Jules and Louis Blog - How to pack for vacation - my pastel luggage from SuitSuit.jpg

I'm almost leaving for a well deserved vacation... in the Sunshine State! My kids, my husband and me are definitely looking forward to two weeks filled with fun in the (humid) sun. :-) And every mother knows how stressful it can be to start packing with two young children. So that immediately brings me to how I pack for vacation.

If there's one thing I've learned since going on vacation with kids and taking a plane is that you can't bring too much stuff. It will kill your mood, your back and wallet. ;-) So after researching and  from experience I started to plan out a bit more in advance. Planning is key when packing, definitely when you want to avoid overpacking.

I'm still not there yet (I'm still learning!) and I'm guessing I still packed two outfits too many for each member of our family, but I'm sure we won't kill our backs this time. Read on for my tips on how I pack for vacation.

1. Check cultural expectations and weather!

Obviously, everyone checks the weather on their holiday destination. Because you want to know what type of clothes you’ll need. When traveling to colder destinations, you'll need more (like jackets, jumpers, boots, etc.). Also, you need to check the cultural expectations. You don't want to arrive and not be able to enter somewhere because you're not dressed appropriate (in my case: I wasn't allowed to enter il Duomo in Milano, because I was dressed in a short shorts and top and sandals). When in doubt, always take a few conservative pieces just in case and check out what the women are wearing when you arrive.

2. Choose your basics 

I always take my basics with me: white and black tops/tees, a little black dress (or two, you can never go wrong with a cute LBD), a jeans short, jeans jacket, a breton striped long sleeved tee and a leopard print maxi skirt. Good basics are the foundation of a travel wardrobe you can mix and match with.

3. Sprinkle in some colors

Add in a few pieces that have color, but make sure they are compatible with the basics you chose to bring on vacation with you! For example, I took a midi dress that looks kind of tropical (dresses are so easy!) and based my additional colors on that dress (blue/green). And the tops that have color can all be combined with my black short and jeans shorts.

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4. Lay out your outfits

When packing I read somewhere it's better to lay out your outfits, and take a picture of them. That way it makes it easier for you to get dressed on vacation. And you won't overpack!

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5. Think about your travel outfit

It's also important to me to look comfortable and cute when traveling. So I try to think what I love wearing most that doesn't wrinkle too much and feels comfy to wear for 10 hours and more. I don't wear any jewelry - simple is best. Oh and also think about comfy shoes! It makes it so easier when going through customs that way!

6. Don't bring too many shoes

Shoes can make your luggage feel more heavier. If you can leave most shoes at home, life will be much easier. I usually take one pair of slippers, and/or a classic camel colored wedges and some sandals that are comfortable to wear when walking a great deal (uh-oh, that makes 3 pairs, haha!). I just wear the bulkiest shoes on the plane (my sneakers without laces).

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Jules and Louis Blog - How to pack for vacation - inside my suitcase Suit Suit - pink packing cubes.jpg

7. Use packing cubes

They work like a charm! And I roll all of my clothing so more can fit in (without looking too wrinkly)! It's the first time I tried out using packing cubes and I'm in love! Mine are from Suit Suit - cute right? :-) I also love the other packing cube by Space Pak, which has a second compartment for dirty laundry (handy!!). 

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8. Accessorize

I usually take a few pieces of jewelry which I can throw on in the evening to feel a little bit more dressed up, such as a pair of big earrings or a fine gold necklace. I'm still looking for the right summer panama or fedora hat, I already have one for fall/winter but not for my summer holidays. I also almost always take my little cross body handbag of Kermit the Frog (by Essentiel Antwerp) in my luggage, so I can relax when wandering around.

9. Toiletries

I think this is the most dreaded step most women fear: how and what to pack in your toiletry bag. I used to take half of my bathroom with me on vacation. And almost every time on vacation I realized I hadn't used any of my make up and maybe half of my toiletries. Now I only took mascara, eye pencil, a Rituals compact beauty set with bronzer, highlighter and eye shadow that simply does the trick. And I brought some travel sized moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner and soap. If I forget something, I'll buy it when I arrive.

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Other things I'm taking with me? My two new suitcases by Suit Suit (I know, they look cute, right?), the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (I recently finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter), ear plugs, my smartphone, ear/head phones, my bullet journal that will double as travel journal/notebook, travel blankets and neck pillows for the kids (and some neck pillows for me and the hubs) and, of course, my happy mood! ;-)