Packing Guide

The Ultimate Packing Guide

As a self-confessed travel-addict, I’m away from home a lot. And while it is one of the most exhilarating things in life to plan, prepare for and finally leave for my next adventure, there’s one aspect of travel that always causes me mild stress. It’s packing.

I work with my personal styling clients on planning and styling their holiday wardrobes. And when they tell me how they generally plan and pack for a holiday, I can only describe it as a “scatter gun” approach. They would open their wardrobe, and throw in a miscellaneous set of clothes and hope for the best.

The scatter gun approach is not ideal. When travelling, it is important that you feel 100% comfortable and confident in your outfits, so that you have one less thing to worry about, and you can throw yourself into enjoying every moment of your holiday. Additionally, a haphazard approach to packing often results in overpacking. Have you ever packed something that you haven’t worn in years “just in case”?

I’ve been there too, and the dilemma of it all led me to coming up with a tried and tested packing strategy that works every time. It does take a bit of forward planning. But it will save you time and outfit-related stress at the other end, and will ensure you have a streamlined suitcase, with enough room to fit holiday purchases in.

And so, to save you from fashion emergencies when away from home, I share with you the Second Sister Ultimate Packing Guide:

  1. Think Ahead

First step is to think ahead to get an idea of the occasions you’ll be dressing for:

  • how many days and nights will you be away for?
  • what will the weather be doing? Check your weather app for your destination.
  • what activities are planned for your trip? Hiking? Swimming? Board meetings? Dinners at dressy restaurants? Client dinners? Casual restaurants? Beach days? Spa days?

2. Draw up your Outfit Plan

Here’s the strategic part. Once you know what is planned for your trip, draw up a chart for each day and night of your trip. Even if you don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing each day, you should have a rough idea. So make up a likely schedule and plan accordingly.

In the chart, list each outfit (including all individual pieces) you’re going to wear each day and each night. When listing the pieces for your outfits, be realistic. Chances are if you have a gold lamé top that you haven’t worn in over a year, you’re probably not going to all of a sudden love wearing it on holiday.

Here’s a chart I prepared earlier, for my last beach holiday:

Day 1 (travelling and exploring, followed by casual dinner)

  Day Night
Top White linen shirt Blue floral dress
Bottom Blue Levis N/A
Belt Tan woven belt Tan tassel belt
Shoes Tan flat sandals Tan high heel strappy sandals
Jewellery Yellow tassel earrings and gold bracelet Same as for daytime
Sunglasses Aviators N/A
Bag Basket Basket
Scarf N/A N/A
Coat/Jacket Biker jacket Biker jacket
Other N/A N/A

Day 2 (beach day followed by formal restaurant for dinner)

  Day Night
Top White khaftan Black Maxi dress
Bottom Blue bikini N/A
Belt Tan tassel belt Gucci belt
Shoes Tan flat sandals Tan high heel strappy sandals
Jewellery Yellow beach beaded necklace and yellow tassel earrings Gold hoop earrings, matching gold necklace
Sunglasses Celine sunglasses N/A
Bag Beach bag and embroidered clutch for wallet, phone etc. Embroidered clutch
Scarf N/A N/A
Coat/Jacket N/A Kimono jacket
Other White sarong and floppy straw hat Strapless bra

Simply repeat the chart for each day of your holiday or work trip. Packing will be a breeze – all you do is throw each item listed into your case. No more over packing and fabulous outfits for every occasion on arrival.

3. Don’t forget the Miscellaneous Pieces

Once you’ve planned your outfits, don’t forget the miscellaneous pieces and the bare necessities:

  • underwear and socks (making sure any specific underwear you need for any of your outfits is included, such as a strapless bra or invisible underwear etc)
  • sleepwear
  • swimwear
  • activity-specific items such as thermal pieces for ski trips, ski goggles and helmet
  • toiletries (the contents of which are a whole other blog post)
  • phone chargers
  • power adaptors
  • reading material
  • passport

Voila, your go-to packing guide in three steps. Yes, it takes planning, but it gets easier with each trip you do. If you feel you could do with some professional help when it comes to holiday packing and styling, find out more about my personal styling services here.

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing Guide

  1. Great packing advice. Also for business trips you may be in multiple locations so the same outfit can be worn twice as you will likely be seeing totally different people.
    Keep a photocopy of your passport in your suitcase and also in your photos in case you need to replace a lost or stolen one.

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