Vacation Packing Guide

Do you find it challenging to pack for a vacation? It can be daunting to plan for a week or more away, with very different events on your agenda.

I always think of mixing, matching, layering as needed, and adding accessories to dress up basic pieces. I’ll share a few more tips that have helped me. Write down your itinerary for the trip. Make sure you have clothing options for each function. For example: Meeting a friend for dinner – white pants, a white tank, a black jacket, a small clutch bag, nude flats, and a scarf.

Fold all the garments you plan to take with you, including scarves. Lay them out on the bed in a single layer. Do the colors work together? I also try everything on as I pack to make sure it all still fits as it should.

Pack only the clothes you know you enjoy wearing since this is not the time to try out an unproven new item. Include comfortable, neutral pieces that you know you can wear in many combinations since you may need to wear layers on a cold rainy day. Always check the weather for your destination on the day you are packing. To avoid some stress, I pack a day or two before I travel.

I looked back over the pictures for my last few vacations to remind myself which pieces I most enjoyed having with me.

Shoes: A comfortable pair for lots of walking. (Slip-on sneakers, walking shoes, or boat shoes.) A nude/neutral pair (loafers or sandals) for shopping, going out to lunch, and a museum. Also include dark low block heeled or cute sandals to wear during the evening or out to dinner. Tip: Metallic sandals can be worn casually for daytime or dressed up for the evening. Take different styles of shoes so that you have an option for every activity.

My list: Pants – wear black to travel. Take white, light, and dark blue jeans. Wear a dark color jacket or blazer and take a light color one. Cotton or cashmere cardigans or sweaters: one light color, one dark color. Tanks: gray, white, and navy or black. Shirts – Tops: blue, white, navy, striped, denin. Take a rain jacket, a swimsuit, and a tank dress (can also be used as a coverup). Large square colorful scarves can be used in many ways, and they take up almost no room. Take two handbags and two pairs of shoes other than the pair you wear, a packable hat and sunglasses. Carry a large tote bag while traveling. It can hold cosmetics, chargers, camera, book, phone, and wallet; other items will fit in a carry-on.

I take a couple of pairs of pajamas, socks, bras, and enough undies for the number of days I will be away.

I don’t travel nearly as often as I would like yet. I haven’t been on a cruise in more than twenty years, so my information lacks in some areas. Please share your best travel and packing tips with us below. I always look forward to reading your comments. Thank you!

  1. Good morning, Susasan!

    We take many getaways, mostly only daycations, so when I do take a week away, I do pack too much!
    Too many shoes, mainly. Well…, too much in general.
    These tips are perfect! I hope to use them when we do plan our next week away. My husband would be glad if I did!

    Enjoy today!

  2. I know everyone’s been pushing the whole packing cube thing, but I recently bought three medium sized cubes and a small one and they have made a difference in how I pack and stay organized, especially when I change hotels several times like I did on a recent two-week trip to Georgia and Florida. I packed tops in one cube, underwear, socks and pyjamas in another one and used the last one to transfer my dirty laundry to so that it wasn’t all floating around in my suitcase. The small one I had in my carry-on with one change of clothes ( in case my luggage got lost on my trip from Europe) and the lightweight wrap I use as a blanket on the long flight from Germany (I don’t trust the cleanliness of the ones provided by the airline).

  3. Absolutely love your posts. I look forward to them as I open my email. You are so honest in describing your “faults” and how to deal with them….truly appreciate that you address them. What a lovey woman.

  4. I always travel with black basics because they don’t show coffee stains! For casual wear Chico’s Zenergy long and crop pants, jacket and vest provide interchangeable pieces and for dressy occasions their Travelers collection has even more matching pieces. All pack easily and are wrinkle free.

  5. I’m addicted to space saving bags for packing. I only take a carry on and a tote bag…never check a bag. For a cruise, a casual, travel skirt can double for day events and night events…just change your top and jewelry. One pair of sandals only! Buy a neutral color, like silver or blush..will go with everything. Kick Fit foldable shoes are great for plane, hotel, etc. I have a backpack that packs into its pocket, so I only take one small crossover purse and use the backpack as my day bag. A Cole Hahn shiny travel trench/rain coat is my favorite travel item. Folds into its pocket. If it’s chilly, I layer under it. Chico’s & Talbots have nice travel clothes.
    Cruise tip…purchase a smaller over the door shoe bag, and use it in your room for lanyards, sunglasses, keys, sunscreen..all those items you need several times a day. They’re cheap, packable and make the trip less stressful.

  6. Love these tips. I make a spreadsheet with dates, temp, port or city I’m in that day, what excursion I’m doing, then what outfit I’m wearing, including bag, shoes, jewelry. I plan on wearing each pair of pants 2-3 times, and mix and match tops and jackets. After review if I’m only wearing something once, it’s out! For special dinners I have dresses or dressier tops to wear with slacks. My packing has gone from 2 large suitcases to one medium plus a small carryon. 12 pair of shoes to 6.

  7. I will be traveling to France in 93 days – the tour will be a little more dressy than a warm weather vaca. I need help with what to pack as I ALWAYS pack too much. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Love the blog!

  8. Great tips. I use packing cubes too. I find they keep everything organized. I always put my jewelry in my carry on. I feel it is safer this way. A tip I would add is to pack a change of clothes in your husband’s/traveling companion’s bag and visa versa. This is just in case one of your bags gets lost. I also take a picture of our packed bags. Again, just in case they are lost and you need to make a claim.

  9. Susan,
    Your advice on travel wardrobes is becoming more and more valuable to me as we get away more often now. I’m pinning everyone of your posts and referring back to them as needed. Thank you ever so much for sharing all of your knowledge.

  10. I am also a recent convert to packing cubes. I used them on a recent 12 day tour of Greece and was very pleased with how easy it was to find things when I needed them without having to root through everything in the suitcase. I packed tops in one, undies and pj’s in another, and pants in a third. Toward the end of the trip I consolidated the clean items into one of the smaller cubes and put the dirty items in the larger ones.

    I have several cruise tips. My first is to take several magnetic hooks with you. The walls in your cabin are made of metal, so I use the hooks to hang a lanyard with my cabin key card, hats, jackets, etc. We also take a small magnetic flashlight to stick on the wall for easy access if needed at night. A small pop up mesh hamper is handy to place in your closet area for your dirty clothes, as it packs flat when empty. An electric plug strip is handy so that you can easily plug in and charge electronic devices, but make sure it is not surge protected. Many cruise lines ban the surge protected type. Finally, I take a nightlight that can be plugged in to the socket in the bathroom that’s intended for a man’s shaver. That way I don’t have to turn on the glaringly bright overhead light if I get up in the night.

  11. We drive to Florida every winter. Before I left for home in 2019, I took pictures of all my clothes I had with me. This year when I packed I just looked at the pictures and it made it so much easier. I also made a list of what I took last year. I like your suggestion about making a list of activities and packing appropriately for that event.

  12. We are leaving soon for a 21 day, back to back cruise, so for the first time we will need to use the ship’s laundry service. To save on costs, I am bringing a travel clothesline to be able to wash out a few things. Since we will be gone for a total of 30 days, this will be interesting to pack for. I also vote for packing cubes for especially underwear. Other things I prefer to hang.

    1. We are taking a 14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – and I am the Queen of overpacking! I end up stealing room from hubby & son. Good luck!

  13. My vacations present a challenge. I go from ballgown events (cruise) to days of hiking on land. My husband and I pack our dress clothes together in one suitcase. After our cruise we have a service that sends that suitcase home. We have a small carry on suitcase with our hiking clothes, shoes and equipment. My hiking clothes are two pair of travel pants, one skirt, two cashmere sweaters and four short sleeve tops, two scarves, three pair undies, one bra, silk pajamas, five pair of hiking socks, hiking shoes and one pair of Ecco sandals. one pair of dressy flats and one rain jacket. My hiking poles, back pack and small cosmetic bag also go in the carry on bag. All my clothing items are rolled and put in mesh travel cubes. Most of my items are wash and air dry. The clothes are versatile enough to hike all day and spend an evening at dinner. The key is following Susan’s advice. Keep clothing items simple in design, mix and match. Washable silk and cashmere items are sturdy enough for hiking and nice enough for city dining and museums. Thank you Susan for helping me figure out how to vacation the way I enjoy and look good doing it.

  14. Thank you for these ideas. I travel quite a bit and do seem to do fine with my clothes but my makeup, skin care and hair products seem to take over. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

    1. The hotel always has shampoo and conditioner, so I skip that. I take cleanser towelettes, sunscreen, moisturizer, mascara, liner pencil, brow pencil, a pinkish lip color, and a reddish lip color. I don’t wear much makeup anyway, so that is always my smallest zip bag.

  15. You asked us to post our packing plans. I used to be a serial over-packer – a guy I traveled with for work called me “the sky terror” (pre-911) for the weight of my suitcase for 1 week trips. As I’ve aged (68 now), I’m much improved. My packing list for warm destinations looks much like yours. I am working on a packing list for an 18 day trip in June that includes an overnight flight and 3 hour train ride before our first hotel, 4 days in the Black Forest of Germany (hiking, churches, museums), a few days in Munich and the Bavarian mountains (churches, museums, play), and 8 days on a river cruise with excursions including hiking, biking, churches and museums. There are at least two dressy evenings. The challenges include international suitcase restrictions (weight and size), weather that may vary with altitude and location, and the fact that Europeans do not generally wear white or as bright colors as Americans except in resort areas. I tend to run “hot” and usually don’t wear a jacket unless it is truly cool. Here’s my preliminary thinking:

    Nice Talbots athleisure pants, top and hoodie (all black) for the flight over and train ride. Probably sneakers, maybe black walking shoes if sneakers fit in suitcase. These pants will also serve when hiking in BF and the hiking/biking excursions and for the flight home. 1 pair dark black jeans, l pair black jegging-type ankle pants, 1 pair dressy black pants. Black long-sleeve top, black sleeveless top, white long-sleeve top. A few other tops in [probably] blue and dark pink/berry colors. I think the jeans and jeggings will work for evenings in the Black Forest, the travel day to Munich and the more casual excursions. The dressy pants will work for dinners on the boat. I may bring one dark pink dress. I’m working on jackets – I have a black Chico traveler open sweater in mind – looking for a lighter one or light jacket. A few scarves (a black/white dot one and a blue/black/white stripe one – looking for one with pink/berry). I lucked into a black long skirt in a fabric that will fold into practically nothing and will not wrinkle – will scour closet for nice tops to go with this skirt and dressy pants for dressy dinners. Black walking shoes and a dressier pair of shoes – maybe a gold sandal. My day bag will be a berry colored Baggalini mid-sized bag and I may throw in a “wallet on a string” dinners or shorter excursions.

    I will lay everything out on my guest bed and see what works with everything. I often get rid of several items at this point in packing. So, hopefully this will all fit into one medium checked bag and one carry-on.

  16. I don’t pack many clothes when I go on vacation. Like you, i consider what the weather will be like first. I went to Santa Fe during the holidays and it was 11 degrees at night and 20 during the day. I took layering pieces such as long sleeve tees, two to three pullover sweaters and cardigans. ( I found I wore my Barefoot Dreams sweater the most. Packs easily, does not winkle and machine wash and dry.) of course , I took my black hooded puffer coat from Eddie Bauer . It is extremely warm and it was one of my best purchases ever. I took a long rectangular wool scarf to wrap around my neck to hold in the heat. I primarily wore jeans and leggings. I took 3 pairs of shoes- booties, snakeskin loafers and one pair of flats, I didn’t take tall boots because I removed my shoes when I entered the house we stayed in. ( too much snow and mush!) socks were essential and I took a black and brown belt. And that is all for 5 days!

  17. Cruises are wonderful and we go often. I used to really get into the “formal” dinner nights but now will possibly bring a comfortable dress to wear one of those nights but usually just wear nice fitted black knit pants with some cute sandals and pair the pants with a different color top every formal night and of course wear a nice jacket and good jewelry. Some people do not dress up hardly at all so I figure one may as well be comfortable but look good. Thanks for all of your good advice. I have been wearing the Shapeez bras you suggest and they are wonderful, thanks for the great tip. I’ve also told my sister and sister-in-law about them!

  18. My guide for a two week trip is 6 tops, 3 bottoms, and one dress. I couldn’t travel with white the way you do. Hardest thing is being prepared for unexpected weather—too hot, too cold.

  19. Been to Europe many times in spring and fall. Layers are the thing. This November for 8 days, I will pack 1 pair of black jeans, one pair of black ponte pants, and one pair of navy pants. Three cashmere vneck sweaters- grey, navy, and berry. No hesitation here pairing navy and black- they go together wonderfully especially with camel, berry, or gold as accents. A couple of long sleeve tops similar to yours. One sleep shirt, undies for several days, two bras, three pairs of shoes, including black sneakers, black walking shoes, and comfy booties with a heel. (These may be leopard!) I’ll take one or two scarves but plan on buying most of them while there as they are a great souvenir. Backpack that folds into itself for a day bag, and a Longchamps nylon bag in berry for other times. I have to take a rain shell, a quilted jacket, and a down vest (it’s cold on the water). Makeup is reduced to essentials, and I pack foundation in contact lens case, along with serum and other face/hair stuff. You don’t use as much as you think! I also take a nightlight, a flashlight, the necessary chargers, etc all in a cube.
    All this goes in one European size carryon and one under-seat bag that slides over the handle of the carryon. I never check luggage. Wear the heaviest, bulkiest stuff and take off a couple lawyers once you’re seated, put them with your carryon in the overhead. Works well for me-I will handwash something with hotel shampoo if need be and hang to dry. I’m 68 and don’t want to deal with checked bag worry or stand around at the airport waiting when I could be out and gone!

  20. I swear by packing cubes and pack like items in each cube – tops, pants, pajamas, etc. They keep everything very organized and I use one for dirty clothes that wont get washed until I get home. They are available at a variety of price points and last for years. We take a couple of 10 day trips to Europe and several long weekend trips each year. i enjoy your blog very much and have learned a lot since reading it.

  21. I have been doing as Sandy suggested above and take pictures on my phone of everything I want to pack and set up an album. This helps me visualize what goes with what and I will edit it as I get closer to my trip by adding or deleting items depending on weather or functions planned. I can then choose to keep the album on my phone or iPad to use for future trips and adjust as needed.

  22. I travel frequently & always follow these habits…
    -pack undies, socks, thin nightie, neutral top in bottom of my handbag should luggage not show up and/or carry-on is checked before boarding
    -only pack worn in, comfortable shoes & sandals, in soft leathers (usually buy these in Europe)
    -again in my handbag, a large tissue thin silk shawl that rolls up to tennis ball size, light as a feather & can been worn many ways
    -pack smart stretchy separates in black, grey, beige/khaki and couple of tops in a pop of colour, like red or orange. Only white items may be tops.
    -all clothes can be washed in hotel sinks, rolled in towels & be dry next morning (always pack couple of plastic hangers for this), so no jeans!
    -cosmetics: tinted moisturizer, lipstick & toothbrush in every bag, mascera that washes off with soap & water and a good facial moisture cream
    -a good book, hat & gloves & very light cashmere pullover to suit climate or a surprise temperature change

  23. Traveling to the British virgin islands tomorrow. It’s my second time going. We are living on a boat, so I take two bathing suits, two swim coverups, two pairs of shorts, three T-shirts, some pajamas and a light jacket. I take two pairs of flip-flops, I wear a pair of sneakers, and that’s about it. You can travel really light!

  24. Susan, the photos are so helpful. Thank you for all your fashion ideas, tips and encouragement! It is much appreciated.
    My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe this year for our 20th wedding anniversary, and he enjoys shopping as much as I do. So, I’m taking all of your fashion tips with me when we go shopping this weekend.

  25. Hi Susan, Thanks for the information. I like to pack with the clothes laid out on my bed. I then weed out the pieces that don’t follow where the clothes seem to be leading me. I also pick out jewelry at this time so I can see what looks good with the outfits. I have the shoes I want to pack right there next to the clothes so I don’t forget what I want to bring. I do this for my husband also and it seems to work quite well for both of us. I forgot my swimsuit one time and I’ll never do that again so the bathing suit goes on the bed FIRST now. I pack mostly knits so I don’t have to iron while gone.
    Thanks again for all the tips.

  26. We traveled to the UK for the entire month of May & half if June, two years in a row, a few years ago.
    Each of us (myself, husband & teenage son) used one carry-on bag and that was it (I did carry a small, black purse, as well).
    So, an entire month’s worth of ensemble that had to cover lots of city walking, museums, upscale restaurants, light countryside hikes and all sorts of weather.
    I went with a planned color theme of black & bright accent colors.
    I’m 5’2″ and weigh 115 lbs.
    For the long flight, I wore a pair of thinner stretch black jeans, a plain white knit sweater, a royal blue knit cardigan, large multicolor viscose scarf (doubled as a light blanket on the plane) & clean, grey athletic shoes.
    In my carry-on, I packed:
    Two pairs each of straight leg ponte pants in dark blue and in black. Easy to pack, easy to wash & dry overnight and always look appropriate for any venue.
    Thin black knit cardigan that hangs below my bottom.
    Several thinner knit short sleeve sweaters in solid colors (royal blue, red, black; slim-fit and all cover my bottom).
    A couple of silky tank tops (royal blue, black).
    One white bamboo t-shirt.
    Two scarves: one multicolored that compliments any of my sweaters, which I wore for the flights and another in royal). Scarves are good for warmth, fashion & respect when visiting churches.
    One bright red Columbia rain/windbreaker in a size larger than usual. I was able to wear extra layers on a couple of colder days & be perfectly comfortable! Folded flat beautifully.
    One pair of plain black leather loafers.
    4 pairs of panties, 2 bras, three pairs of black socks (wearable with either the athletic shoes or the black loafers). All can be sink washed & dry overnight.
    Black fingerless gloves.
    No jewelry other than my wedding ring (which has never been off since we married, 23+ years ago!), a silver guard ring & a pair of gold stud earrings. I’m not a bling gal!
    Spare eyeglasses & a pair of sunglasses.
    Minimal cosmetics: favorite face cream (in a 3 oz container), concealer, powder/brush, eyebrow pencil, one shade of powder eyeshadow & a tinted Burt’s Bees chapstick in Hibiscus.
    Tooth brush & tooth powder. Floss. Listerine breath strips.
    Solid crystal deodorant.
    Linen washcloth in a plastic bag (not all hotels offer washcloths & linen dries in no time!).
    Rubber comb (no static!), small brush, large plain barrette, hair elastics.
    My thyroid pills & a copy of the RX.
    With the exception of my favorite face cream, I didn’t have anything of concern for the whole TSA liquids worries, and that made things easier at the airport.
    I also had a money belt that fit flat under my tops. Just carried a spare credit card & my passport in that. That way, if something happened to my purse, I was still covered!
    I emptied my wallet of everything except my driver’s license, another credit card & ATM card, health insurance card, emergency info/contact card and a spare copy of my RX.
    My purse only had my wallet, lip balm, a couple of tissues, a small bottle of ibuprofen, my RX, an emery board, a paperback (which I never read) & our itinerary info.

    I used everything I took with us (except that book, which I left at Heathrow upon our arrival) and had room to bring home souvenirs & gifts!

    My husband & I like to do spur-of-the-moment 2-3 day getaways. Our son is in college giving us lots of free time! I have a small packing cube in my suitcase (still the carry-on size) that is packed with duplicates of the cosmetic/hygiene stuff I use. That way, I never forget anything, I can just pack my clothes & go!

    Okay, sorry, enough!
    Susan, you are a GEM and have to ask, where are you going??

  27. This will be so useful to keep in my files. I love all the pictures in rows because I can save them and browse them when I need to pack, Thank you so much,

  28. Love this post! Getting ready for a 33 day trip to New Zealand and Australia. It will include 2 cruises and a week land tour. I need to pack for hot and cool climates. Will need to layer. We have a kayaking excursion in NZ and a snorkeling excursion at Great Barrier Reef. I have used packing cubes for several years. I will pack a small one with change of clothes. I bought TSA approved clear bags on Amazon that hold a lot more than a quart zip top bag! I have to take prescription shampoos for scalp psoriasis, especially for a long trip! Plus a shampoo and conditioner great for my curly hair. If I have more than my TSA bag will hold because I carry on my sunscreen and other liquids, I pack one my husband carries for me in his carry on! I enjoy the formal nights on the cruises and have 3 between the 2 cruises. I purchased black Alex Evenings wide leg pants that look like a skirt in a chiffon like fabric that doesn’t wrinkle and 2 tops that don’t wrinkle and very light weight. I also bought a RM Richards 3 piece chiffon pants set that folds down small. Will pack these in a med packing cube. I have silver metallic sandals with a little wedge heel that goes with all formal wear and small metallic clutch. Packing black, white, navy and denim pants/jeans. A black and a navy very light weight knit knee length dresses to dress up or down with a jacket and different scarves. I always wear Chico’s knit weekend wear pants, knit top and zip up knit jacket on flight. I have Allbirds sneakers for plane and excursions that involve a lot of walking, black and navy ballet shoes that has great arch support for my plantar fasciitis, and waterproof sandals from Abeo for kayaking and snorkeling! I always pack a mess foldable hamper for dirty clothes, will need to wash clothes on this trip. Have my 2 long Shapeez and a short one . Will wash out and hang to dry. On a recent girls cruise I used your suggestion of laying everything down on top of each other then folding sleeves in then up from bottom but then I placed in my large packing cube! I will pack casual in one cube and dinner clothes in another, then one for undies. Love my cubes!

  29. It would help me to see your actual suitcase to see what you are using to fit that list of clothes into. And maybe even how you pack it.

    I use one small rolling black suitcase and I don’t see how I might get that many clothes in that case? I’m too cheap to pay $50.00 for a second suitcase when flying. And what about my dop kit, swimsuits, cover-ups, flip flops etc?.

    I can pack for a three days trip okay, but for a longer trip, I am in trouble.

  30. I am curious as to how you keep cool in these outfits. Other than colours these are clothes I would wear for fall and winter. Why do you never wear skirts ? Even long ones would be cooler than pants.

    1. I am going to southern Florida, where temps will be only the high seventies next month. I have short legs, so skirts and dresses make me look frumpy. Pants are in my always comfortable zone, but I am considering a maxi skirt. I’ll let you know how that goes.

  31. Using traveling blocks is brilliant. Really helps to organize the packing and keeps your clothing from getting too wrinkled.

  32. Susan,
    What a great idea to take pictures of what you wore previously and use them a guide. I’m going to use your idea to plan a river cruise this year.

  33. I know when i pack to travel i like to pick specific outfits that i think i will wear but because i like choices i then “add” more top options to fill up any open space i might have in my suitcase so that if i change my mind or the weather changes drastically i have additional options. I once packed for a 2 night stay and literally only packed 2 tops and 1 bottom with one pair or shoes and i was bummed because i was forced to wear the exact item i packed and i just wasn’t “feeling” that particular item that day…..i know i always overpack but i def make notes if i see something while on my trip that i see someone else wearing that i wish i had packed so i don’t forget the next time – usually a unique piece

  34. One more from me. Leggings can be a lifesaver. I pack or wear one good pair, and I take two more. If packing is tight, I wear them with a tshirt for pajamas. If it’s cold out, I wear them under my waterproof travel pants. With a long tshirt, I can run to the ice machine or whatever in the hotel if needed. Covered Perfectly has a pajama/lounge set, and they’re wonderful! I was wearing them in Boston not long ago, reading, ready for bed, when the alarm came on, and we had to evacuate. I never take robes, so I just slipped on a bra, shoes, and I was out the door wearing my CP loungers. They roll up into nothing and can be washed and dried in the sink.I always do some research before, and I know where the Walmart’s, Dollar stores, drugstores are near the airport or first hotel. So I stop and buy deodorant, hair spray, razor, bug spray, sunscreen, …toiletries that I don’t mind throwing out before heading home. And I always, always pack a couple of clothes pins. Can be used to close that gap in the drapes, to hang up a wet swimsuit. A travel nightlife is a must, too.

  35. My husband and I’ve been to 60+ countries and 15 cruises. After forgetting things, I finally made a list and keep it on my computer. Before each trip I print it and scratch off things that aren’t needed for that particular trip (say, snorkling gear for NYC !). Then I scratch off things as I do them. This way I don’t have to worry about anything being left undone or not packed. If I run across something that needs to be added to my ‘list’, I circle it, so when I get home I can add it to the ‘list’. The 1st part of my list has these categories: SNORKLING, CARRY-ONS, CLOTHES, TOILETRIES, 1st AID, FOOD ITEMS (if we’re staying in a condo), STUFF (binoculars, sewing kit, night light, steamer, extra eyeglasses, etc). The 2nd part of my list contains categories of what to do when: 6MOS: check passport, 2 wks: check weather, fill prescriptions, 5 days: clean out refrigerator, give contact info to relatives or friends and credit card bank, pay bills that are due, start packing, get $$, 1 day: set lights on timers, put jewelry in safe, lock safe. My list has ended a lot of stress of trying to remember everything. I hope this will help you as you begin to travel more. If you’d like to see my entire list, let me know – I’ll send it to you.

  36. Sorry to comment again, Susan, but I didn’t know you are going to Florida. We spend Nov-Dec in Naples, Florida and any of the outfits you show in this post would look perfect there. My clothing choices for this area are almost the same as yours. I can’t recall seeing women in maxi skirts and those wearing skirts tend to sport very smart light coloured jean or straight skirts at knee length, no matter their age or shape. I’m your age & almost your height and have a longer torso and shorter legs. My tailor always hems my dresses & skirts just atop my knees and this helps to make me look taller. Enjoy your vacation!

  37. I am going away for about 7 weeks to Florida and one of the weeks will be on a cruise. I am going to take your advice on the pants for sure. I will have access to a washer and dryer. which helps me not to take my whole wardrobe, but have to take tops and pants that are versatile Guess my work is cut out for me. I have done fine in the past, but my husband says I take too much, so trying to downsize. Toiletries take up a lot of space, I think. I like to take my own shampoo, etc.. I hope others have good tips also. Traveling by car from Ohio to Florida is a challenge, too from cold to hot. A packable puffer has helped with that problem.. I enjoy your blog very much. You always look great, but also because I know a little bit about the areas you visit. My husband spent the summer of 1996 working in Kingsport and I was there for a week with him. We also attended the NASCAR races at Bristol for over 20 years, so we got familiar with the area.

  38. Also remember unless you are going to a very remote area you can always buy whatever you forgot. Just knowing this takes stress off! Even medications can be transferred to a local pharmacy. I have done this! And in some countries you may not need a prescription.
    Walmarts or local stores have clothing.

  39. For a cruise plan you wardrobe around your daily plans. Bring a small container of laundry detergent and clothes pins. Most showers have an expandable line. I also bring a laundry bag, a power strip with charger plugs, notepad, pens and highlighter, and a good book. I bring shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion because the ones provided are not good for my hair and skin. Keep in mind most cruise lines have a shop and promise the prices are in line with “shore” prices. I found this true on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival.

  40. Greetings Susan,
    I am curious how you fit all those items in a carry-on !? Great photos depicting your travel wardrobe, and thank you for sharing. I would like to mention that your hair is much more flattering in the shorter style and in particular swept back from your lovely face.

    1. Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that I take all the pieces I showed for a one week trip. I will use the successful outfit photos to help me pack only the items I will need for my casual solo vacation.

  41. Susan, you are an inspiration, I can’t believe all the outfits you made with a few simple pieces! I am certainly going to copy your style on my next vacation or cruise! Thank you

  42. For Cruises, Chico’s are a must for beautiful jackets and RUANAS. They can be worn with sleeveless or sleeved top underneath. I have several that I bought in 2010 that are still in style and used on most cruises I go on now. There Travelers are great for the plane ride.

  43. I pretty much used the same list as you for 11 days in Scotland and the Shetland Islands in October. I was able to manage quite well with only two pairs of comfortable waterproof walking shoes and also threw in some scarves, gloves and a hat. Carry-on is doable, even for chilly destinations. I have found that, when travelling, a beautiful top is really all that is needed to pair with dark pants for dining or evening entertainment.

  44. I finally got to go to England and Ireland in July. I researched what to wear, pack, etc. but the Texan came out in me after all and I packed too much summery stuff, white jeans, pastel shirts. It was Sumner, right? Well, I stuck out like a sore thumb! Europeans look like they purchased their whole wardrobe at the same store! Black with navy, grey with brown, ugh! We have a picture of me at Stonehenge and I’m wearing a skort in 50 degrees cold rain! I need your Packing School!

  45. Hi Susan, I am moving back North. Florida is great but I have no family here. Do you have any advice for me as far as taking all my clothes with me? I know I have too much but I don’t know what to part with. Any advice will help. Hope Mr. Mickey is well. Thank you, Sheila Gaumer

    1. You will likely be able to use most of your items in layers when you relocate to a northern climate. I don’t wear tank tops, shorts, short dresses, or flip flops here in East Tennessee, but that has more to do with my personal style and age. This might be a good time to let go of things you like least.

  46. Sorry Susan although everything matches each outfit looks the same as the next. Blue and white button down shirts, skinny leg blue jeans….. You need more variety and an injection of colour or pattern.

  47. What do you recommend for a trip To Greece, Santorini a week, Mykonos, 3 days and 3 days in Athens.
    The islands are casual and pretty warm even in September. Jeans really are too warm except in the spring.
    What about the 16 hour plane from San Jose to Athens via Chicago. I always freeze.
    I am 5’1″, 155 lbs. but large busted. Larger on top but not small on the bottom, an X figure.
    My legs still look ok so I can wear 10″ shorts as long as the top is darker than the bottom. I am 74 but active, still a working realtor, and want to look my best. I am blonde, blue eyes, and fair complected but I do somewhat tan a little. (Fortunately do not have grey under my blonde hair yet.)

    1. I would wear solid color separates that are plain, don’t wrinkle, and dry quickly. Wear layers to travel along with comfortable shoes for walking. Take a combination of light and dark colors in tops, bottoms, and a dress or skirt. Materials such as crepe, rayon, silk, bamboo, and tropical wool layer well and look elegant. While in Athens, you can layer a cardigan over a skirt and tank. On Mykonos, you may wear more casual pieces. The key to looking your best and being comfortable while traveling is ensuring all the elements can be layered, mixed, matched, and accessorized.

  48. I didn’t see a place to comment below about using scarves, so I’m commenting here. I like the idea of using a scarf to determine your accent colors. I’m working on a quick-dry, no-iron wardrobe for a 10-day trip using black, white, olive gray, and navy. Of course, I will be packing scarves, too. Thanks for your tips.

  49. Hi Susan I just love your pics and always happy when find some on Pinterest I haven,t seen
    You are so glamorous and always look so well kempt in your photos
    Since joining Pinterest and seeing your posts I have always aspired to copy your styles
    I have lost 20 kgs so being slimmer I think my clothes hang better
    I am at the moment looking through your posts as upcoming holiday in Portugal in March
    I also love white jeans and like you love a blazer I have wardrobes full of clothes and always try to emulate your style or as close as I can get
    I live in Scotland so weather not always your friend as can have 4 seasons in one day
    I just wanted you to know you are such an icon in my eyes and I really enjoy your posts
    I am 68 and now a size UK 12 when I was previously a UK 18
    so have more confidence to wear bright colours and patterns
    Thank You for helping me with better choices of outfits
    Although social life at my age almost non existent I do love to dress up when on holiday
    Thanks Susan and keep up the good work xx


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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.