How to Pack for Vacation

Fashion Illustration: How to Pack for VacationAt a young age my mother taught me how to pack for a vacation. Her technique took at least two weeks, over which time she would put out all her luggage on an unused table. Slowly the suitcases would fill up with the perfect wardrobe, toiletries and other sundries. I don’t need to tell you she never forgot a toothbrush or a hairbrush, or anything else for that matter. My mother was organized and disciplined when it came to packing. She still is. Unfortunately I don’t have the spare table where I can set aside all my vacation items. I must rely on carefully prepared lists, but even these have failed me, like the time I left behind my son’s security blanket. I don’t think he or I slept at all that vacation.

As I write this I am away from home, spending a week at the beach with my family, and I must tell you my packing was slip slop at best.  I’ve always dreamed of having a fabulous travel wardrobe, but for better or for worse I usually just bring the clothes I wear the most in my daily life, with perhaps a bathing suit or a warm coat thrown in for good measure. I no longer use the list to help me stay organized, and I still don’t have a spare table, instead I pack up my toiletries in advance and store them in a carry-on in the closet. Then, a day or maybe even an hour before departure, I throw a lot of T-shirts and my favorite jeans in a bag. It works, sort of, but I can’t help of dream of a better way.

Thankfully the web is there to help, and many of my favorite bloggers love to share their expert tips. Here are a few links to the best articles and inspiration I’ve seen on how to pack for vacation.

How To Pack For Vacation

  1. Recently Gweneth Paltrow journeyed with her family to Indonesia. How do I know this? Well, I subscribe to Goop, her still kind of personal blogThe images are great fun, but what I really find interesting are her suggestions for packing. From business trips to city weekends, here’s what this celebrity takes with her: Packing tips for travel from Goop.
  2. Normally I prefer road trips over airplane travel, but should I ever fly  again I will definitely check Wardrobe Oxygen’s suggestions for in-flight harmony. What to Pack – Flight Carry On Essentials discusses everything she brings with her on the plane.
  3. As always, Allways in Fashion finds a fascinating way to discuss what many others have discussed before, but she just does it so well and from a slightly different viewpoint. Her beautifully written article on traveling in style is not to be missed.
  4. Would you like some eye candy to help inspire your vacation preparation? The Art of Packing by the ever chic and fabulous Park and Cube features a beautiful Louis Vuitton suitcase and gorgeous photos too.
  5. A couple of years ago I boarded an airplane for a weekend away with my husband. Nervous about all the changes in airport security I did a fair amount of research and came up with a post all about it. Check out Travel in Style for my tips on air travel and packing for a weekend get away.
  6. Here’s a fun Pinterest board with lots of inspiration and images on the subject of Packing. I’m always updating my board Travel in Style with new images too.
  7. Some of the most thorough packing tips I’ve seen on-line come from Real Simple Magazine. Packing Tips from the Pros includes the phycology of packing for vacation, ratios of bottoms to tops and a detailed tutorial on how to roll, fold and bundle. I’ll be using their strategies on my next trip for sure!
  8. There’s lots of advice on the internet on how to pack for vacation, but what about tips on what not to bring with you? What Not to Pack from Independent has some good advice on what to leave behind.
  9. For the past several years I have enjoyed road trips with the family every summer. One day I will fly again, and the first place I want to visit is Paris. I lived there for two years in college and my heart never truly left. If you’re planning a vacation to Paris, or any European capital for that matter, you simply must check out  Travel Tips: Packing for France by L’Amour de Paris. This article will give you an in-depth description of what sorts of clothes to pack and why you need to pack less not more.
  10. Finally, the venerated Fodors Travel Guide suggests a few more ways to Slim Down Your Suitcase.

Well, now I just need to go on vacation again so I can try out all these tips. What do you think of these suggestions? Will you try any on your next trip?

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30 Responses to How to Pack for Vacation

  1. L'Amour de Paris July 26, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Thanks so much for featuring our site! We’re actually posting another packing guide on Monday that is updated for summer temperatures. I hope you check it out!

    I am such a big believer in packing light. Ever since I started forcing myself to ONLY bring carry-on suitcases, no matter where the destination or how long the trip, I have been a much happier traveler. I take my packing inspiration from the French – focus on a small number of high quality, classic items that can be worn again and again.

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Thank you so much for your wonderful article! I’m so glad I found you via pinterest, otherwise I don’t think I would have known about your wonderful blog. I can’t wait to see your new packing article.

  2. ANNE TOURAINE Paris™ July 26, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Hi dear Heather,
    Lots of good tips on all these sites (and your illustration is absolutely superb!!!)
    Thanks for sharing. Yet I think it’s only with time and personal experience that one knows exactly how to pack efficiently. On top of my list is – no surprise – a versatile silk scarf. Then several white blouses, two pairs of jeans, a skirt and a nice dress. Navy flat shoes + pumps. Tooth brush, paste, cream, Lipstick and Chanel 5. I call it my ready for any situation / survivor’s kit.
    Hope you are still enjoying the beach. Let me know when you fly back to Paris!

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:36 am #

      I love that you bring Chanel No 5 with you. So chic! I think I need more white blouses in my life, and silk scarves too. (:

  3. Karin July 26, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Thanks a lot for the very informative and useful post.

    I’ll make a link to my resent post about travelling wardrobe, if you don’t mind 🙂

    Have a wonderful summer!
    Karin (Denmark)
    Karin recently posted..Feriegarderoben / The holiday wardrobeMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Thank you Karin! You are more than welcome to link to my site. (:

  4. déjà pseu
    July 26, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    Great tips and links! This is one of my favorite topics and you know I’ll be reading every one. My mother was also one of those who started packing weeks ahead and brought *everything.*
    déjà pseu recently posted..Program NotesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like the post.

  5. Devi aka DearFashionista July 26, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    LOVE your post!! And the artwork is so inspiring…I wish I could illustrate like you!!

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Thank you Devi! I’m glad you like them. More are coming soon.

  6. MARLA ROBINSON July 26, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    These are very good tips.

  7. Alison
    July 27, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    What an amazing post with so many links full oof advice! I am honored to be part of this, love your blog (and your drawing is gorgeous as usual!).
    Alison recently posted..My Favorite ShapewearMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Thank you so much Alison! I love your blog too. So much good advice and wonderful outfit posts too.

  8. Greetje Kamminga July 27, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    I have learned a lot overthe years about packing. And your list added a few more tips.
    I am in the fortunate position like your mom, of laying out everything in another room weeks or days in advance. Shoes are my weakest point. I need a lot of them because if they are really comfortable they are also hidious. And if they are really beautiful, be sure I cannot walk on them for long. So I have to bring and change shoes often.
    Getting better and better all the time. Especially with rolling up.
    If you visit Paris, please stop by in Amsterdam too.
    Greetje Kamminga recently posted..White capris, green blouse, leopard sandals and a man you have to loveMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      I would love to visit Amsterdam! I’ll be sure to pop up there if ever I visit Paris again. (: I totally hear you about shoes. Whenever I go to San Francisco I bring as many as the car will hold. My LA walking shoes are not up to San Francisco’s hills and valleys. Shoes are THE most difficult part about packing.

  9. Annette July 27, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    I also start collecting things about 2 weeks before I go on vacation, especially cosmetics in travel sizes, sun cream, etc.
    Whatever packing advice I read, I’ll allways take the maximum allowed weight…

    Annette | Lady of Style
    Annette recently posted..FLOWER POWERMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Oh Annette, I definitely don’t travel light. Love the idea of it though! Like you I start collecting the cosmetics early. I always feel that’s the most important thing, that and my toothbrush!

  10. Ange July 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Great tips! I love traveling and skillful packing is a definite necessity! I love your illustrations!

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks Ange! So glad you stopped by and left a comment too.

  11. anne the SpyGirl
    July 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Some great links, Heather, thanks! I have two air travel trips coming up and packing tips are exactly what I need!
    I still use an excel list. Need to update it though — no longer need a hairbrush!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..The 4th Annual Two Point Oh! LA Blogger PicnicMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Have a great time on your vacations Anne! I’m glad my post came out in time to be helpful.

  12. shabby chic July 29, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    Great tips here, Highly Appreciated. Thank you!

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. Alexis Grace July 30, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Funny- I am working on a packing post right now, as we are heading off to Thailand this weekend! Definitely have to check out these posts 🙂
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Proenza Schouler Fall 2013 Ad CampaignMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Have a great time! I hope you share some photos of your vacation.

  14. 33 July 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    who said you are not organized?! to come up with all these links!

    i will book mark this blog entry for packing references. one can never learend enough about packing, especially if it is destination specific (locale, weather, type of travel, mode of getting to and from, activities, etc.).

    that’s why packing is hard to be one list tops it all. I have lists of packing for different outtings, mostly hiking, backpacking, car camping, car trip oriented. i find that as long as i save the list i can use the same for the next one as a blue print so that i won’t forget the small things (yes I do edit the list AFTER the trip to add and delete items).

    I also list out meals so that i know if i need to look for a diner or what to pack for food prep.

    • Heather Fonseca July 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      That’s a great idea to update the packing list after the trip to keep it updated. I also used to do a meal list, especially on camping trips. So glad you liked the post!

  15. Anthony December 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks
    for supplying this info.

    • Heather Fonseca December 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks Anthony. Glad you enjoyed the post.