How to NOT Overpack- Lessons Learned From My Two Week European Vacation

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How to NOT Overpack-

What I brought that I didn't wear and the things that I went back to again and again

Packing for trips is 50% fun, 50% daunting for me. The anticipation of a vacation is half the fun, so putting together looks and imagining myself on vacation gets me all hyped up and energized!  The other 50% is daunting and I end up putting off the packing process because I know I will inevitably overpack. The thing is, I hate lugging around heavy bags, but I hate being without things I "need" even more. (I tend to forget somewhow that the places that I am going are not third world countries in the middle of nowhere so if I did need a sweater, I could always buy one!) So, I end up packing too much, even after a ton of editing down, and wear about half of my wardrobe time and time again.

When packing for my most recent Italian Holiday, I was torn on what to bring because the forecast showed rain showers daily, but also 80-degree weather. Would I be too hot and sweat through my clothes as I went sightseeing or would I get drenched and dirty? I figured I would need two looks a day due to the weather and then some fancy looks "in case" we went to some insane Michelin Star restaurants that required a more upscale outfit. NOPE. I mean, even when I go to dinners that are fancy in LA, I don't dress overly fancy. Yet somehow I think I need heels and a dress for my nice dinners in Europe? That was my first mistake... Which brings me to my first tip on how not to overpack:

 
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1. Heels aren't necessary- I love a pair of heels with jeans, a tee, and a blazer back at home, but they do take up space and have to be treated gingerly in suitcases so as not to smash them. I brought two pairs of heels and neither were worn once. They just took up valuable space in my suitcase. 

What to Bring instead:  For this reason, a pair of cool gladiator sandals, upscale flats, or trendy slides would suffice just fine! Even at super nice restaurants in the South of France, locals wear sundresses and sandals. Keep is simple and comfortable.

2. Fashion Sneakers are Your Best Friend- I have two pairs of sneakers in my closet that are dedicated to walking around and running errands in comfort while still looking fashionable. My nike tennis sneakers are a staple as well as the shoes I ended up bringing to Italy, which were my KOIO leather sneakers. They are sooooo comfortable and I wore them all day everyday. I only needed one pair and they looked cute with dresses, shorts, and skirts as well as any active outfits! 

 
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3. No Fuss Sundress is a MUST-  Having sundresses that are breathable, comfortable, require little to no fuss, and are thin and easy to pack are a must. I wore allll the sundresses I packed multiple times because they always felt comfy and airy and looked feminine and fashionable at the same time. I was still on trend in my gingham but also comfy and ready for a day of sightseeing,

What to ditch- Take out any pieces that are delicate, dry clean only, or easily wrinkled. I found that I didn't wear a single top that required an iron or that I loved a little too much for fear that I would stain it and wouldn't be able to dry clean it for two weeks! I brought some amazing chiffon and silk tops, but c'mon...soooo not realistic for travel. You will gravitate towards the easy, breathable, and wrinkle free items anyway!

 
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4. Athleisure WORKSSS on vacay- I am a little obsessed with track pants at the moment and love the way they look fashiony and functional at the same time. I wore my Scotch and Soda track pants to coffee dates in the a.m., walks around town, and while traveling, and loved how cute I felt in them and how comfy they were. 

5. Blousy/ Boho Tops WORK- I love a good billowy top that covers my arms and shoulders but still feels cool and comfy on. When walking around foreign countries, no matter how safe or progressive they are, I don't like to attract too much attention to myself with my fashion (I always wear what I want, I'm just more picky with the items I choose!). I love a good crop top or sexy date night top, but I tend to stay away from them when I am somewhere unfamiliar, at least for the most part. I gravitated towards tops that were comfortable, fashion forward, and low maintenance. If I had to put work into getting out wrinkles of stains, they stayed in my suitcase.

What to ditch: You probably won't wear your edgy bralettes or crop tops in Europe while sight seeing unless you want lots of icky attention. It's also hard to get into many churches and holy places with clothing that doesn't cover your shouders or legs, so that is also something to be aware of. As much as I love a trendy piece like "lingerie" and cut out tops in the right place, it just doesnt work that well while traveling. 

 
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6. Buy A Hat When You Get There: If you insist on bringing your cute Janessa Leone hat on vacation, you will probably be disappointed when it gets smashed at one point during the trip. Because this has happened numerous times to me, I decided to skip the hat and find some sort of sun protection when I got to Italy. I got an awesome visor (I love a visor! See this post on my faves!) that was easy to pack away when I wasn't wearing it and protected my face from unwanted sun. 

 
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7. High Waisted Everything- So I basically only wore my high waisted bottoms during the trip. I find them to be so comfortable and flattering, so wearing a mid-rise or low rise item just made me feel funny. I always wore my highwasited skinnies that were stretchy and soft, or my straight leg high-waisted jeans that were a bit thicker for colder days. Those two pieces of denim were all I needed in the jean family. 

What to ditch: I packed about 6 pairs of shorts and 4 skirts when I really only needed about 3 pairs of shorts and 2 skirts. Soooo thats half. I should have ditched half the bottoms I packed in my luggage and should have created looks in advance so that I know how they would be worn vs. having cool pieces that didn't really match the tops I packed.

 
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Now that you know the major mistakes I made in packing, I hope these tips can steer you in the right direction when you are packing for your next long vacation. Of course, style plays into it, but the general idea is that I really only needed half of what I packed, and the items I wore were the most flattering and comfortable pieces that I packed  (that were all low maintenance). I could have saved myself some difficult train rides by leaving the high maintenence, bulky, or fancy pieces at home. I should have known but I definitely learned my lesson. 

Let me know if you have any packing tips and tricks as well! I love learning ways to consolidate. 

xoxo. Kim

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