Up, Up & Away: "What To Pack" Checklist For A Trip

Featured in Chaarmz Magazine 


By Amie DiCarlo



In Fall, we feel a powerful desire for signs of change.. For some of us, this means  escaping our environments to warmer weather or exploring unfamiliar territories in search of new experiences. Whether it’s a one-week beach vacation, or a three-week Euro trip, we are all faced with the “empty suitcase” syndrome. Howcan we condense a slice of home into approximately 50 lbs, the average weight of a standardpiece of luggage? Some of us are so nervous about the task that we procrastinate and rush to pack just hours before check-in! The cool and collected, however, have a system for packing which makes their experience so much more enjoyable.

Next time you need to pack for a getaway, pour yourself a glass of bubbly, turn on yourfavourite playlist, and follow these guidelines. You’re officially about to become a pro-packer!


1. Do Your Outfit Math - How Many Days Are You Traveling For? 

Let’s say for example you are taking a five day beach vacation. Calculate starting from day 1, which includes leaving for the airport, up to day 5, which includes the day you fly back. Your airport ensemble is just as important as your destination outfits, which is why you need to include it in your count. Leave your departing outfit folded up on your dresser, and pack a change of clothes in your purse if the temperature when you arrive is much different from where you came. For example, if you’re flying South for the Winter, pack a t-shirt and sandals in your tote-bag so that you can easily run to the bathroom when you land, switch up your outfit and fit right into your new surroundings!

Ask yourself how you will be spending your time and what types of activities you’ll beengaging in. I highly recommend you create a chart like this:









Leave for Airport

Gym/ Breakfast at Cafe

Morning Tour Adventure

Gym/ Beach







Leave For Airport


Casual Dinner

Elegant   Dinner

Casual  Dinner

Elegant Dinner



Visualize your trip. Imagine what you will be doing in the morning, at mid-day, and in the evening. This will help you calculate how many outfits you need to prepare. Let’s continue with our beach vacation example. According to day 1 on this chart, aside from your airport outfit and change of clothes for arrival, you will need a transitional outfit that will take you from lunch to the beach, and a different look for the evening. Your transitional outfit could consist of a bikini, covered by a lace kimono and denim shorts. Kimonos are ideal because they easily transition from a day look into a cover up for the beach. Fast forward to the evening: with skin slightly sun-kissed, you might be inclined to dawn a vibrant dress with strappy sandals, small clutch and a pair of sparkly earrings.

For short trips, I personally don’t mind packing a little more than I need, in case I want a few more options. For vacations longer than 5-7 days, you can definitely count outfit repeats or mix-n-match pieces which will help reduce the amount of items you take with you.

PACKING TIP: One of the most effective ways to pack is to roll your clothes. Start from one end of a piece of clothing and roll up into a bundle. This maximizes space in your luggage and evenly distributes weight. Pack bigger and heavier items such as shoes and bags at the bottom of your suitcase, and work your way up to lighter items.

2. Lay Out Your Outfits - Take Pictures

After you’ve visualized what you will need, it’s time to pick out your outfits. I strongly recommend you put your looks together completely from top to bottom so that there will be no “figuring out” what to wear when you get to your destination. Try the outfit on at home and look at yourself in the mirror. You will want to take only your top favourites that make you feel 100 percent confident. For every outfit you put together, take a picture and create an album titled “VACATION OUTFITS” on your smartphone so that you can refer to it once you’re in vacation mode.

3. Choose Your Palette

When putting your outfits together at home, make life easier by choosing a palette. Will you take with you all brightly coloured clothing, neutrals or mostly blacks? The point is to stick to a palette in your wardrobe so that you can easily plan your accessories around it. If you chose all brights for instance, shades of fuchsia, purple, blues, yellows, and greens, then you can easily pack a pair of nude strappy heels and a matching clutch, which will beautifully pair with all your outfits. Let’s say, alternatively, you go with packing mostly neutrals in your wardrobe: shades of cream, white, sand, and beige. Then you might be more inclined to pack colourful shoes and matching clutches that will change up your styled looks. On a side note, I always recommend you pack at least one or two exceptional star-rated evening outfits to include some shock factor while you’re there. After all, you just never know what mood you’re going to be in!

4. Plan Your Accessories - Shoes & Bags

Every woman knows that great shoes and bags can make or break an outfit. This is why it’s highly important to pack the right trappings that will make your holiday wardrobe next-level. Keep in mind, while you’re on vacation you’ll want to look and feel your best, so bring only your top-desired items. When it comes to shoes, make sure you have all your bases covered, which can include: kicks for the airport, athletic shoes for the gym and/or adventure trails, casual sandals for pool-side lunches, beach sandals, and evening shoes for your night looks. I also like to pack a pair of plastic sandals for the shower for hygienic purposes, and a plush pair of slippers for the room. Now that’s expert shoe-packing! Let’s discuss bags. Your list may include: airport tote, poolside/beach bag, fanny pack for adventures, day bag for shopping, and one or two clutches for your evening looks. Taking all your activities into account will ensure your accessories are on point.

5. Jewelry Basics - Keep it Neutral

When it comes to jewelry, it’s best to keep it simple. Stow away necklaces, earrings, and ringsin neutral metal colours like gold, silver, and rose gold. Since neutrals go with all outfits, you won’t have to over-pack jewelry, which can be heavy in your luggage. You might want to add one or two colourful statement earrings just to add some wow factor to your evening looks. Some like to use a jewelry organizer to pack their dangles, but you can also store your bling inside your clutches to save space. Don’t forget to add one or two belts for variety, just in case you’ll want to change up a few of your looks.

6. Beach Necessities

If your vacation has a beach component, then you’ll want to be certain you pack enough swimwear to have variety in your beach looks. Besides swimsuits, be sure to add a sun-hat or cap, glasses, beach bag, cover-ups, and sandals. Try to choose a plain beach bag without excessive pattern and sandal that goes with every ensemble to ensure you always look coordinated. It’s also trendy to wear jewelry at the beach, so be sure to pack a body-chain or long necklace to stay current.

7. Seasonal “Just In Case” Items

It’s always wise to take into account all the elements that you might encounter when you’re away. I like to pack some “just in case” items, to ensure no matter what comes your way, you’re always ready for the unexpected. Such items in your checklist could include: a portableumbrella for surprise rain-showers, a heavier jacket in case it’s colder than you expected, and a pashmina scarf for chilly nights that won’t spoil your evening looks. Seasonal items are considered back-up items, so you only need to worry about packing at least one of each. In times of emergency, we don’t get picky. It doesn’t matter if your umbrella doesn’t match your outfit that day, or if your heavier jacket is black and doesn’t really match your sundress. You’ll likely never wear it on the vacation, but at least you’ll have it just in case you need it

8. Bedside Stories

When packing for travel, a lot of people forget to recreate the private comforts of their bedside routines. Personal care and self love are so important and can truly make your vacation experience regenerating. Leave room in your suitcase for your most treasured sleepwear and lingerie. Whatever you’re used to doing at home as part of your sleep routine, continue that flow on vacation. For example, if you sleep with an eye mask or silk pillow-case, bear those items in mind when deciding what to take with you. I always encourage people to pack a favourite candle or room spray, to make their hotel room feel like a home away from home. Scents have a strong effect on our general feelings of wellness and can truly impact our sleep quality.

9. Skin, Hair & Body Care

One of the most important routines in our lives is our skincare. For skin care enthusiasts, a one to three week escape is no reason to put a halt to their skincare regime. Face creams can be heavy, not to mention, cleansers, toners, eye creams, lip masks, SPF creams, and exfoliants. Bottles are usually large and heavy, so you’ll definitely want to invest in travel size cases and scoop out just the amount you need.

If you’ve spent a decent amount of money on salon grade shampoo, body soaps/creams that nourish the scalp and skin, I highly recommend taking the time to pack these in travel size containers also. Our skin, hair and bodies feel a change if such routines are interrupted. You’llalso want to pack your styling tools: hair straightener or curler, hairsprays, and spray-shines.

Make-up is a whole other issue when it comes to packing. For beauty junkies, this is always a dilemma. Is it really necessary to bring all 5 shades of our favourite lipstick? And what about all those make-up brushes? My advice is to settle on a natural glowy look that suits every occasion. Pack your basic brushes and palettes, and keep your make-up bag simple for your vacation. You can always pick up a new shade while leisure shopping.

10. Take-Aways: Tech & Leisure

When traveling, we always enjoy a good book or two, or may even have moments where we can catch up on a few emails. If you’re a workaholic like me, taking your laptop is a comfort, even on a holiday. And make sure you pack your chargers, as the last thing you want to forgetis a power chord! Some may even go as far as packing a portable speaker for the hotel room or beach. Other take-aways could include a notebook and pen for journaling, your favourite magazine, or portable tablet. Be sure to include whatever gives you peace of mind.



Now that you have this checklist in your arsenal, you can officially engage in the art ofpacking without fear or hesitation. Packing will be a joy and something you look forward tofor your next vacation!


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