It’s about that time for many of us to start traveling for the Summer as the semester comes to a close (thank GOD!). As for myself, I flew to Chicago two weeks ago for my Spring Break and decided to give you guys a travel guide because I know packing can be stressful (especially if you pack last minute) or if you’re like me and overpack (oops). In my defense though, I go to sleep wanting to slay the next morning but I end up going to my Monday classes in a hoodie, lol.
I also like to make a tentative itinerary of places I would like to see as well as restaurants to try, with addresses for both, including times they open/close so I can make the most out of my time. Clearly I like to stay organized, but this also helps me pack because I have an idea of the places I’ll be visiting.
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Regardless of where I’m going, I have a notepad of essentials that I need for almost every trip and adjust it depending on my destination. A week before I leave, I like to go ahead and stock up on whatever I’m running low on that will also be coming with me on my vacay. For example, the 3 weeks prior to my trip to the Windy City, I was running low on concealer and my fave moisturizer. Knowing I was going on a trip, I didn’t bother running to the store every time I ran out of a beauty or skincare product. Instead, I made a trip to Target on Sunday to stock up on everything I needed before my flight on Wednesday. Of course, it’s totally optional to restock your skincare/beauty essentials right before a trip but I always have some sort of dupe or replacement lying around that I use because it’s easier for me to run to the store for everything all at once.
*TIP: DO NOT forget to pack a small bag of medication such as painkillers, Zantac, and any other medication you may need to toss into a small bag or purse. It will save you the hassle of running to the drugstore God forbid you get sick!
CHECK THE WEATHER!
This is so important and surprisingly many people forget to check the weather of their destination because they assume what the weather will be like (i.e: Florida is always sunny. It rains there pretty randomly) but it is always better to be safe than sorry. As soon as I confirmed my hotel/flight I checked the weather for Chicago and unfortunately, the Windy City weather report was being bipolar leaving me confused as to what to pack. At first the 10 day forecast said it would be snowing but changed to freezing rain, light showers, to a normal sunny day. Talk about a rollercoaster! (It definitely was cold the day we landed & did in fact snow later that day #yay).
READY, SET, STYLE!
Now that you have stocked up on anything you were low/out of and have checked the weather, you can start to plan your outfits. I like to stick to a basic guideline of “types of outfits” when I travel and it has never failed me and leaves me room to pack various options and styles.
For starters, you need a comfy airport outfit (depending on how long your flight is and whether or not you’ll be able to check into your hotel as soon as you land). This is important because most check-in times are at 3 pm and if you have a red-eye flight (like I do) you want to be comfortable for the flight yet be dressed enough to be able to start site-seeing or go out to eat.
Depending on the number of days you’re on vacation, you want to follow the 1 casual/1 slay rule. You may be doing an adventurous activity yet going to a fancy dinner spot at night, so having both options for each day is always helpful. Be careful following this rule in order to avoid over-packing. For example, I’m gone for a total of 4 days and 3 nights so I packed 3 casual outfits (not including my airport one) and 3 dressy outfits with a variety of shoes and tops I can interchange with my casual outfits. After all, wearing an outfit two different ways and folding everything neatly will save space in your suitcase!
Pack pieces that you can wear alone or layer. Layering with a long cardigan, kimono or trench coat will allow you to take it off/put it on throughout the day should the weather fluctuate and again—add variety to your outfits, allowing you to pack lightly yet stylishly. (#score!)
As you can see, I laid out all my shoes, jeans and blouses in separate piles and made outfits with the appropriate shoe and accessory. If I liked the way it looked, it was lined up on my bed so by the end of all of my outfits—I could see what kind of colors and different styles I had (taking out and adjusting whatever style that was too repetitive). After the first 2-3 outfits, I started using only tops or layering pieces (sometimes a different jean) and matched them to clothes already in the pile I planned on taking. That way, all the clothes could be worn more than one way. I took pictures as I went for the purpose of this blog post, but it actually helped my sister & I coordinate outfits so that her suitcase could be filled with whatever else that didn’t fit in mine. (We wear each others clothes so technically—I had two suitcases to work with 😉 although she did pick out some looks only she planned on wearing).
Since I’m in school I almost never get to wear my collection of heels. I fought the urge to bring them all and settled for a nude, neon & floral heel to bring a little something extra to my casual outfits. I wore my white all-star converse to the airport so my bag only had three pairs of heels. My sister wore my combat boots and since the weather was predicted to be cold-ish – we were prepared for whatever. Not to mention, the combat boots will give an edge to any of my casual outfits versus my converses.
You didn’t think I would skip this section did you? Lol, so I don’t recommend traveling with all your makeup because God forbid your luggage gets lost (#nightmare).
Living in the South, I don’t need moisturizer as much as I would in a windy/cold city so my CeraVe lotion was the first thing I threw in my beauty bag followed by a toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure you have only your needed skincare essentials—do not take your entire vanity with you. A simple face cleanser, makeup remover wipes and some Mario Bidescu Drying lotion will do the trick for a few days. Even a small face mask packet (since airplanes tend to dry you out).
Take your routine makeup, applicator/brushes and one eye shadow palette that can create multiple looks. Since I shower at night to let my hair naturally dry (and since most hotels have blow dryers) I only packed my straightener and 32 mm NuMe wand to create different looks throughout my trip. If you’re staying somewhere for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t bother lugging a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. I usually drop into the closest drugstore and pick it up in the city I’m vising (some hotels will give you bottles on the daily too).
I took my big Kate Spade bag to hold my laptop, DSLR, phone chargers, wallet, etc. as well as any small items that could get lost in my suitcase (i.e: extra hair-ties, bobby pins, painkillers, etc).
I hope this was helpful! You can check out the detailed post on how I styled my outfits here.