bring a ton of pieces. 4 tops will give you a bunch of options (12 distinct outfits). I choose items that are moisture-wicking and lightweight, so I don’t look as sweaty as I might feel. This also means that when you do laundry – and you should do laundry – it all dries fairly quickly.
Look for summer-friendly fabrics. I purchase a lot of my travel clothing from Columbia, PrAna, Toad & Co, United by Blue, and Mountain Hardwear. They can be expensive, but they make high quality clothing that will last a long time. Most of the time I wait for sales or purchase secondhand on sites like Poshmark.
Tops and bottoms are all well and good, but you’ll also want to bring a swimsuit. A wrap is a smart addition to your summer wardrobe, because it can be used indoors in the air conditioning, a cover-up for your swimsuit, a beach blanket, a picnic blanket, a towel, and even an emergency top.
Shoes! You need them, but you don’t need 12 pair. I walk a lot on my trips, so I make sure my shoes are comfortable for walking all day. I choose one pair of casual shoes, like deck shoes or sneakers, and a good pair of sandals. Again, make sure both of these match with your tops and bottoms. I love a sandal that can be worn with shorts and then with my multipurpose dress, just like I love a slip-on that can go with my dress and with my plane outfit.
If you’re beholden to the 3-1-1 liquids bag, then you’ll need to pare down your toiletries as much as if you are trying to pack small. I look for multipurpose items, lightweight makeup, and only bring colors that will go with my looks. At home, I probably use 5-6 items, so I try not to bring too many more thing than that. Things I love: tinted moisturizer, waterproof mascara (for pool days and surviving sweaty times), a small eyeshadow palette, a tinted lip balm that moisturizes, a cream cheek/lip tint, and a stick highlighter.
I am also a fan of spray-on sunscreen, because you can put it on over your makeup, spritz your hair and scalp, and do any touch-ups you need easily throughout the day. There are some great makeup setting sprays that double as sunscreen for your face.
Other things you might want to look for: solid shampoo bars, travel-size hair appliances, deodorant wipes, makeup wipes, lotion bars, and ways to downsize your full-size products, like decanting into smaller containers or taking trial/sample sizes instead.
I’ll be showing you more of my packing tips on my trip, but I hope this is a good start for you if you’ll be traveling soon. What are some of your favorite packing tips?
Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!
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