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Travel Chic

What to Pack for Vacation


You struggle with what to wear on a daily basis, so simplify your vacation wardrobe to maximize relaxation time.

With a few key pieces and a streamlined strategy, you can look chic, comfy and appropriate.

Here's an easy system for casual, warm-weather destinations:

  1. Comfort is the key. When traveling, look for fabrics that stretch like cotton knits or blends (nylon/lycra/spandex) These items pack better and come out wrinkle-free.
  2. Colors should be basic; separates should mix and match. Black, white, khaki and denim are ideal, but don't be afraid of punchy colors like red or orange for summer.
  3. Take at least one sarong. This is a lifesaver, because you can wear it to and from the beach and pool, wrap it around your swimsuit and take off for a four-wheel adventure, pair it with a tank top for brunch or cocktail hour.
  4. Shorts and tops or skirts and tanks make an easy daytime uniform. Take a few extra tank tops to layer or to wear on their own. Avoid logo Ts or flashy designer goods: they'll both you make stand out as a tourist.
  5. Dresses for night, either long or short, make looking pulled together a snap. A great black dress will take you anywhere.
  6. A cardigan. Lightweight knit cardigans in basic black or white can be tossed around the shoulders, layered over a Tshirt or tank dress, or worn alone with dressy pants for dinner.
  7. Buy accessories there. Leave your expensive jewelry at home and buy local treasures. If you are in the islands, add a recently purchased coral necklace or straw bangle bracelets.
  8. Two pair of shoes are the bare minimum: casual sandals and dressy sandals. Two optional additions: thongs for the pool or sneaker/athletic shoes.
  9. Dress like yourself. Vacations might seem ideal for trying a new look (it's not like you're ever going to see those people again) but don't be tempted to vary too far from your style. Not only will you feel uncomfortable, you'll waste lots of space and time with clothes you won't like wearing.
  10. Take a hat. A summer vacation is one of the few places a large-brimmed straw hat is not going to look ridiculous. Take advantage!

Travel Rules

  • Take easy-care fabrics. Lightweight wovens and knits can be washed and dripped dry in a hotel room.
  • Leave your expensive clothes behind if you travel with kids.
  • A big tote that zips on the top (to deter pickpockets) is a travel necessity.
  • Veteran travelers never worry about fancy luggage. Airline travel is just as hard on status luggage as practical bags, so don't waste your money.
  • Don't travel too light. It's better to have an extra outfit or two than to be stuck with nothing to wear (or worse -- overpay for something you'll never wear again from the hotel shops)
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