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 this. When I travel, I usually shoot a bunch of looks for the blog, and 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 dustbags that came with them, and if they didn’t come with them, I use the bags that came with my luggage set, or dustbags 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 travel train case by Petunia Pickle Bottom.

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) — but you can purchase the larger bag at Shopbop. There’s also this set that includes the larger bag and smaller bag that I have, plus two shoe bags.

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. Incidentally, this compact hair dryer is on sale 33% off thru the end of the month!

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 (similar) 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 these 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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