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How to Pack Light: Summer Carry-on Tips

By Savy Kroop

Summer is here and it’s time to kick back and relax with a trip to your destination of choice! If you’re anything like me, though, traveling, packing and airports can be stressful. We all know you’re supposed to “pack light”, but it’s easier said than done. How are you supposed to pack a bag that’s small enough to carry-on and still look cute throughout your entire vacation? The solution lies in creating a mini summer capsule wardrobe! When every single piece you pack goes together, you can’t really go wrong.

What to Take on the Plane

This one’s an oft-proclaimed traveling tip, but it bears repeating: wear your bulkiest pair of shoes and your jacket on the plane. This will allow you to pack light without sacrificing important pieces – whether it’s a pair chunky sneakers or your favorite denim jacket. Not to mention that planes often get very cold, so having your jacket handy is a win-win.

For your one personal item, I recommend a cute backpack instead of a purse. This will give you a lot more capacity and is great for on-the-go sightseeing. Lastly, don’t forget to bring a refillable water bottle (empty it out before security, of course). This will save you from buying a $6 bottle of water at the airport and/or desperately waiting for your flight attendant to come around with a teeny glass of water to quench your thirst.

Pack Light with a Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

I used to plan out every single outfit for each day of my vacation. This usually ended up in a suitcase overstuffed with an obscene amount of shoes, not to mention that I brought along tons of pieces that I never ended up wearing. No more! Even though I don’t subscribe to a capsule wardrobe when I’m at home, it makes vacation packing a warm ocean breeze.

A capsule wardrobe is a selection of staple items that can be easily mixed and matched. When I recently went to Florida to visit my family, for example, I brought along:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3 tee shirts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses

With these items, I was able to put together at least 5 completely different looks! It also gave me a lot of flexibility to create an outfit that actually fit the temperature and situation on-the-fly. What they say is true – less is more! When you pack light with a capsule wardrobe, you can customize it to any style, but I definitely recommend including a simple T-shirt. You can wear it tucked, untucked, tied in a knot, over or under a dress and, if you’re feeling crazy, you could even cut into a crop top.

Double the Fun

My favorite tip to pack light is bringing pieces that can serve more than one purpose – for example, this sweet lemon-print swimsuit that can double as a cute tank top. BOOM! You just created another look for your vacation wardrobe. P.S. If you’re bringing extra sunnies and don’t have a case for them, just tuck them into your shoes to keep them safe throughout your journey.

The key to a successful capsule wardrobe, of course, is having solid staples that you truly love. If you’re not finding what you need in your own wardrobe, head down to your local Buffalo Exchange to trade in that great pair of jeans that just never fit quite right for new-to-you summer styles perfect for your vacation capsule wardrobe. Bon voyage!