I think I might be a rare type, but I love packing! Not always, but for big trips I feel like part of the excitement and joy in the experience of traveling is the time spent envisioning what you will be doing as you handpick the different outfits you will wear while away. Still, managing to pack everything you need while anticipating the weather, possible needs to dress up, AND still getting the bag to zip can be a challenge for anyone.

To put together a ready-to-go suitcase filled with what I would need for up to a week here’s a list of tips I try to follow:

Bring pants that dress up or down

Choose a color palette for your travel outfits made up of two to three neutrals and one to two accent colors if desired. I usually like to start with bottoms, selecting my most comfortable and wrinkle-resistant bottoms that will work for the destination. I like to have a couple of options both short and long. A couple of my favorite picks in this category include the UltraSofts Knit Leggings (great for dressing up or dressing down), cool and comfortable Drawstring Harem Pants by Simply Noelle, and the lightweight Chambray Drawstring shorts –taking  up barely any room in my suitcase. Maxi skirts don’t get much love on “what to pack” lists but they are my go-to favorite! Your legs are covered up, but can still breathe.  Maxi skirts are another item that can easily be dressed up or down, like this pick from Kaktus.

Choose shirts and blouses you can mix-and-match

Next, I’ll select my tops aiming to choose a mixture of a basic t-shirt or tank option, a tunic, and a dressier blouse option. Try to be dense. Folded is smaller than wadded. Folded and rolled: smaller still.

Add styling with layers

The number and type of these will vary dependent on where exactly you are going and the time of year. Having said that, it is never a bad idea to bring a light cardigan just in case. I recommend the UltraSofts cardigan—soft, lightweight and easy to slip-on when you need it. Adding additional layering options can also help create outfit options. For example, this Crochet Textured Jacket looks great over a basic tee or tank. Also, you many want to include a rain jacket in case you encounter an unexpected shower during your trip.

Give variety to basics with accessories

Traveling during the summer season means it is usually always a good idea to keep a pair of sunglasses and hat handy. The Rollaway Sun Hat is great for packing and can be tucked into a handbag or into your luggage for easy transport. I like to pack a lightweight scarf and necklace as well to dress up some of my basics. This is also a time to bring in those miscellaneous clothing items like your favorite swimsuit which might be nice to have just in case.

Stay tuned for how to mix-and-match these outfit options later this week.

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