What I Packed for Florida + My Travel Outfit

Greetings, friends! This afternoon I’m headed back to Philly. I’ve really enjoyed this Florida getaway, and I can’t say I’m excited to return to 45-degree weather, but that’s where home is and I can’t wait to see my family.

Today I thought I’d do a packing post and share my travel outfit.

Before anyone makes a comment about the size of my suitcase, please understand that when I travel, I usually shoot a bunch of looks for the blog. That means having a variety of handbags and shoes as well as the clothing for the outfits. Not surprisingly, handbags and shoes take up considerable room in the suitcase. I also always bring running clothes, and those shoes are another large item that have to fit.

All that to say, I am not advocating everyone take a 28″ suitcase on a weekend resort vacation, but that is what I often need to accommodate my outfits and all of their components. I’d have no problem fitting in my 24″ suitcase if I hadn’t brought the extras for the photo shoot, and that’s what I’d normally take for a typical 4-day weekend vacation. If you can get away with a carry-on, more power to ya!

If you want tips for packing light and efficiently, read this post: Expert Packing Tips & the Perfect Summer Travel Outfit

Meanwhile, here’s what I brought for a 4-day trip to Florida, what I needed (and didn’t) and my tips for making it all fit . . . no matter what size suitcase you bring!

Before I start to pack, I plan what I want to bring and lay everything out on my bed in outfits — right down to jewelry and undergarments.

This is not everything I brought, by the way. It’s just what I had ready to go when Alison got to my house to shoot these pictures.

I usually take pictures of each outfit so I can remember what I want to put together.

Lately I’ve also started using a notebook and writing out my outfits, but I’ve only started doing that since fashion blogging because there are so many outfits and accessories and undergarments needed, and I hate to get where I’m going and realize I forgot something.

One trick I’ve learned over the years is to roll rather than fold my clothes. It helps maximize the space inside my bags, and they don’t seem to get as wrinkled this way either, although I do often end up ironing some things when I get to my destination.

I don’t do anything fancy, but I like to fold the sleeves in so it makes a neater roll, and I usually fold things in half first, and then roll. If you google how to roll your clothes for packing, you will find tons of videos.

On this particular trip, we knew we might arrive at the resort before our rooms were ready, so we wanted to be prepared. I placed my bathing suit, coverup, and sandals in one of the exterior pockets of my suitcase so I could easily grab them and change when we arrived.

Fortunately our rooms were ready when we got here, but the pool was still our first destination so I was glad I had what I needed so easily accessible.

Another thing I do is stuff my bags and shoes with smaller, non-wrinkle items like socks, underwear, pajamas, and workout gear.

When I went to Nashville last month, I brought a couple of my larger shoulder bags, and I put the outfits that went with them inside. That way when I got to the hotel, each outfit was already together and easy to find when I was shooting for the blog. I realize most people don’t travel with a variety of handbags, but it really did seem to conserve space because I fit a lot in my suitcase for that trip, and I had some sweaters and bulkier items than I brought for this one.

I always store my bags and shoes in the dust bags that came with them, and if they didn’t come with them, I use the bags that came with my luggage set, or dust bags from other items. This helps keep the bags from getting marked up, and the shoes from making my clothes or inside of my suitcase dirty.

Before I travel again, I’m going to invest in some packing cubes — I’m curious to see if they would help me fit myself into a smaller suitcase. But what really takes up the most space is my shoes, bags, and toiletries. Those are hard to make more compact, although I did purchase some travel sizes this time to help with that.

Also, I’m loving my new Petunia Pickle Bottom travel train case.

I usually go real fancy and store all my toiletries in gallon ziploc bags, but this train case is a nice upgrade. I cannot BELIEVE how much it holds, and it’s so organized. No more pawing through bags to find what I need.

With all of the pockets along the sides, I can stand up my makeup so it’s visible and accessible, and then there is room for my tanning lotion, skincare and makeup removers, and even my hair styling products. (I still put my shampoo and conditioner in a ziplock because they tend to leak.) Finally, I put my smaller makeup brushes and pencils, etc in the top pocket. PERFECTION!

Incidentally, if you have a daughter or friend going off to college, this could make a nice gift — especially if she shares a bathroom in her dorm. It holds all of her makeup and skincare products and she can take it to and from and use what she needs right from the bag.

I always forget sun protection when I travel and usually end up spending an arm and a leg at the resort when I arrive, but this time I thought to order this Coola sun care travel kit, and I’m so glad I did. These products are organic and they score pretty well on EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database.

It includes an SPF 30 facial moisturizer, an SPF 30 sport spray, an SPF 30 lip balm, and an after-sun lotion, and best of all, it all comes in this cute little travel pouch that I can put inside my beach bag so it’s easy to find and keeps it from getting sandy.

Using pouches like this inside my bags is how I stay organized, as I generally carry a large tote or shoulder bag. I used to throw everything willy-nilly into my beach bag or daily tote, and now I can find things much more easily, and it looks neater inside as well.

One of my favorite travel accessories is a laundry bag set by Flight 001. I can’t seem to find the set I have — it is one small bag (I use it for underwear) and one larger bag (I use it for everything else that gets soiled as I’m traveling). You can check out what laundry bags are available from Flight 001 here.

I didn’t get a picture, but I also have a jewelry organizer that is like 10 years old, and I can’t find anything like it to link to. But I do like to keep my jewelry separate. I use little felt pouches to keep the nicer pieces from getting scratched.

Finally, I always pack my travel hair dryer and my curling wand. The curling wand was only necessary because I was shooting outfits on this trip. Otherwise, I would have probably left it behind, considering how casual our venue was. But I learned long ago never to leave home without my hair dryer.

Not only have I had hotel hair dryers flake out on me at the worst possible times, but I’m used to how quickly and efficiently my T3 dryer works, so I got the travel size to help conserve space in my suitcase.

As far as what I brought to wear, I wanted to have a couple of dressier outfits for dinners out, but it turns out that our venues were super casual and I didn’t need them. I did shoot those outfits with Martina, though, so they didn’t go to waste, but I could have left my wedge sandals (talk about bulky, heavy items!) and a couple of dressier tops at home.

I brought 2 swimsuits and a coverup plus my jean shorts and tee that I often like to wear over my suit instead. Then I brought several casual tees and a pair of white jean shorts as well, but as it turned out, I didn’t wear a shorts outfit the whole time I was here. We pretty much lived in swimsuits or what we wore to dinner.

I packed my white pullover, thinking I’d wear it with jean shorts on a cool morning, but I never needed it. I also brought a denim skirt (wore that!) and white jeans (wore those!) and a few cute tops. Oh, and I brought a light-weave cardigan for throwing on over any casual outfit; I wore that last night to dinner with my denim skirt and white tee.

For shoes, I brought Converse and another pair of strappy sandals for dinner outfits, but I didn’t need them. I pretty much wore my TB Miller sandals the whole time, even to dinner in the evenings. Knowing what I know now, I would definitely have left some of my shoes at home.

I carried my tote on the plane, and I packed a white crossbody bag (options) and a straw tote for the beach/pool. I also brought along a round straw bag for the photo shoot, but it was bulky and totally unnecessary. As cute as those bags are, they don’t hold much and aren’t very practical.

Finally, I always bring workout clothes when I travel, and the fact that they take up room in my suitcase is enough motivation to use them.

My Travel Outfit

I always layer when I travel, especially when I’m going from a cold climate to a warm one. This thermal cardigan has been a workhorse in my wardrobe for several years now. When I got to Florida, I took it off and my sleeveless top and jeans were cute on their own. This cardigan is also nice to thrown on over my bathing suit with jean shorts for going down to the pool, and I often put it on in the mornings over my pajamas.

I also like to wear slip-on shoes so I can breeze through security, and I thought leather espadrilles would be perfect for this trip. I’ve been wearing them quite a bit already so they’re nice and broken in. It was chilly when we left Pennsylvania so I didn’t want to wear sandals, although that would have been another option.

And that’s pretty much it.  In looking back through what I packed and wore, I could have definitely pared down, but I didn’t know what to expect when I was packing, and I’ve been caught in situations before when I wished I’d brought other options so I didn’t want to risk that happening here.

I can’t wait to get my pictures back from Martina and start sharing those outfits with you!


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62 thoughts on “What I Packed for Florida + My Travel Outfit

  1. Jo-Lynne, before I even finished reading half way down, I thought I have to tell her about packing cubes!  I saw that you plan to try them, they are a games changer!  Unfortunately, they won’t be much help with shoes and bags. I appreciate that you are willing to travel with all the extra stuff for the blog.

      1. I agree with Maureen. Packing cubes are a definitely a game changer. After you told me about Travel Fashion Girls I haven’t looked back:)

    1. Another vote for the packing cubes! I recently bought a set on Amazon by Shacke Pak and they are awesome! I usually struggle to fit 3-4 days of clothing into a carry-on suitcase. Last week, I was able to pack for a 7 day/6 night trip in a carry-on using my new packing cubes. And I was going to Northern Virginia so all of my clothing was for cooler weather. I am definitely a packing cube convert. 🙂

  2. Excellent post!  Good practical ideas!   I like the idea of the travel sized sun care kit.  Something to look into.  I think most of us gals tend to overpack!!  My gal friend & I take a 4 day trip to Cape May each year.  You’d think we’re going for a month by the size of our luggage!  I usually roll my clothes as you do. I can cram a lot more in!  Shoes always take up the most room, but I’ve been able to pare that down over the years.  I like the lingerie bag you showed. Fancy!  Mine looks like a large zip lock, you seal it, then roll it to remove the air through the vent.  Safe travels coming home today!

  3. Another! Great! Post!  I’m glad that you had a nice trip.  I appreciate all of the detail you prepared in describing your packing process.  You could have made several posts out of just this one.   Love being “inside your head” lol.   The sweater is very nice.  I’ve been looking for a light weave sweater for summer that doesn’t look matronly.  Perhaps this is another post idea??  I’m on the waiting list for the next AYW course and looking forward to it!

  4. I travel for work in an unconventional job and do a fair amount of personal travel. I also struggle with packing light but I’m getting better at it. I love my packing cubes. You really should get them. Depending on the trip and the itinerary I use them in two different ways, either packing by similar items or by outfit. They are a godsend AND bonus, you can put them directly into the hotel drawers so your clothes aren’t touching where others have and it makes unpacking and packing back up quick and simple.

  5. I’m with you … I’d rather pack too much than get somewhere and wish I had packed something I left behind.  I’ve done that before and ended up going shopping to buy something that I already have at home.  (Not that shopping is a bad thing – ever!). 😉

     I was surprised to see you in the jean skirt since you always say you don’t wear lots of dresses.  You looked so cute and put together but casual.   Way to go!  

    I hope you enjoy your last day and have a safe trip home.  

  6. Great post! I was wondering if you would wear everything you brought. I know I usually don’t lol! 

    Are the colorful slides comfortable? I noticed you had them on in the IG story, but then your dinner pic had the TB sandals. And if they are comfy, do they run TTS? 

    Can’t wait to see all your Florida outfit posts! It will be nice to see some sunshine lol!

    1. I usually wear almost all of it but this time I didn’t. I ended up wearing my workout clothes to breakfast all 3 mornings, when normally I’d have worn my t-shirts and shorts. I just didn’t have time this trip b/c I was always running late, lol.

    1. I’ve heard of the cubes but never thought to get them… I’m a roller when it comes to packing and my daughter is a great help.. I think I may need to invest in these. I love organization. Thanks for the link.

  7. Love the post – very helpful! What shoes do you wear when you are walking to your spot on the beach when the sand is super hot?

    1. I wore my Miller sandals. The patent leather is very durable. That said, the sand wasn’t hot so I did take them off to walk more easily. I meant to get a plastic pair but I forgot and then they didn’t have any I liked here. The Millers worked fine.

  8. I always over pack! And sometimes I just get it wrong, too. I’ve been in Georgia for two weeks, but the weather has been much colder than I anticipated, so I actually had to borrow a couple of long sleeve tops from my daughter. I’ve learned a lesson there! Transitional seasons require you to pack for several climate possibilities.

    I’m glad you had nice weather and a good time with your girlfriends. That is such a necessary thing!

    Oh, and I love that travel train case. Have to check it out! How wonderful that your products can stand up like that. I’ve spent so much time scrambling through my makeup bags hunting for things this trip!


    1. Yes, packing for transition seasons is even more complicated! I ended up bringing too many long sleeve options but I was afraid of chilly evenings. I did wear all but one.

  9.  I know I tease you about your suitcase, but if I were a fashion blogger I’d be lucky to only have what you had. I think you’re very organized. I always go back-and-forth between wanting to avoid checking luggage that’s trying to cram everything in a carry-on bag or two, or just dealing with checked luggage.  I hate paying baggage fees, but I also feel so worn out with  sore shoulders and tight-to-bursting carry-ons. Also, who fits all her liquids in on quart sized bag?  I usually give one of my bags to my husband if we’re traveling together (he has precheck), or try to get by with using two. The extra expense buys me more outfit choices, more room for re-packing with souvenirs, and freedom while I’m on the plane—so it’s probably worth it. I’m grumpy about paying for it though. 🙂 And I’m also grumpy about having to go wait for my bag. Guess you could say I’m a little high maintenance. 🙂

    1. Oh I know you’re just messing with me. 🙂 I hate paying baggage fees to so I got an AA Mastercard. One bag always goes free. I can’t deal with the stress over finding an overhead compartment for my carryon, even if I could fit in one. And the liquids thing is always an issue too – I need all my cosmetics and toiletries. I do carry smaller sizes of some but not all. I love not having to worry about that. I agree tho – waiting for the bags is a pain.

  10. Love hearing your packing tips and tricks! My new favorite travel item stemmed from my need to consolidate my liquid toiletries in my carry-on for an international trip. Rather than taking my full-size products, I use these small, clear glass jars to bring smaller quantities of my nighttime facial moisturizer, daytime face lotion with SPF, and foundation. These little gems hold enough to last for 2 weeks for me and were remarkably helpful in paring down the contents of my TSA-compliant, quart size bag and still allow me to bring my favorite products.

  11. Great post! I am looking forward to an annual summer girls trip in June and will use so many of your recommendations. I am buying the cosmetics case for a grad gift and the sunscreen bag for me. Thank you!

  12. Great information!  Many years ago I ordered a set of plastic shoe bags from Lillian Vernon, that keep my shoes from getting anything dirty, when packed in a suitcase.  I have a selection of small cosmetic bags and small plastic bags that I put my jewelry in, to keep it protected and separate. I hope your flight home is smooth!

  13. Thank you for sharing your  packing post, glad to here you had a great time here in Florida.  Some of your packing trips I am going to use like the train case I have one but never use it now I will. Looking forward to seeing the  pictures. 

  14. Thanks for all your packing tips… I’m the one who loves to take a carry on lol.. I just don’t like to wait and we move more Quickly. Our whole family travels this way. I will be looking into those cubes. My daughter is great when it comes to packing (we roll) and I try not to over pack as I too have brought shoes I never end up wearing (there’s room and weight saved there) plus we stay at a resort where we have our own laundry facilities in our unit. Home away from home. Believe it or not I can pack for 10 days and still shop. Even if I get another bag to bring things home in … Ha. Glad you had a great trip. Safe travels home and I can’t wait to see your pics. 

  15. I’m another over-packer but since I use a carry-on size suitcase, I usually end up putting extra things in the bags of son or husband–hee, hee! I also use packing cubes or large lingerie bags for packing (the kind you use for washing dedicates in the machine). I roll things up tightly in put in those bags. It helps so much with keeping my clothes from moving around too much or falling out of the suitcase when opened. Plus, I can also use them for washing dedicates, if needed, while in the trip. They are soft and easy to maneuver around in the suitcase. I think I ordered a set of 4 from Amazon a few years ago.

    I have a question about the Calson boyfriend shorts that you linked to. Do they unroll on the legs to be a tad bit longer or is that sewn/tacked on?

  16. I love these posts about what you brought! Super helpful to know what you didn’t wear and what didn’t work!! I’m getting ready to go to Florida myself for a conference so this post was very helpful! 

  17. judgement I would pack that much and I’m NOT a fashion blogger:)
    It was torture packing for an 8 day cruise we went on, haha.

  18. I’m on the packing cubes bandwagon, too. They’re really great for maximizing space as well as organizing. I use them for complete outfits or for organizing by type, depending on the trip. They’re great! Also, thanks for showing everything you put in your train case! I’ve been looking for one and hadn’t made up my mind because the pictures online either don’t show what’s inside, or the contents they show aren’t practical. I’m going to order this exact one. Glad you had a great trip!!

  19. I bought packing cubes off of Amazon last year and they’ve been amazing – especially if you’re packing a family. I’m able to get a lot more clothing into the cubes and they’re not strewn about. (My kids each get a cube, and I can pack several days of clothes into them!)

  20. Love your posts! I’m heading to DC to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter this week and have the opposite packing issue right now -coming from San Diego, our winter clothes are almost not warm enough for your transitional months… my question though is about your Delsey case… didn’t you have the same style in Black at one time? I just love that case and want to invest!!! 

    1. Yes, they discontinued the black. The brown matches my tote nicely tho. Haha! This set is gorgeous and well made but very heavy. I would like to find something lighter, to be honest.

  21. What a great post!  Thanks for all the packing tips.  I am not a minimalist packer myself.  I want choices when I get there.  Ha ha  But I do need to learn to edit.  It was good to hear what you actually needed and didn’t, once you got there.  I love all your various bags to contain things.  And I agree with the others about the packing cubes.  Rolling clothes and using the cubes both are definitely a game changer that I have only learned recently.  Have a safe trip home!

  22. I really appreciate all the time you put into your blog posts. I was just wondering about the type of suitcase you use. The hard shell (that’s what I call it) vs the softer one with outside pockets etc.  I still have the softer one and was wondering if there are benefits to the one you have.  I was thinking of maybe purchasing a new one for an upcoming trip and wanted your thoughts. Have a safe trip home. 

    1. I like it because I feel like it’s more durable and easier to maneuver. But this particular set – while beautiful – is heavy compared to others and I really wish I’d chosen a lighter set.

  23. Travel packing posts are always fun to read. Thanks for posting yours along with what you used and didn’t use….very helpful. Safe travels home.

  24. Ok – loved the post but have a question about something non related….is there ever a way to tell someone you don’t actually know but may be in a facebook group with that their makeup or outfit would look better with “less” (makeup) or “different” style/color/etc? I am FAR from perfect in either and would LOVE it if someone told me, kindly, that I could do something different and get a better impact. Would love if you’d address this “sticky” situation.

  25. What a fantastic blog. So helpful. I am going to keep this and read it several times. Thank you so much. I know your family will be glad to see you. Glad you had a fabulous time with girlfriends.

  26. Another great post! Thank you. If I’m allowed, I just had to share one of my favorite things. An app called Stylebook has changed my life as far as organizing outfits. You can take pictures of your clothes (or import) and create different “looks”. You can pack them for a trip, or add them to a calendar. It’s so much easier than a notebook or keeping track of pictures, which I have done both. I’m also a packing cube fan!

  27. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Vero. It’s such a sweet little town. Come back again!  
    I’ve got my eye on that travel train bag. Such a great idea!  

  28. Yes to checking a bag!  Yes to the fee!  Yes to being unencumbered while in the plane!  Yes to packing cubes!  Yes to 9 pairs of shoes for a 4 day trip!  Yes to the fact that between you and your readers, I’m not alone!  Love my girl trips, and hate to be constrained by too few choices! Great post 🙂

  29. Oh my goodness. I LOVE that make-up bag. I have looked at it twice today. Trouble is, I need a new pair of sneakers which will cost the same as that case. But it is SO pretty!

  30. So fun to read your packing post. With your fashion blogging life, I can’t imagine you not taking a big suitcase! When I travel with my husband or family I always check a bag (I bring the biggest bag and my boys use a carry on) and mine is where we put the extra liquids, nail clippers, shoes etc…
    However, when I travel alone,  I’m nervous about lugging around a huge suitcase on my own. And once on a trip up to Napa, my suitcase was lost and I had packed several new clothing items including an expensive cashmere wool coat. It turned out another person had grabbed my suitcase at baggage claim by mistake and LUCKILY  she was honest and I had my name and phone number on the tag. So she called me and we arranged a meeting place about 20 miles away and I got my suitcase back. It felt strange though that she had looked through my stuff as she made a comment about how I had “some nice clothes.” Kinda creepy to be honest. 
    So….I’ve been reading articles on different travel blogs recently about how to pack fashionably in a carry-on. A friend of mine who travels solo a lot says she never packs shampoo/conditioner/razor/lotion…instead she stops at a local drugstore when she gets to her destination and buys it there in small sizes. If there’s leftover liquids when she’s ready to leave, she’ll just leave it behind I’m the hotel. And she keeps cosmetics to a minimum which helps too. I’m traveling to NYC for 8 Days this summer by myself and I’m determined to do it with a carry-on suitcase and a tote bag! (I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!😉) I DID buy packing cubes already! 

    1. That story about your lost suitcase is definitely a bit creepy!!! Yikes! Another reason, I guess, to have an unusual looking suitcase. I like having one that is easy to spot on the conveyor belt.

      That all sounds interesting if you don’t need specific products and can pare down. The toiletries really take up so much space.

  31. Love that you started out by saying this wouldn’t be a minimalist packing how-to!😉. Hope you had a fun time!  I think I’m ready to pull the trigger on those T&B wedges that everyone seems to be raving about.

  32. Very helpful! Are the Flight 101 bags waterproof, like can you put your damp/wet swimming suit in them? I read one review that she put a wet suit into the bag and the bag bled onto other clothes so I wanted to check and see if you’ve ever had a problem with that. Great post.

  33. Packing cubes were are go-to gift for Christmas presents this past year. Every family member got a set in a different colour. That way you can mix and match family items in different suitcases when flying, in case luggage gets lost. Depending on the trip I use them to pack two ways, either by like items or by day. I was amazed my last two trips how much I could pack into a carry on with them, and I am a notorious overpacker. I’ve started using the largest cube in the set to contain all of my various toiletry totes, flat iron, etc. in one spot. That way I just take the packing cube into the bathroom with me and I have everything at my fingertips. Great for small bathrooms. 

    1. That sounds so encouraging about being able to use the packing cubes in a carry-on suitcase! I just bought a set off Amazon.
      I’m  traveling for a week this summer by myself and am planning to make a carry-on work for me so I’m alrrady making lists!! I also ordered a travel size flat iron. 

  34. I really loved all the packing trips.  I’d really rather check my bag than dragging a carry on with me, especially if you’ve got to run through an airport!  It makes sense that you brought lots, all the more to show us!

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