11 Tips for Packing Light on Summer Vacation

summer vacation packing light tips

Summer is Upon Us!

So you are trying to make the most of these sunny rays by planning a summer vacation – but how do you look adorable on the beach, at the restaurant, and outside hiking WITHOUT breaking your back carrying a gazillion suitcases? (I’m pretty sure that’s an exact number…)

Friends, I am all about packing light, but not if it means skimping on style. You are going somewhere special and you deserve to look your best! So how do you maximize your space without leaving behind your favorites?

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I am here to tell you it is possible! With these few packing tips you will be styling here to there and all out of just ONE SUITCASE. So without wasting anymore time, here are 11 packing tips to help you pack light for summer vacation…

Tip #1 Roll your clothes

This is probably the most common packing hack – because it works! Rolling your clothes really does save a TON of space. Bulky items such as jeans, t-shirts and jackets roll the best. Plus, rolling helps prevent wrinkles – who doesn’t love that?

Tip #2 Pack more jewelry

Jewelry is small and compact. It takes up next to no space in your suitcase. Packing a few different necklaces can make each outfit look different and polished. Having a larger selection of jewelry can really help add variety to a small wardrobe. 

Tip #3 Pack more bathing suits

Obviously this one only applies if you are going somewhere with water. But think about it – bathing suits are tiny and cute bathing suit throws are so thin! They give you an entire outfit rolled into a very compact space. More outfits planned around a bikini means more free space for other things. 

Tip #4 Bring a ziplock bag for your wet bikini

Okay this one doesn’t really save you any space but it’s a good idea. Who wants to pack a wet bathing suit in with all your clothes for an entire flight home? Not me…

EXTRA TIP: Along those same lines, pack your liquids inside a ziplock bag (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc). Changes in altitude cause changes in pressure, which means that lotion bottle could pop. I would definitely recommend putting any liquids inside a baggie to protect your other items.

Tip #5 Use mini everything

Speaking of shampoo and conditioner, do you really use 3.4oz in one trip? Packing light is all about necessities. Save space by downsizing to 1 or 2oz bottles. Stock up on sample sized items – perfume is a great example of this! Splurge a little on mini bottles, mini deodorant, mini hair spray or mini whatever – it’s worth the space.

Downsizing your overnight bag  could save you some major space. Check out this article by Ash Friemel on how to downsize your beauty bag (not an affiliate, her advice is just that good!).

Tip #6 Layer up on the plane

Wearing your bulkiest items on the plane will 100% save you space. Wear your jeans. Wear your biggest jacket. If you can stand it, wear more than 1 shirt. Got bulky accessories? Pick your favorite hat and wear that on the plane too! Get crazy with it! No wait, hold on… 

It’s easy to get carried away with this one but remember not to sacrifice comfort. You still have to sit on a plane for hours. Just try to find that balance between comfort and bulk. You can only do your best.

Tip #7 To pack sneakers or to no pack sneakers

This one is entirely up to you. You could save a bunch of space by wearing your bulkier shoes on the plane OR you could use them to protect delicate objects inside your suitcase. Personally, I think the most conservative space option is to wear them, but hey, if you’ve got breakables, protect those puppies with some sneakers!

As for other shoes, think light. I would try to keep your total number to 2 or 3. One pair of sneakers, flip flops, and nice sandals is usually enough for me. If you must bring heels, remember the shorter the heel, the more space saved.

Tip #8 Pack electronics in your carry on

Laptops/cameras/tablets can take up a lot of space. Also, if something were to happen to your luggage, airlines don’t normally compensate for the loss of these expensive items. Keep them close where you can see them!

(Still not sure you’ve packed everything? Use our Must Have Summer Vacation Packing Checklist to be certain!)

Tip #9 Pack 1 pair of jeans and 1 jacket

Pack one pair of jeans and multiple shirts that can go with them. You can wear jeans for a few days without washing them. Minimize the number of long pants you pack since they take up much more space than shirts and shorts (still assuming you’re traveling somewhere warm). 

Same thought goes for jackets and outerwear. Pack one and plan to mix and match other aspects of your outfit for variety. 

Tip #10 Pack a summer dress

Dresses are perfect for packing light. They tend to be thin material that is easily rolled. Packing one dress instead of long pants and a shirt will definitely save you some space.

Tip #11 Use the rule of neutrals

In order to save space, pro packers decide to bring either neutral tops or neutral bottoms. Huge potential for outfit variety here. Following this rule allows you to pack less items while making mixing and matching easier. Packing more options into less space – isn’t that the whole point of this?

Now go enjoy that summer vacation like you deserve! And please, have an extra sip of that margarita for me ;).

summer vacation packing light tips
summer vacation packing light tips

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Meet the Author

Hi there! My name is Karina. I am the creator behind the handmade jewelry website, Kcrafts.net. It’s my goal that my customers feel comfortable and project confidence everyday! I accomplish that by sharing knowledge about gemstones and jewelry (mixed with a dash of motivation and fashion inspiration!).  Follow Kcrafts on social media or check out the shop to see what it’s all about.

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