How to Pack Like a Pro in 3 Easy Steps

How to Pack Like A Pro for Vacation


I have a confession to make. I am a horrible packer. Wait, horrible might be an overstatement, but I am certainly no expert. I have packing fails all the time which might actually surprise some people. I can certainly plan a great outfit for whatever events I plan to attend on said trip but its sometimes the small details that I leave out. I guess you could say that I am a big picture thinker when it comes to packing.

I recently went on a weekend visit and forgot loungewear and pajamas. I literally had jeans, silk tops and maxi dresses in my bag. When I retired to my room that evening and looked into my bag my face fell. “Where are my pjs?!” I demanded out loud as if someone named Jeffrey had packed the bag for me.

I could go on about the time I had no undergarments, no tennis shoes for my workout gear or had to scourer a friends medicine cabinet for mascara.

But this year I decided to get it together in this area. I am usually packed and ready (or so I think) weeks before an extended trip and a few days before a weekend trip, but I think this early packing has led me to leave out the small stuff. So here is what I have decided to do to #PackLikeAPro

  • Do my research-whenever I begin to put together what I plan to take with me on vacation I start with a rough draft of outfits. It’s basically a list, and I will talk more about that later, but I decide what I want to wear. For my upcoming Alaskan cruise I completed my whole list before realizing I had made it on autopilot. Everything I had selected was more appropriate for a Caribbean vacation- my typical cruise destination, not Alaska! So I hopped online and went to Pinterest for some ideas. I found a few pins for an Alaskan cruise, but I never leave it at that. I also google images of locals in the area in which I plan to travel. Sometimes stock photos or someone’s wish list don’t make up the reality of the region. A few google images of locals will tell you everything you need to know. Make sure you include the time you plan to travel. Some areas have temps that vary widely based on the season or time of year.
  • Come up with a theme-okay another confession. I’m a little corny and love a good theme. Theme parties, matching halloween costume outfits, Taco Tuesdays, you name it. So it’s no surprise that when I plan for a vacation I like to come up with a theme. I find that having a focus for my wardrobe makes it easier to come up with outfits that work with my capsule wardrobe (read more about that here). I start with a neutral base and decide what colors work for my theme. For this upcoming cruise I decided that since we are cruising during July i’d highlight Independence day aka America’s birthday with my own July born day. My two colors I’ve worked in with my neutrals (mostly white) are of course red and blue. Coming up with a theme or the more fashion forward sounding term a Color Story makes packing so much easier, as everything is interchangeable and I can create several different outfits or switch up the ones I have in mind at the last minute and everything will work together. Having a theme takes the guess work out of getting ready each day and allows you to roll with the punches if your group changes its mind on an event or you have unexpected weather that just doesn’t fit with what you had originally planned.
  • Make a list and check it twice-So this is the area that I need more work in. Not in the list making, because if you have been following the blog I make lists for everything. I start with the basics. What do I need for said vacation? Then I review my agenda-What do I need to add to my basics for each event I plan to attend. Then I actually write out a morning and afternoon outfit for each event. Again… this part is golden but what I need to do and will do, for this trip is make a list of all essentials (including undergarments and sleepwear). I typically lay everything out on my bed and check off my list but some smaller items that I am still using don’t make it into the bag ahead of time (i.e my favorite mascara) because I am still using them. So my new thing will be to go back through my list the morning or day of and make sure I have checked off some of the smaller but still essential things. Seems simple enough. I will let you know how it works out.

I’m semi packed and ready for my @Halcruise with Oprah and friends and my #ChicosCrew I only need to check my list twice.  Check out my video below #sponsored to see some of the fabulous outfits I picked for the Cruise and let me know what you think in the comments below. You can find these items here @lovechicos

I’d love to hear about what tips you use to #PackLikeAPro

Until next post,

xo signature


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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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