To pack it, or not to pack it – that is the question!

Date: 07/16/2021

I get so many DM’s and questions on how I pack for trips that I thought I would write about my process.  Be sure, it is a process!  I am breaking it down into manageable steps below that help me from getting overwhelmed and from forgetting anything.


This will sound pretty obvious, but I always write down how many days, nights and any activities I plan to do.   I was tired of counting on my fingers a million times and thinking how many days again?  So, I go old school and just write it on a piece of paper – once and done.   It still amazes me how many times I look at that paper!

Review the hotel website and contact them for any special requests.  I do this for a couple reasons – I like to see the ambiance of the hotel or hotels.  Is it casual?  Beachy?  Any special dress codes for restaurants.  I also reach out to request fragrance-free toiletries and see if they can accommodate dietary restrictions.  I also make any spa appointments – this is a fun part😊.  I like to book ahead to ensure I get the service and time slots that work in my schedule.  I can’t tell you how many times I waited until I was checked in and was unable to take advantage of the hotel spa.  Insert frowny emoji here!

Research and book activities ahead of time.  If you found an amazing restaurant or received a great recommendation about a boat excursion or sight to see – book it.  It is always easier to cancel if your plans change when you arrive than it is to get in somewhere last minute.

Check the weather.  Duh.  Once you have your framework of nights, days, activities and you can start to tackle the rest!

Medication, toiletries and non-clothing

I like to start with these items first.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment that helps prepare me to make the “big” decisions… outfits, shoes and accessories!

Medication is a big one for me.  I prepare all my daily vitamins, supplements, shots and creams into zip-lock bags.  I label, if necessary, and start to lay these items out in piles.  I like to see-through the bags and prevent anything from spilling.    I then prep all the items that I “may” need.  First aid kit, charcoal tablets, probiotics (that have saved my life few times when I had food poisoning!) and the like – better safe than sorry.

Toiletries and makeup are next up!  I try to bring samples to reduce the amount of space these items take up or I transfer some of my lotions and potions into travel size containers.  Pro-tip… always ask for free samples!!  I love having spares to pack for trips.

It is such a great feeling to see this part of the process complete and laid out in an area of my house that I have designated as my “prep zone”.  This is key!  Before you even think about what luggage or how to fold, you need to see what you are bringing first.

The clothes

Yes, we did it.  Bring on the good stuff.  I like to think about flexible pieces – tops, pants and skirts that can work well for multiple outfits.  I also like to incorporate dresses that are easy one-hit-wonders.  Keep is simple and easy.  If you have a special event on the agenda, spend time considering how you want to feel in your choice – confident?  elegant?  sexy?  Start laying out pieces in your prep-zone.  Keep them on the hangers and spread them out so you can see the days and night choices coming together for a cohesive look.   For me, this process can span over several days.  Put a few things out, consider it, change it and then start to finalize.  I also tend to pick pieces that I have worn before and know how they fit and behave on my body.  That also helps me understand what undergarments and intimates I need to pair with certain outfits.

Once I have the clothing finalized – I double check to make sure that I have enough to cover the length of my stay and then a couple extra things just in case.  I then get to work on the shoes, handbags and accessories (think scarves, beach hats and cover ups)!  I consider the colors and style of my final clothing pieces and then finalize the shoes and handbags.  All my beauties are lovingly packed in their covers.

If you are following this process, you should now be able to look in your “prep zone” and see how much you are taking and select the appropriate size luggage.  I like to use garment bags for delicate and special items.  The rest gets folded and stacked and tucked away just before departure.  This helps minimize the need to steam or iron once I arrive at my destination.

As for my carry on, this is a big one.  I have “plane essentials”, not to be confused with “plain essentials” as many of you have seen that I like to travel with all the color typical of my daily life.  A large cashmere scarf, face serums, water, hand wipes, essential oils, phone charger, tea bags, vitamins and my snacks.  Just a little glimpse into my carry-on bag.

As always, I love hearing about your ideas and tips that work for you.  Please share and tag me on Instagram @panthereinstyle.

Bon voyage!