Packing for vacation, part 1

22 Jun

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Daily outfits and style tips, vacation outfit sketches

Guess what I just found? My Friend Friday post about packing for vacation that had mysteriously disappeared when I was traveling. I wasn’t able to post it two weeks ago but I still had the original text on my desktop. I decided to post it even after the fact because I had planned on breaking down what worked and what didn’t while in Europe for three weeks.

Here’s the original post. Check back tomorrow for the breakdown.

This topic couldn’t come at a better time. Traveling through France and Spain, I had to consider dressing for the fickle nature of spring; cool rains, thunderstorms, warm breezes and hot sun. Shopping in Paris, hiking in the Pyrenees, lounging about in Costa Brava and staying up very late in Barcelona. Would you believe that I had room to spare in my suitcase, even with hiking shoes and a curling iron? It remains to be seen but I may know a thing or two about packing efficiently.

FBFF: When it comes to packing for vacation what’s your mantra?

FJ: Be prepared

FBFF: What are your must packs?

FJ: Comfortable shoes, at least one pair of stretchy pants, items that are easy to layer and a few good accessories. It’s likely that I’m going to do a lot of walking, I don’t want that compromised. Having lived in San Francisco for most of my adult life I’m very familiar with the concept of layering. It has always served me well under most circumstances. Lastly, a girl’s got to look good. A few nice accessories and a touch of lipstick does wonders.

FBFF: What are you happy to leave behind?

FJ: Anything that requires ironing, might be uncomfortable or is a one-time use item.

FBFF: Any packing secrets that help you get everything into one suitcase?

FJ: Plenty! First, I chose a primary and secondary color for the outfits. Immediately everything can mix and match. That problem is solved. In the case of the trip I’m on now, I had to pack for three weeks. I packed seven outfits that can be mixed and matched to create at least 21 variations. I plan to hand-wash certain items such as t-shirts, tank tops, socks and underwear. See my complete breakdown at the end of the post.

I measured out the toiletries I needed and used the right size containers, no need to carry full size products. By measuring out a little more than I would need I avoided the situation I got myself into last time I traveled for three weeks, when I ran out and had to buy full-size items which I lugged around the rest of the time. Costly and wasteful, especially since they weren’t my favorite products.

I take all the medication and pills I need and put them in a re-sealable plastic storage bags. No need for a bunch of separate containers, I know the difference between my ibuprofen and my allergy medicine. In fact, re-sealable storage bags are my favorite way to keep like items together. It makes it easy to find socks, underwear, accessories.

FBFF: Beach reading… what are you taking with you to read in the sand?

FJ: Geez, I grabbed an unread book off my bookshelf but I just don’t see myself reading much. I’m usually out and about or socializing. That’s not to say I don’t try each time, I’ve never gone on vacation without taking a book but to be honest, I hardly ever end up reading on vacation.

  • Dresses, 3: 2 short, 1 maxi
  • Shorts, 1: Dressy cotton
  • Pants, 3: Cargo, seersucker, stretchy
  • Tank tops, 2: 1 plain solid, 1 dressy
  • Scarves, 2: 1 warm, 1 lacy
  • Tops, 3: 1 print t-shirt, 1 over-size sequined t-shirt, 1 tunic
  • Cardigans, 3: 1 lightweight lacy, 1 cashmere, 1 cotton kimono style
  • Shoes, 4: 1 sandal, 1 dressy shoe, 1 flat comfort shoe, 1 flat stylish shoe


Add a couple belts, a bikini, flip-flops, some hiking pants and shirts, a lightweight outdoor activity jacket and a puffy jacket to squooshes down to nothing and voila! Plenty to remix.

Take a guess at what worked best and check back tomorrow to see how you did.




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    June 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I always, always bring books on vacation. I don’t end up reading while I’m there, but I’ll finish an entire book (or two!) on my way to & from the destination.

    Your packing tips are amazing… I need to print this out & use your list for my next trip!