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Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Pack for Spring Break Travel

Spring can be one of those weird times of year where you just aren't sure what the weather will be like, even when going somewhere warm and sunny. I've gone on those trips and forgotten to bring a coat or packed only warmer clothes. Just like with all travel, Spring should be one of those times you pack an dress in layers, because it might be cool in the morning and evening and then hot in the afternoon. Bringing just shorts and sandals might be a mistake, so here's a list of what I would bring on a Spring getaway in order to keep warm or cool an still pack light.

Spring Break

Go-to Dress
You always want to bring a dress if you plan to go out or just want something you can throw on and go. A shirt dress or a plainer LBD can always be dressed up with jewelry, giving you the option to wear it out dancing, to a nice dinner or just out sightseeing.

A few pairs of pants are essential, because when it's chillier than expected, it's nice to have something other than shorts to wear and you won't have to buy anything to augment your wardrobe, especially when that money could be better spent on food. I always pack a pair of khakis and wear a pair of stretchy lightweight jeans on the plane, giving me two options and neutrals that are easy to match with.

Bring your 2-3 favorite pairs of shorts that are solid colors, preferably neutral colored, that'll go with all the tops you bring. Solids work best, because then you can bring patterned tops and mix and match for maximum outfit combinations.

A Cardigan
I get cold on the plane and in the hotel room. I also get chilly in the evenings in a lot of places, so having a cardigan on hand is a must for me. I usually bring a back one, because it matches everything, but a big pattern can also work for your wardrobe. As long as it's warm an you love it, you'll make it work.

A Variety of Tops
I make sure that I bring a few tanks and few t-shirts. Remember to bring tops you actually want to wear. I limit myself to four, because I can mix and match and then do a bit of laundry to rewear throughout my trip. Don't forget that the shirt you wear on the plane will rotate into your travel wardrobe, so with five tops, two pants and two shorts, you can make twenty different outfits. 

Two Pair of Shoes
I know, I know, this seems like not enough, but think of the activities you'll be doing an pack for those, not for those "what if" things. I go with a pair of comfy flats that I can wear all day long and a pair of nicer sandals that go with everything I've brought an can double as dressy shoes should I want to go to a nice dinner, but will be totally fine on the beach too. If you plan to do some more outdoorsy activities like hiking, wear your best walking shoes on the plane and save that packing space for something else.

Spring Break 2

Now that we've taken care of the necessities, let's get down to the optional things I still think you should definitely pack.

Rain Jacket
You never know what the weather will bring. The report may claim rain for the next three months, but if you don't plan for it, it will pour down rain in the middle of your trip. I always assume there might be some rain storm or a freak cold front, so a lightweight rain jacket is a must. It can shield you from the downpour, but also makes another layer if you need one. (Remember my trip to Paris where it was 20 degrees out and I wore four layers of clothes to stay warm?)

Sun Hat
Protect your face, head and hair with a sun hat if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. You don't want to bleach out your hair or get sunburned on your scalp (because that's a big ouch). If a hat isn't for you, then make sure you use sunscreen in your part and your tresses. I put a small amount in my palm, rub my hands together, then run my fingers through my hair and rub into my scalp. No sunburn and no fading color.

Your eyes are very important. Squinting isn't pretty and neither are the crow's feet they cause. I wear a pair and pack a pair (because I have a history of losing or breaking my shades on trips) so I'm never without protection for my eyes. 

Lightweight Scarf
Just like with the jacket and cardigan, you never know when you'll need an extra layer of warmth, or a way to cover your head or shoulders if you're planning a trip to a church or other religious establishment. Not all will let you in wearing shorts and a tank top, so make sure you do some research before you head out looking like a tourist. If it's quite warm and you aren't willing to put on something with sleeves, bring your scarf. It's also nice to have when you go inside and they have the a/c blasting.

Bathing Suit
I hardly wear my bathing suit when we travel, but I'm not a big swimmer. Still, I bring it with me just in case. Even if you don't think you'll have occasion to wear yours, it takes up hardly any space, so throw it in your carry-on. You'll be glad you have it if get the chance to swim or jump in the ocean.

Even on overcast days you can get burned and sun damage can occur. I usually pack two small tubes of sunscreen in my 3-1-1 bags (because there are two of us), but I've also used sunscreen wipes and they are easier to use, give the same level of protection and don't have to go in your liquids bag. I like that you can throw them in a bag for mess-free reapplication. If you wear make-up, look for moisturizers and/or foundations with SPF. I like the Take a Deep Breath moisturizer from philosophy.

Lip protection
You don't want cracky and chapped lips on vacation. Make sure you're protecting your pout and making it look pretty too by using a tinted moisturizer with SPF. I'm loving the Fresh Sugar lip treatment that comes in a bunch of colors to match your mood and lets you leave the harsh lipsticks at home. You'll look fresh and also your lips will be protected from the sun.

All these items will easily fit in your carry-on, allowing you to skip paying baggage fees and jump right off the plane and get onto your trip. Now, don't forget your passport (if you need it) and your reading material for the plane and you're set! 

If you're planning a trip for Spring Break, my next newsletter will be full of apps to keep the kids busy on the plane, in the car or while waiting to do something. If you aren't signed up for it, it goes out twice a month and is full of extra tips and deals, sign up now so you aren't missing out:

What are your must-pack items for Spring travel?

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