Please Pack Your Bags And Go

by Kir

Before I left for vacation, my girlfriend, Kerri, sent a blog topic request – my first – illustrating how to pack for vacation. So I partnered up on this blog with my talented friend, world traveler & fellow blogger, Renee, aka Single Girls Guide To Travel, to tackle this topic. She took on the work trip/cold weather trip and I tackled the beach break (of course) This actually took forever to write, but it was fun and challenging…Enjoy! ♥

Have Passports, Will Travel

Kir & Renee: Have Passports, Will Travel

Packing with Kir and Renee

When packing, start with what events or activities that you are doing on this trip – this is based on a carry-on bag:

  • Work trip? Think suit(s) or a dress and heels depending on your industry
  • Ski trip? Ski pants, a jacket & warm accessories
  • If there is some kind of formal event? Then dress-up clothes are a given
  • And let’s not forget the beach break! 4-5 bikinis, scarves, sundresses

Kir: Can’t fit it in your suitcase? Leave it behind. If you stick to layering pieces, you’ll be amazed at how much you can fit into an itty-bitty space!

For the visual learners, scroll to the bottom. We snapped sample shots for the “umbrella drink vacay” and the “winter wonderland” and the trips.

For a weeklong trip, here is our packing essential list:

The Bottoms

Renee: Once you have the essentials packed, start with two “bottoms” like three pairs of pants: skinny jeans, skinny cords and something a little more dressy depending on trip activities. Or swap a pant for a skirt if you like!

Kir: I wear jeans on the plane since they’re bulky. If it’s a long plane ride, I’ll throw a pair of leggings in my tote bag to change into once we take off. I pack 2-3 pairs of leggings (lululemon Wunder Unders keep their shape and work for working out and out-and-about) and my trusty black maxi skirt. And my favorite cut-offs for the beach – I end up wearing these more than anything.

This Was My Daily Uniform - Only the Bikinis Rotated In

This Was My Daily Uniform – Sanuk Castaways, Cut-offs, etc., Only Bikinis Rotated In

My Morning Walk to get Cafe Con Leche

My Uniform This Past Trip

Rule of Thumb: # Tops = # of days traveling (+2 more)

Renee: Bring different tops that you can mix and match with your bottoms – and that you really like wearing and feel comfortable in. Don’t pack the top that only looks good on your “skinny days”. Do pack a top that is flowy in case you’re feeling body image insecure one day on the trip.

Kir: I go for basics. My favorite 2 trusty white v-neck tees, 5 tanks (lululemon Cool Racerbacks transition from workout to out-and-about and pack down to nothing), 2 long sleeves (Free People thermals are great b/c they layer perfectly). *The added bonus of sticking to neutrals…you’re clothes don’t look dated five years from now! (what was she thinking with polka dot skinny cords?!?). Accessories keep you from being boring!

1+ dress(es)

Renee: I love dresses because they pack well and are a whole outfit in one piece of clothing. For warm weather, bring your spaghetti strap black dress that you can dress down with flip flops as a cover up for the beach or dress up with wedges and a necklace for a nice dinner. For cold weather, bring a sweater dress and wool tights to tuck into your boots.

Kir: I’m a dress girl, especially when doing the umbrella drink vacation. They pack down to nothing and do double duty as cover ups. 2-3 will do!

Dresses That Pack Down to Nothing!

Dresses That Pack Down to Nothing! Old Navy, Vix, Element dresses for me!

1 Sweater and/or Jacket

Renee: Whether it is a pashmina or cardigan for warm weather or a wool sweater and coat for cold weather, make sure to bring layers. If I have to bring a long bulky coat, I wear it or carry it onto the plane to save space in my suitcase – plus, it tends to come in handy when you step off the plane into 20-degree weather.

Kir: I rarely go anywhere without my Patagonia sweater. It packs down to nothing. I’ve had mine for three years now and it’s worth the investment. Usually, I pack one light weight sweater and wear one on the plane just in case it’s chilly at night.

You Never Know When Rain Will Strike - Thank Goodness I Had My Patagonia...

Rain on Day 1 and 2 – Thank Goodness I Had My Patagonia!!!

2-3 Workout clothes + running shoes

Renee: Essential for those of us who keep up our workouts on the road. Pack two workout outfits knowing that you are going to have to wash them out in the sink and hang dry. Stuff socks into your running shoes to save room and ensure you have socks (otherwise, ouch blisters!).

Kir: Socks into running shoes and I also put my headbands and undies in there (no judging, it works!). My tanks do double duty as running clothes. I’ll wear the tank out and about on day one then transition it to my workout tank on day two. Two pairs of running shorts and maybe a run skirt will do for a tropical vacay. I throw in a shopper bag to put them in once they’ve been used.

The Shoe Stash

The Shoe Stash (Vix bikini, headband, socks) + Betty Bag


Renee: Whether it is a cold or warm climate, there is probably a Jacuzzi you want to climb into after a long day. Make sure to pack at least one bikini.

Kir: Yea, one bikini won’t cut it for me. I recommend at least two so you always have a dry one (but let’s face it, I won’t leave the house with less than 4. They take up zero space and you can mix n match. i’ll usually opt for cut-offs over board shorts. 2 pairs of these and I’m set. Rotate b/n dresses and cut-offs.

Accessorize: 2 scarves, 2 necklaces and a handful of bracelets

Renee: Scarfs, jewelry, hats and other accessories help spice up outfits and make it look like you have lots of different looks in your carry-on.

Kir: I couldn’t agree more. Usually 2-3 scarves, earrings and bracelets to mix n match. I leave my expensive jewelry at home. You can pick up fun pieces from World Market!

Accessories Keep Your Basics Interesting!

Leave Your Diamonds at Home! (Free People, World Market & past travel finds)

3 Pairs of Shoes

Renee: Pack three pairs of shoes. One pair is your running shoes, one pair is the bulky pair you wear on the plane (heels, wedges or boots) and one pair of sandals or ballet flats that fit easily in your suitcase.

Kir: Agreed. I’ll usually wear my tall boots on the plane. 1 pair of running shoes and then a comfy hybrid shoe that I can walk all day in – Sanuk Castaways are my current fave (pictured above). If it’s a beach vacay, it’s running shoes, metallic Haviannas (dress shoe) and another pair of flip flops. I don’t bother with heels since I never end up wearing them.


If you’re heading to the beach, keep it simple with the make-up and toiletries! I go super basic. As long as I have my sunscreen, waterproof mascara, tinted moisturizer and some lipgloss, I’m good.

The Basics

The Basics (Maybelline BB Cream, Cargo lip gloss, Neutrogena sunscreen, Nars Orgasm blush, Body Shop Coconut Travel Scrub, Maybelline mascara, NYX lip gloss)

The Result

Kirsten: Best Practice – layer as you pack and be patient. If you need to make adjustments, it’s okay, don’t get frustrated 🙂 I lay everything out on the bed folded so I have an overview and then I start to layer. I leave room on one side as I go for my running shoes. Then I’ll pack around them so I’m not cramming them in at the last minute.

Scarlet, My Trusty Old Suitcase

Scarlet, My Trusty Old Suitcase

The Overview

The Overview

Layer as You Go

Layer as You Go


Fresh back from my trip, I wore about a 1/3 of what I packed! The cutoffs, no lie, every single day! My white tees, 1 dress and 3 tank tops. I used both pairs of flip flops. And since it rained for the first two days, my pareos doubled as scarves for warmth and my Betty trucker hat made a lovely hood! We sacked out and I logged exactly one, yes one, run while on our trip. My bikini selection (I packed 6) all but one was worn! And my Betty shopper bag doubled as a purse, beach tote and then dirty laundry bag for the re-pack.

Since this post is already really looooonnnnggg, Renee will be posting her fabulous version of this blog with her work and ski packing tips…Check out her link HERE to see the pics.

Any tips you have? I am ever in pursuit of the perfectly packed suitcase so let me know your secrets!!!