Some people are good travelers, some are good suitcase packers, I’m unfortunately neither. I never know what to bring and always end up overpacking. I’m constantly paranoid that I will posssibly need something and always wonder what if I run out of things to wear? I have never flown without checking in luggage but this time hubby and I decided we were going to try bringing carry on’s for each of us. I thought it would be impossible but we did it!  I decided that I was going to really make an effort to think it through and plan my outfits, shoes and accessories.  If you are traveling and have trouble figuring out want to bring, here are some helpful tips that I used when packing.
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Left to right– Outfit #1: Forever 21 knit dress (similar here), H&M belt taken from dress
Outfit #2: J.Crew perfect tee, H&M necklace, Forever 21 striped belt, H&M crochet skirt
Outfit #3: H&M tee, H&M belt, Target skirt {recommended by PennyPincherFashion} **not great for traveling – wrinkles too easily**
1. COLOR THEME 
Start with figuring out what color theme you want to stick with. For example- are you more of a brown or black shoe person when traveling? For me, I usually stick with browns when I’m on vacation. I’m not sure why this is but all my casual clothes seem to match with the brown theme more. Once you figure this out, then it’s a much easier planning your outfits and accessories.
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{from left to right} Outfit #1: H&M dress, Outfit #2: H&M top, Banana Republic shorts, Outfit #3: H&M tee, H&M skirt {old}

2. OUTFITS
Next I started planning outfits. For this trip, since I was going to a tropical island, I knew I wanted to bring comfortable clothes but also didn’t want to compromise fashion for comfort. I figured we would be sunbathing during most of the day so I wanted easy outfits to throw on that could easily transition into evening attire. I found it easier to lay out all my potential outfits instead of throwing random things into my suitcase. When I didn’t plan anything out, it resulted in me not using or wearing the majority of the stuff I packed.
I planned to re-wear some items and mix and match as much as I could. For example, I knew I could re-use the same brown belt from my paisly dress for several different outfits which then saves me room for bringing several belts. I mix and matched the same tops with different bottoms to try to utilize space. 

3. PANTIES AND BRAS

I like to plan my panties and bra’s during this step. I always try to make sure I have nude/seamless panties for any outfits that have white or are form fitting. I think having comfy  panties is just as important as anything and making sure that you can’t see panty lines is crucial. I think the wrong undergarments can ruin a great outfit.  For however many days/nights, I like to make sure I have plenty of panties. Since it’s a beach vacation and I will be in a bathing suit during the day, I brought 12 pairs of panties (2 extra) for 10 days. If you have strapless dresses, don’t forget a strapless bra. I put all my bras and panties in an old Gucci dust bag to protect them.
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{from left to right} Outfit #1: {old} dress from boutique
Outfit #2: H&M top, H&M skirt
Outfit #3: H&M shift dress w/belt

4. SWIMWEAR

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Some people like to pack one bathing suit for every day but I don’t like mismatched tan lines so I usually like to stick with a maximum of three bikinis. I usually end of gravitating to only 2 out of the 3 anyway. The rope nautical/navy bottom (American Eagle – XS on sale for $11 {similar here}) was inspired by HerWaiseChoice . The other two bikini’s are super old. (black/white with pink is the one I wore to Bora Bora)
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Necklace: H&M, Nautical Bracelet: c/o SewPetite Gal (customize your’s here), Bangles and Cuff: H&M, Spike Bracelet: c/o Stella Dot

5. ACCESSORIES

Next are accessories- I don’t like to pack too many chunky accessories when traveling but like to have a few to add some flavor to my outfits. I chose my peach statement necklace from H&M because I knew I could wear it with several outfits and its perfect for my island vacation! Since I didn’t have much room to pack more jewelry- I opted for some arm candy. They are light weight and easy to pair with most if not all my outfits.  I put all my jewelry in a long tubular make-up pouch.
I can’t forget my striped floppy hat. It was not only adorable to wear but came in handy when I wanted to protect my face from the sun. It was easy to fold and put on top of everything in my carry on.
Purses
6. PURSES
Decide which purse(s) you are going to bring that can be used in multiple ways. Since I was hauling my DSLR, I needed a purse big enough to store it safely. I chose my burnt orange Rebecca Minkoff to carry my camera and makeup bag. I carried the RM on the plane and packed my Coach purse since it was more compact.  I used my vintage coach purse to double as a clutch (for evening) and crossbody (daytime).
7. SHOES
Select your shoes carefully. Have one pair for evening that you can re-wear night after night, a pair of beach flip flops and one day-time flats.  I brought one pair of Old Navy girls flip flops, Me Too nude flats and Ivanka Trump strappy sandals.
I got a size 3 in girls (comparable to a size 5 in women’s) and it was still a bit big on my me in the heel area. It was a last minute purchase and I was desperate but I ended up really liking them.

Shoes

Top: Me Too “Patty” flats in size 4.5
Bottom: Ivanka Trump Sandals in size 4.5 

8. MAKE-UP AND TOILETIRES

This is where I used to go overboard and pack a ton of toiletries that I didn’t really need. Since we were going to Maui and I knew there would be plenty of stores there, it was more cost effective for me to buy a few necessary items like razors, shaving cream and SPF (this may not work with all trips). If you are staying in a resort, more than likely they will provide lotion, shampoo and conditioner. I usually go really light with make-up on vacation because you really don’t need much except maybe a few essential items.
9. PACKING
The key is not what you pack but how you pack it. I learned a neat trick from my mom and Aunt a long time ago and that is to roll up all your clothes into a tube like shape. This is a space saver and helps your clothes from wrinkling too much.

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I like to layer the bottom right (where it truly will be the bottom once you stand it up if it’s a roll type of suitcase) of my suitcase with my shoes and heavier items. {tip: I usually wrap each pair of shoes in a plastic bag/ziplock} Then I start putting all my clothes neatly in a column and stack. Below is an example: (not everything is included since I had to recreate my suitcase for the purpose of this post)

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Another great tip is to have separate compartments/sections for each category in your suitcase so it’s easy to find when you arrive at your destination and unpack.
It worked out really nicely for me. I wore and used everything I brought. It was nice not having to wait for our luggage and saved us a little bit of money:) Hope you find this post helpful.
Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Please share!

Stylish Petite