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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Packing Light for Your Summer Road Trips

Summer is coming and that means packing light should be easy. Well, I've learned that isn't true for a lot of people. While I'm like "throw a bathing suit, some sandals, sunscreen and a pair of shorts in a bag", others are sitting there wondering how they can cram 10 pairs of shoes into a carry-on for a 4-day trip. No! You need my summer packing tips!

Even though you may be road tripping, remember that packing light helps you save room for food, purchases, and everyone else you're traveling with.

Even though you may be road tripping, remember that you will also need room for food, drinks, purchases, and whatever else you need to make your trip more comfortable, especially if you're traveling with kids and/or a dog.

First of all, wherever you go, you probably won't know anyone and you probably won't see them again. Nobody will remember what you were wearing or if you wore the same pair of shorts two, or even three, times. Unless you're getting married and have to bring a giant dress with you, there is no reason you can't pack light for any trip, including your awesome summer getaway.
My NUMBER ONE rule is to mix and match. Remember that your outfit on the plane is not just a travel outfit, but something to add to your rotation when you arrive. If you're headed to a warm weather locale, then here's how I pack: 
  • One or two pair of shorts 
  • One pair of capris 
  • One sundress
  • One mid-length skirt
  • One pair of walking shoes (that you should wear on the plane or in the car)
  • One pair of comfy sandals or other nicer shoes you can walk all day in
Choose a neutral color scheme. I normally pick black, tan or blue for my bottoms. This enables you to choose things that work with all your bottoms. When I travel in the summer, I wear capris, lightweight pants or a skirt on the plane (or in the car), then toss two good pair of shorts into my bag, either the capris or skirt that I'm not wearing, a good summer dress (often this is a travel dress that is cute and moisture wicking). 

I try to wear my bulkier shoes while traveling and pack the smaller pair. Make sure you don't bring a pair of shoes that you haven't broken in yet. Trust me. You don't want to find out how uncomfortable your new shoes are on Day 1 of your trip. It sucks. I do a  ton of walking on my trips, so a good pair of walking shoes (Skechers, Clarks, Aerosoles are favorites) is a must

For your other pair of shoes, choose a cute pair of sandals or flats that will work with your dress, but also with your other bottoms. It sometimes is terrible to have sweaty feet in sneakers when you just want your toes to breathe. I have several really good sandals that I can walk all day in, including these from Clarks, these from Aerosoles, and Jambu sandals similar to these.

Obviously, this can be tailored to your needs. If you don't like skirts, don't take one. If you only wear skirts, don't bring shorts or capris. If you're a dude who doesn't wear skirts or dresses, bring a pair of lightweight trousers and some loafers you can wear to a nice restaurant. Easy! Toss in a pair of flip flops for trips to the pool and runs to the front desk.

When you go to choose tops, think of both fashion and function. You don't want to sweat, but you want to look cute. If you've done your job in creating a neutral palette for your bottoms, this should be easier. Take a mix of 5 tops, making sure at least one can feel dressed up if paired with the skirt for a night out. Just in case. 

Bring a lightweight cardigan that can be used as a layer when it's chilly indoors or on the plane. I also bring a scarf/wrap that matches everything, because sometimes you don't want a full layer, but something that you can use to keep your shoulders covered (this is especially important if you're traveling somewhere and visiting temples). You can also use it as a sarong. 

Toss in your favorite bathing suit, sunglasses and a good sunscreen and you're good to go wherever there's a pool or a beach. 

I know you're thinking that this can't possibly be enough clothes to get you through 1-2 weeks at a destination. Well, you'd be right if you weren't planning to rewear any of these things, but you're a budget traveler, you don't pay to check a bag, and you plan some downtime in your trips to relax and do a bit of laundry. With these nice pieces of clothing, you can make 15 unique outfits, which will take you through more than a long trip of two weeks. 

Since I'm saving so much room in my carry-on, I make sure to include my favorite folding mesh laundry basket, which I use as a hamper until it's full or I'm low on shirts, then I take it with me to dump in the washing machine. I also keep a small bag of detergent (or laundry strips) and a couple dollars in quarters, so I'm always ready. I've stayed places where the laundry was free and others where it was not. I've also stayed places where detergent was readily available and others where you had to go to the store to get some. Be prepared! These are things that take up little room and make your life easier.

And now you know my secrets to summer packing! Are you traveling this summer?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and I will be compensated for anything you buy through my links. Thanks in advance for your support!

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