What I Packed for Florida

Greetings, friends! I’m back from Florida, and while it was hard to leave our lovely spot, it sure does feel good to be home. I’ve had a lot of questions about what I packed for our trip, so I took some pictures.

I’m an unapologetic over-packer, so this isn’t necessarily a “what to pack” post; it’s simply what I actually packed. Or, rather, what I actually wore. I did pack a few other things, but I didn’t need them, so I figured it would be most helpful to share what I actually used.

For anyone tuning in, our family just spent a week in Cape Coral, Florida, where we rented a home on the canal through VRBO. We weren’t sure what the situation would be with Covid, so we didn’t make any plans for excursions or anything beyond a couple of dining reservations.

Our goal was to have a place that was beautiful and spacious and completely equipped for us to stay there for the whole week and not really go anywhere or do much of anything.

As it turned out, we did go over to Sanibel Island for a half-day, and we spent a day at Fort Meyers Beach. We also went out to eat a few times, and we went to a local church on Easter Sunday. Otherwise, we just hung out at our VRBO and enjoyed the warm weather and the gorgeous canal views.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my outfits from the trip, but here’s what I packed and actually wore, and how I packed everything. Everything is linked at the very end of this post.

Let’s break it down. I packed two pairs of pajamas — one to wear and one to wash. I also packed this Athleta wrap to wear over my pajamas in the mornings, or if I needed something to throw on with shorts and a t-shirt in the evenings.

I packed three swimsuits, which worked out well because I wore one every day. I could have gotten by with two, but they don’t take up much room. And I also packed a swim coverup, although I didn’t really need it because I wore jean shorts over my swimsuits most of the time, but it did make for a cute Instagram picture.

I also packed a my new Tesalate beach towel — it’s fast-drying, super absorbent, compact, and lightweight. It’s also “sand-free” so the sand shakes off, and you don’t bring half the beach back with you.

Of course, our house had beach towels, but I just got this one and thought I might want to photograph it. I did use it quite a bit around the house, and I brought it with me to the beach. I LOVE how compact it is — it took up almost no room in my beach bag.

Hoping to get some exercise in, I packed a tank top and running shorts (and my sports bra, of course.) I wore my running shoes on the plane because they’re heavy and take up a lot of suitcase real estate.

Beyond that, I packed a pair of white jeans, blue jeans, white shorts, and jean shorts. I never wore the white shorts because the weather wasn’t as warm as I was expecting, but I would have worn them to dinner a couple of times instead of the white jeans if it had been hotter. And then I packed a variety of tops — thinking I could mix and match with the jeans and shorts for hanging out at home, dining out, and any sight-seeing we might decide to do.

I expected to wear more jeans and t-shirt outfits, but I really didn’t. I basically lived in my swimsuits with jean shorts or a coverup on top while we were at the house, and I wore the white jeans every time we went out to dinner. I only wore my blue jeans once, but I was glad I had them that day.

Here’s how it packed in my medium-sized suitcase. All the clothes fit on one side — anything I didn’t use or mention above is underneath, so this actually holds more than it looks like here.

My shoes, bags, and toiletries fit on the other side. I know it’s a lot of shoes for a week of doing a lot of nothing, but I did wear them all multiple times, and I was glad I had them. The only ones I didn’t really wear at all were my Birks.

If I was trying to be a minimalist, I would have ditched the heels because they took up a lot of suitcase real estate and the studded flat sandals would have been fine in their place. I did wear the heels twice, though, so there’s that!

All my makeup and some of my skincare is in the black travel train case. Anything that didn’t fit in there is in the small grey cosmetic bag. I also packed my Dyson hairdryer with the two attachments, and the big round brush I use. I never travel without my own hair dryer. I learned that lesson the hard way! I do still have my T3 travel dryer, though, and I think next time I’ll just use that.

I also packed my straw tote bag — only used it once, when we went to Fort Meyers Beach for the day, but I definitely needed it. And I packed two crossbody bags. I wanted my YSL camera bag for church and dining out, and I used the Hobo brand crossbody when we went over to Sanibel Island.

Of course, I didn’t really need both — easily could have left the YSL at home, but I enjoyed carrying it. I stuffed it with socks and underwear, so it really didn’t take up much extra space. (It’s under the hobo bag in this picture.)

For both travel days, I wore a grey tee with my Vuori joggers with my denim jacket on top. As I mentioned above, I wore my running shoes to save room in my suitcase; otherwise I might have worn my Birks.

I don’t feel like I brought an excessive amount of clothes, but I definitely didn’t wear them all. I guess I’m used to vacation where we go out and do a lot more things. Even when we go to the Jersey Shore, I end up needing real clothes more often. I’ve never spent so much time in a swimsuit in my life — and we have a pool in our backyard, lol!

I really have no experience with this kind of lazy vacay, but I’m definitely a convert! This was by far the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever taken, but next time we do this, I won’t bring as many clothes and shoes. That said, I have no regrets. I would rather over-pack than under-pack any day. I like to have options.

Before you ask, I also took a picture of my carry-on bag and everything inside.

I’ve had my LV Neverfull for at least five years — probably longer than that, and prices have really gone up since then. This was my first luxury designer bag — a Christmas gift from Paul. I always use it as my carry-on bag when I fly, and my travel tote for road trips.

Buying pre-owned is an option, if you’re looking for one. Mine looks practically like new still, so they really do hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

This is the MM size, and it’s just big enough to hold my laptop, chargers, a change of underwear in case of emergency, and my purse essentials. I almost always check my luggage, so this is usually all I carry in the airport.

As far as what I carry inside, I love these clear Truffle Clutch bags for holding charging cords and other sundries. I have a set of three, and I use them in my totes to compartmentalize everything, but they’re also great for travel because you can put your liquids in them and put them through security.

I also carried my laptop, a Kindle, Anker portable charger, wallet, sunglasses, wet wipes, tissues, and a bottle of water — which I drank on the way to the airport. Of course I couldn’t take that through security. And, of course, my trusty Slip face mask! Although, I actually wore a disposable on the way home.

So yeah, I guess that covers it! Tomorrow I’ll be back with my outfits from the past couple of weeks, including what I wore while we were in Florida.

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33 Responses

      1. Have you tried compression cubes? They really do make a difference! If I’m in one spot for more than 3 days I ‘move into’ the drawers where I’m at but if it’s more of a multi-stop vacation I love the packing cubes for not having to shuffle through my stuff to find something. Clearly you’ve traveled enough to know your preferences but I’ve found compression cubes to be a huge game changes. Signed: Travel Enthusiast

  1. I always enjoy your posts and am envious of that lovely spot you found in Florida. That is what i dream of owning in my dreams!

    ❓I have a question for you. Are their brands that i can figure TRue to size on? I have loSt weight and have Been taking forever to figure my size out with online ordering. I am all over the board in sizes. Some companies i am a laRge and others i am an extra small. If i knew that a certain company jeans or tops were true to size i could order a bunch and then base future purchases on that. You usually say true to size when it is, but it ISN’T much help yet!

  2. Those Truffle Clutch bags look great. I have used the detachable clear bags that come with suitcases (or at least used to) similarly and find them to be very handy. I have even put a swimsuit and coverup in them in my carry-on for beach vacations. It saves the first day of vacation in case luggage gets lost.

  3. I ALWAYS over pack but I’ve decided that’s me and I’m not going to change so there’s that!! 🤣 I’m glad you had a great vacation!!

  4. Hello Jo-Lynne-
    Welcome home! There’s truly no place like it, though your trip sounds divine. I’m appreciative of the packing pictures-we have set a one bag limit on everyone when we go on vacation in August. I have proof that it is possible, thanks to your post. Have a great rest of the week!

  5. I only ever travel with a carry on, so I never can overpack, I am very selective. I even travel abroad with my carry on, never ever check, so much quicker on the other side and no worries about delayed or lost baggage, I have become an expert packer! lol

  6. We bought one of those tesalate towels for our daughter and she loved it..she took it on their honeymoon to Thailand and it packed well no sand and quick dry… I got used to packing for 10 days in Florida with just a carry on! Rolling the clothes was key and I still shopped and brought a few new things home 🤷‍♀️…

  7. I visit my grandkids in Southern CA a couple times a year. I fly with a small carry on suitcase that’s easy to get overhead and a tote bag that fits under the seat. I take 3 pr of shorts, 6 t shirts, under garments, sandals. While flying I wear jeans, jacket for whatever season it is and gym shoes (even though it’s a pain to take them off) My tablet, phone fits in my tote, ready to go.

  8. I’d never heard of those sand free towels. They sound great, order 3 just now one for me & one for each of my daughters for our trip to the Myrtle Beach area later this summer. Thanks! You always have helpful and useful information be it fashion or lifestyle.

  9. Could you do a video on how to fold/roll clothes for packing? I’ve never rolled and Id like to see. I hear no wrinkles this way? I don’t travel much and I just layer things single on top of each other. I’m an over packer too, so not a good way I’m sure. Thanks for sharing what you packed.

  10. Thanks for sharing! Its always good to know how others pack. The cardigan is a good idea over pjs when its cooler. I’m able to do a carry on bag to tropical destinations usually. The key is To limit the shoes and make up/ toiletries. But it is nice having options especially if you doN’t have laundry on site.

    1. Yeah, I’ve done carry on a few times, for short trips, and the toiletries are the issue more than the clothes. Also, I bring my hairdryer. Always. 🙂 SO yeah, it’s hard to fit much else! And I like to have my running shoes, and I don’t always want to wear them. So bulky. This is the first time in years I’ve worn running shoes on the plane, and by the end of the day, I wanted to rip them off. Don’t think I’ll do that again.

  11. We, as a family do not check-in. It’s always carry-on for us. We have a 1 bag per person rule and we stick to it. It’s so much easier to just walk straight from the plane, while others are waiting near the carousel.
    I take minimal make-up especially if I am going to a hot and humid place, as I don’t get to wear so much make up anyway, as I am sweating so much.

  12. I am also an unapologetic overpacker. It makes me so happy to have variety on a vacation. I want to have cute shoes and jewelry and not feel too limited. We usually road trip so it isn’t that big of a deal. Your vacation sounded wonderful. I am so glad you were able to get away.

  13. I absolutely love blogs like this. I learn so much by getting other’s advise. I will definitely use many of these ideas.
    We used to laugh at my dad about packing so many things while traveling and we inevitably needed something he had…. better to have too much than too little..
    Thank you again pretty girl.

  14. I recently traveled to Mexico and before traveling I watched a variety of YouTube channels. From recommendations, I purchased travel cubes from Amazon. They are small compartments that you pack your clothes or essentials and to save space in your suitcase. What was also nice about these cubes is at the airport I had to open our large suitcase to get something for my carry-on bag and all I needed to do was pull out the travel cube that the item was in rather than sift through all my clothes.I loved it! I would highly recommend this expensive item.

  15. I know you already posted this information but I can’t find it again. Who did you rent from and what is the name of the house for search purposes?
    I am away right now on a 2 night girls trip. I packed 4 pairs of shoes but I wore all 4! My goal is to become a minimalist packer but so far, I’m a fail!

  16. Luckily, Florida beaches are just a 4-5 hour drive for us from Louisiana, so we go every year, usually twice (Spring Break and summer). We didn’t make it for Spring Break this year, but we are headed there for Father’s Day. We usually stay in the Sandestin area but are headed to 30A this time. Our Florida vacations are literally the only time all year I actually just sit…and relax…and unwind. Hope there are many more in your future!

  17. I have the larger GM Neverfull as my carry on. I put my make up and toiletries in that bag so I always have it with me in case my checked bag gets lost or delayed. I put my travel hairdryer in a packing cube inside my suitcase. Packing cubes have been life changing for us. We use them for everything.

    Please look into shoe bags! I use all the Tory Burch shoes bags for my shoes. I’ve found inexpensive shoes bags for my husband at TJ Maxx.

  18. Chiming in as another unapologetic overpacker. I also ALWAYS bring my own hair dryer. You are not alone! I like to be prepared (especially since in most of my travels, I do not have a rental car or time to just go pick up whatever I am missing). I will never be a “carry on only” type of girl. 😀 I LOVE this post, thank you so much for sharing.

  19. I love this post- thanks for sharing how you pack!
    I, too, am an overpacker and for the same reason as you- I like having options!! Since I keep my hair in a pixie, I don’t need a hairdryer (or a brush. or comb. LOL!) which means more room for SHOES!!! 🙂
    I’m heading to the Outer Banks next week so I’m going to roll my clothes, pile on the shoes, and go! And I’m going to use my neverfull for my macbook- why have I never thought of that? Thanks for the great tip!

  20. I am spending a week on Sanibel in August with my brother and sister; our 1st time there. So excited! Love you packing tips and will definitely read them again when it’s time for me to pack. Also trying to pack less especially since we will have washer/dryer in the condo.Glad you had a good vacay 🙂

  21. So glad you made it over to Sanibel for the day. We’re Floridians but we live in Jax so we usually vaca down there although this year we’re staying closer by and going to Amelia Island which is also very beautiful if you’ve never been. Anyway, was just going to say that I’ve never heard of the towel so I’m def going to check that out as we live 5 min from the beach and go almost every weekend and also that when we head down to S FL for vaca for the week I’ve also learned that I live in bathing suits and jean shorts pretty much all week. You really don’t need to pack much to vacation in FL. So glad you all had a great time!

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