Packing for Short Trips

Do you overpack for every trip? With careful planning, you can wear everything you bring and look great.

Today I’ll share what I packed and how I wore it on a two-day getaway at the Grove Park Inn. We planned to take outfit photos at the resort. However, the fires in Canada, and an incoming cold front, brought dark smokey skies. As you may know, good lighting is imperative when taking photos, so I recreated the looks for you in my makeshift home studio. I hope this post helps you with wardrobe planning for your next trip.

The first travel day look included a white tank and jeans, with a blue and white striped tunic shirt worn open with sand-colored platforms. We arrived dressed to enjoy a leisurely lunch on the Sunset Terrace. The same striped top could be pajamas or a swimsuit cover-up.

Careful planning means you can take a minimum amount of clothing but be well-dressed for any activity. I’m a fan of less stress, so I create an agenda for every trip, no matter how short. If we don’t do everything on the list, that’s fine, but I will have researched a few options. Knowing the predicted weather for the timeframe of your visit is also very helpful with packing.

Brunch twice
Drinks in the great hall once
Travel twice

Weather – Smokey air, cloudy skies, and cool temperatures in the sixties.

On the evening of Mr. Mickey’s birthday, we sat in the Great Hall and toasted with champagne while listening to a live band play oldies music. Even though the resort is casual, I wanted to dress up my black jeans with a black wrap-style top and silver jewelry. The top has ruching on the sides which camouflages the tummy area.

My packing list included: Black tankWhite tankWhite jeansBlack jeansDenim jacketStriped shirt and also hereBlack wrap top.

Accessories included: Two pairs of earringsOne watchsome bracelets One beltOne tote – Two clutches, similar here and hereOne pair of shoesTwo bras (one black, one beige) –Three pairs of underwear.

I placed the extra jewelry inside the smaller clutch and put all my skincare products and makeup in this travel pouch. The accessories, skincare, and underwear, as well as the camera, easily fit into the large tote.

I always wake by 4 am, so I also packed my Nike running shoes and hiking socks into the tote and a long tank and leggings in the garment bag.

The following morning, I walked for more than an hour up and down stairs and the empty corridors of the expansive resort and conference center to avoid the smoke outside.

On the second day, we again enjoyed a lovely lunch on the Sunset Terrace before the long drive home. I wore the black tank, black jeans, and the denim jacket. How many additional outfit combinations could you build using the same basic pieces? I thought of eight more possibilities.

The closeup above shows the shoes, clutches, and my favorite pearl bracelet. (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Mr. Mickey’s second-day look and my clothing fit into the garment bag below. The extra pockets are great for chargers, magazines, books, etc. A garment bag protects your clothes, keeps them neat, and helps you avoid losing items. You will never see me arrive with an armload of clothes on hangers. My garment bag is here.

The food served on the Sunset Terrace is always beautiful, so we took a few photos to share with you.

Above is the lobster salad (hold the bacon), and the delightful seafood bisque is below from the first day.

On the second day, we enjoyed the crabcake sandwiches with crunchy fries. So delicious!

Pictured below is a decadent dessert we shared.

When we ordered champagne in the Great Hall, the server asked if we were celebrating something special. When we told her it was Mr. M’s birthday, she also brought a tasty dessert. He loved being spoiled for a whole week and still enjoys your greetings. Thank you for being part of the fun.

Shopping links may be for similar items since many of mine are more than two years old. As always, there is no cost to you for any commission those links may allow me to earn.

  1. We are here now in Boone! Decidedly more casual as our itinerary includes the Alpine slide (a certain guy forgets he is in his 70’s!). Your ideas are great and so practical! Thank you.

  2. Susan, what type of bra did you wear under the black wrap top? It is fairly low cut. Thanks for all the packing tips. Taking a short trip soon and I have similar items in my closet. Packing will be easy peasy. Also love the tip about creating an agenda ahead of time to ensure every item is useful.

  3. I’ve followed you for years, and you look absolutely fabulous! Very inspirational, and you get better and better. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  4. This is very helpful to me. I always take way too much and only wear half if what I brought. What a waste of space!! I really like your style you give me so many ideas. I’m heading out for a weekend away with family and hopefully will follow some of your suggestions.
    I have the travel set of Beautycounter and love it. It’s small and I can get other things in the small bag that it comes in.
    I do miss that area. Asheville is so pretty.
    What a wonderful refreshing weekend.

  5. What a timely post. I spent this morning packing for a 14 day trip. I limited myself to three colors ( white, navy, a turquoise) plus jeans. It all fit into a carryon bag. After reading this post it dawned on me that I didn’t pack any jewelry. Thank for the reminder. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world but I do have two business casual dinners to attend so I’m going to fit some in. Your trip looks wonderful and so glad Mr. Mickey had such a great birthday week.

  6. I love the Grove Inn! One of the wonders of the gilded age! And the views. Too bad fire and weather interfered!

  7. We were married at the Grove Park Inn, so it always brings special memories when others share their experiences! Love your posts – you look amazing!! ❤️❤️

  8. Love these tips. As I am going to Israel in October, I have been challenged to pack only a carry on because we may be schlepping our bags and a huge suitcase would not be convenient. So I am looking to pare down my packing. Thanks for the ideas. By the way, you are looking more glamorous as you age!

  9. I always look forward to a posting. Love the pieces you chose for your weekend adventure. The sweetheart neckline top is so discretely sexy. I went to the site, but there are none left in the color I’d like. I’ll have to put it on my list for later. You two had such a lovely time celebrating Mr. Mickey’s birthday. Yummy food! Enjoy your week!

  10. I have to ask…did you walk an hour up & down stairs in the shoes you brought? With a 4.5” heel and 1.5” platform….that’s 6 inches……..are they conducive to long walks?

  11. A 14 day cruise around the British Isles next May has me puzzling out an appropriate wardrobe for sightseeing in British spring weather and dressing “elegantly casual” (cruise line’s descriptor) for dinner each night. Is just a carry on bag even possible? I have successfully utilized only a carry on bag for a week’s trip to a cold climate before so I know I can pack well but this trip is a struggle. Give up and go with a checked bag or can a good strategy make a carry on bag work for me? Any advice Susan?

    1. You can do it Susan! Pack three colors that go together and look good on you. Use accessories to dress the looks up or down. Think of layering as needed and mixing and matching for different looks. With ten pieces of clothing and two or three pairs of different styles of shoes, you should be able to create plenty of different looks for your trip. Enjoy!

  12. I wondered if it was possible and am now going to try coming up with a plan to see how I can do it. Thanks for your advice about the the use of three colours, I had not considered that strategy. Two pairs of walking shoes to alternate, a pair of dress shoes and flip flops for cabin, pool, spa were my first thoughts. The shoes take up the baggage room I find but I don’t think I can do with fewer. An interesting and enjoyable challenge!

  13. I have this issue when going to visit my Mother. It’s easy to overpack.
    I keep a notebook of what I packed for my frequent trips there so I can remind myself that yes, I can get along with just one pair of pants for long weekend visit.
    I see that both the pairs of pants that you took are hemmed for higher heels, and in your photo you wore one pair of higher heeled shoes.
    I took it easy on out door exercise during the smoky periods we had. One morning I wore one of my N95 masks from CVOID times. I tucked my hair into a hat to avoid having it pick up a lot of particulate.

  14. I’m a chronic over-packer and am working on scaling down. I think I always want to be prepared and have options but this causes me to pack too much and then I don’t have space for anything I may buy (which happens a lot). Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  15. You look beautiful and I am glad you and Mr. Mickey could get away to such a beautiful place. I have stayed at the Grove Park Inn (in the newer area). The entrance and lounge area are just beautiful and rustic with the big fireplace in the middle. Thank you for sharing your pictures. It makes me want to go there.

  16. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey! You both look so happy and healthy! Food looks amazing! Susan, you look beautiful in the black wrap top! Unfortunately, it’s not available. Take care and I enjoy your posts and advice!

  17. I love your outfits Susan and I am a real overpacking culprit! Thank you for the ideas! My problem is when I wear light coloured clothes on a trip they always seem grubby on the second day or to wear again. You cleverly chose the black outfit for the second day!

  18. Sounds like a wonderful birthday celebration! So nice you have each other to enjoy special moments in life! Cheers to many more!

  19. Belated birthday wishes, Mr. Mickey! Thank you, Susan, for sharing your fashion sense and travels!

  20. I loved this post, Susan and always love reading each of your posts! Happy Birthday, Mr. Mickey!! May you be blessed with many more happy, healthy, and prosperous years!

  21. The two of you are such an elegant couple. May you always be as happy together as you appear in your photographs. Thank you for sharing with us.

  22. Do you pack pj’s? Robe? Slippers? Those seem to take up a lot of room but I don’t feel comfortable walking on bare hotel room carpet.

    1. Running socks take up less space than slippers, but flip flops are also a good option that take up little space. I didn’t pack PJs for this trip, since the striped shirt or long tank served that purpose well. The hotel provided plush robes so no need to take one.

  23. This couldn’t have come at a better time! We are leaving soon on an 8-day trip down south and I’ve been in a tizzy thinking about everything I need to take. You have made that into a much simpler, well-organized process. Thank you!!

  24. You look beautiful and so glamorous in the black outfit; I love the little clutch purse, too. What a wonderful way to celebrate Mr. Mickey’s special day.

  25. What a wonderful birthday. The Grove Park Inn is so special! I am pretty sparse in my packing and usually wear everything I pack. However, I am pretty sure I don’t look nearly as stylish. You seem to get lovelier with age. Wishing Mr. Mickey the best.

  26. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey! I can’t think of a lovelier destination than The Grove Inn (despite the weather) – the food looked delicious!! I love to travel and currently working very hard to become “roadworthy” again after a setback from MS. I live in the PacificNW now so first trip probably to the beach just 60 mi away. Originally from NC, I covet a visit to Ashville. Never say never. Thank you Susan for another excellent post!!

  27. Hi Susan, it was lovely to see your short vacation pictures. You look stunning as usual, and I particularly liked the black and denim combo. I fall into the category of overpacking, much to the despair of my poor husband carrying my cases. You mention 8 other combinations, but I cannot make 6. Could you list the 8, or even better show pictures of the combinations, as this will help my disastrous overpacking. My husband will thank you for that. Emily.

    1. Wear the denim jacket as a top, buttoned all the way with either pair of jeans. (2)
      Wear the black top with the white jeans. (1)
      Wear the white tank with the black jeans and the striped top. (1)
      Wear the striped top tied loosely at the front and draped at the back with the sleeves rolled up and the collar popped with the white jeans or the black jeans. (2)
      Wear the black wrap top with the white jeans. (1)
      Wear the denim jacket with the white tank and white jeans. (1)

  28. Oh Susan, you make it sound so easy, I will try hard next time to think like this. Thank you for replying to me Susan, and best wishes to you and Mr Mickey. Such a lovely couple.

  29. I had to look up Grove Inn, phew fantastic inside and outside , what stunning scenery.Such a shame about the smoke from Canadian wildfires drifting South into USA.saw it on BBC News. So sad. I must admire your discipline Susan even walking inside on a short stay , although I am active I am no where near your dedication to exercise. Lobster salad looked divine . Enjoyed the rest of the post thank you for sharing your travels with Mr Mickey.
    Regards Pamela Wales UK

  30. Good morning Susan. Thank you for all your efforts for your readers. I am hoping you write a book!!! My significant other is from the Czech Republic. He said please tell Mr. Mickey that European gentlemen could learn some good lessons from him!! Take care, Bette O’Connor

  31. Great ideas and lovely choices! I am already planning my clothing for a European river cruise next spring (I recently lost a lot of weight and still rebuilding my wardrobe), and your suggestions are very helpful. Glad you had the perfect getaway!

  32. I love your new longer haircut and love seeing you back in platforms and heels. I feel like they are the distilled expression of your personal style!

  33. I try not to overpack and since I visit my grands in Indiana very often, it’s helped me be aware of unnecessary items to take. One thing I noticed in this post are the shoes with the black jeans. Looks great and since I’m going to my 50th reunion tomorrow, I may wear similar shoes. I have fretted all week about what to wear (silly!) and 5 years ago I asked you about “what” I should wear. Your response…be comfortable but classic…so, I’m following your advice this year as well. Instead of a dress, I’m wearing the black jeans and a new top that’s fresh and current as well as comfortable. I have some black sandals that would work (I’m 4’11”) but I want comfortable shoes too. As always, I appreciate your posts and classic looks….Thanks so much!

  34. Very thoughtful. I smiled when you described walking around inside the resort and conference centre. I do the same when cruising if there is no Promenade Deck or when it is raining. What other exercises do you do for flexibility and strength?

  35. I love the Grove Park Inn. The lobster salad is all me. I will look for that next time! What a beautiful presentation of the birthday dessert, and the one with the little bottle of topping:). Thanks so much for sharing everything, Susan!

  36. Susan
    Your post today makes me wish I could pack and head to Ashville. You have such nice getaways and wonderful food. The lobster salad looks divine.
    Your packing tips are appreciated. Too many clothes are needless and cause me to worry about what to wear each morning. Much easier with a bit of pre-planning.
    Your outfits look wonderful and black is elegant. I like that your shirt doubles as a nightshirt. Platform shoes are one of my favorite ways to add height and are more stable than regular heels. Been a fan since the ’80s. At 5’5″ I need the boost. Accessorizing is another lesson I have learned from you. Even basic clothing can be elevated with the right pieces.
    Happy belated Birthday to Mr. Mickey!

  37. First, happy birthday to Mr. Mickey! Second, I LOVE the Grove Park Inn. Third, your outfits here are stunning, especially the all black one you wore for the champagne toast. I love the wrap top! Lastly, if I may, a bit of advice for the photos the next time you do an indoor shoot [which I am presuming you did from home]….make sure there is nothing behind you. The ceiling fan detracted a bit from the overall photo. I recently had a photo taken of me at a wedding reception and the person taking it didn’t notice that there was a candle on the mantle behind me and it looks like it’s growing out of the top of my head…..I was disappointed. I hope you both enjoy a joy-filled weekend!

  38. Hi Susan,
    Firstly, you look terrific in the black top with the sweetheart neckline. Very flattering !
    Your getaway looked lovely and last and certainly not least, Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey.
    All the Best to you both.

  39. So glad you two are still enjoying life. Thanks for great tips. I know you are a blessing to each other !!

  40. Love the black jeans! Could I ask what size you’re wearing? I’d like to order them – it might help to know that.
    Thank you!!

  41. After years, I’m sure, of getting your system down pat, you make everything look so effortless. I’m trying to do the same.
    I always overpack, but aging and bad backs are dictating that my husband and I “tone it down!”
    Great tips here as usual, great outfits, fun food; no wonder your blog is a fan favorite!

  42. I love reading the details of your outings along with your style tips. Your posts have made me want to visit your part of the country. You and Mr Mickey are a charming couple.

  43. You look fantastic in the all black outfit! Wow! I bet you turned heads!
    So wonderful that you both had a nice celebration!

  44. Susan, I’d love to see the other eight outfit ideas you have with the clothing basics you selected. This is where I struggle–multiple uses of favorite items.

    1. Wear the denim jacket as a top, buttoned all the way with either pair of jeans. (2)
      Wear the black top with the white jeans. (1)
      Wear the white tank with the black jeans and the striped top. (1)
      Wear the striped top tied loosely at the front and draped at the back with the sleeves rolled up and the collar popped with the white jeans or the black jeans. (2)
      Wear the black wrap top with the white jeans. (1)
      Wear the denim jacket with the white tank and white jeans. (1)

  45. Just beautiful Susan- thank you for sharing so generously and judiciously- everything noted and useful for my upcoming trip. I am 59 and learning about the importance of colours, fabric, linings and structure in clothes- such an important part of aging with grace and dignity and beauty. Love your blog- favourite- but have not commented til now-thank you. I struggle with being organized with my housework and staying on top of everything. if you could do a post, I value your wisdom . God bless and best wishes to Mr. Mickey. A true gentlemen who exudes youthful energy and good company.

  46. Wow Susan the photo of you with the black jeans and black wrap top is amazing. You look way younger and so slim, absolutely stunning!

  47. Hi Susan,
    My email address was compromised so I have had to get a new one. I have missed a few months of your blogs so I would like to sign up under my new email address

  48. Susan, in these photos taken around the time of Mr. Mickey’s birthday you look stunning. I love your hair cut. The longer Bob makes you look younger than the shorter style. I sure do miss you and Mickey. We talk about getting together but never do it, and time is slipping away. I do love you so very much.

  49. FABULOUS, I must say, you look like you are getting younger than older. I have been following your posts for a while and I want to THANK YOU for all your good work.

    Have a great time and Happy Birthday to Mr. M.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.