How I Plan My Travel Outfits and Avoid Overpacking

fullsizeoutput_10b1

Options are great. But I know that when I have too many options, I get overwhelmed. Whenever I travel, it really tests my ability to hone in on my style and pick only pieces that I can count on. For me my goal is always to look good, be comfortable, and avoid overpacking. I don’t know why but I love the idea of bringing as little as possible with me. Usually my skincare is the one thing I refuse to narrow down. Story time: On my way back from Madrid almost two months ago, the airport security person scolded me for having more than one clear bag for my toiletries and told me that I should only have one not 3 (or was it 4)….I was willing to throw out my makeup and everything else to keep my bag of skincare. Luckily I got to keep everything and got away with the warning.  *Phew* The End. But seriously, if my skin was flawless I probably wouldn’t care about what I was wearing and would just wear one outfit over and over again.

If you also like packing light and having as many options as possible, let me let you in on my packing “secrets.”

-Roll Method is true. Roll your clothes. Save the space in your luggage for souvenirs and other things you “have to have.”

-Stick to neutral colors unless colors are your neutrals. I usually think of myself as a pretty colorful dresser but apparently all I wanted to bring with me on my recent Montreal trip was neutrals. My color scheme was black, gray, and white except for my printed pants.

Details matter. If there’s a ruffle, a knot, or some kind of cool detail on your top then it will be super easy to make something look a bit more dressed up even when it feels so lazy and good. The gray t-shirt I brought with me had ties on the sleeves and I knotted it to make it a bit more cropped. I also brought with me a striped crop top that had ruffle details on the neckline, sleeve, and hem so it looked a bit more thought out then say a cropped t-shirt.

cropped topsummer outfit montreal

-Prepare for more than one weather condition. Montreal was a bit of a challenge at first because it was supposed to rain, be hot, then be a bit cooler, and apparently I really only know how to dress for extreme hot or extreme cold. *Shrugs* But (!) I seemed to have figured it out this time. For “colder” summer weather, a thin long sleeve in a solid color and a denim jacket will both prove useful.  You will also need more than one pair of pants (you never know). I chose to go with a pair of white jeans and a printed pair of “jogger” pants. White jeans instantly make an outfit look chicer with the littlest amount of effort. And the joggers injected some color into my outfit while still being incredibly comfortable. For hotter weather, opt for a skirt. You’ll want your legs and everything else to have space to breathe. An a-line/flared one is a great option.

summer outfit montrealsummer outfit montreal 2

You only need to bring two pairs of shoes. Hear me out. If you’re exploring a city, you’ll need a comfortable pair of sneakers because blisters are not fun. I opted for my Vans slip-on sneakers. For the evening time when you want to get fancy, a chunky heeled sandal is your best friend. I wore my Sam Edelman heels in a sand color. Both shoes were comfortable options. And if you’re going to the beach bring a pair of flip flops/slides, but that’s it. Guarantee, you’ll get ready in a jiffy.

IMG_8462IMG_8601

Bring a versatile bag. I wore the same Clare Vivier mini bag with me everyday, which worked for both day and night. I love when bags have a shoulder and handle option.

fullsizeoutput_ff2fullsizeoutput_10b6

There you go, all my secrets. I wore everything and the only thing I “overpacked” was a black dress. It took up very little space so I still consider it a packing win. I got dressed in a hurry and had plenty of space left in the luggage I shared with my husband.

If this helps one person pack more efficiently, I consider this a success. And if you still want to bring all your things…roll ’em up.


In case you’re curious, here are the links and alternatives for everything I wore on my Montreal trip. (Click on link or the photo itself to be sent to the website).

1. Gray t-shirt with tie sleeves: Avec Les Filles

2. Striped ruffle crop top: Brandy Melville (no longer available) but these two are great alternatives.

crop top 2.png    Cropped top.png
Photo: Left from needsupply.com and right from stories.com.

3. Black top (original from Reformation but no longer available) but these two are great options:
black topstriped top
Photo: Left from thereformation.com and right from Stories.com.

4. Printed jogger pants (the one I’m wearing are from Zara 4 years ago) but these two are great options.

jogger pants 2jogger pants 1
Photo: Revolve.com.

5. White cropped jeans (mine are from Madewell) but these & Other Stories ones are a great option.

cropped white denim
Photo: Stories.com.

6. White skirt: Avec Les Filles

7. Mini bag (mine is from Clare Vivier and is currently sold out but you can get on their waitlist, which I was previously on). These are also great options.

soludos bagstraw bag
Photo: Left is from Soludos.com and right is from needsupply.com.

8. Slip on sneakers
9. Chunky heeled sandals

Some suggested reading: 
My packing list
My Montreal experience


What are your packing tips? How do you plan your outfits? Or do prefer to just be casual the whole time? I would love to know!

Thanks for stopping by. See you in my next post!

Sophie 🙂


Disclaimer: Not an ad. Just sharing my love for packing efficiently.