Posted in Travel

What I packed for vacay


Well, I had hoped to share part 1 of our vacation with you today, but time has just gotten away from me.

Re-entry has been hectic. Travis went to work early Sunday morning for a horse sale this week, and I’ve been unpacking, doing laundry, prepping for the kids’ activities, and more.

Funny story: I went to Walgreens early Sunday morning. When the worker said, “hello,” I responded with ,”Hola!” #oldhabitsdiehard

On Sunday, Hayden ate Ruffles chips we bought at the Cancun airport and made a turkey sandwich with turkey that was opened before we left, and we had Panera for dinner. So, I felt like I needed to get some groceries yesterday, to say the least!

Also, you know when I shared with you that I’ve taken over 700 photos of Homer since we got him three years ago? Well, I apparently love turquoise blue water just as much! So, I need to sift through my photos and get going on those posts.

I did get my suitcase unpacked yesterday (everyone else’s got unpacked Sunday along with laundry), and I decided to finally look at what I packed and make a master list/template for me to use in the future.

Like my closet re-organization post, this may be more for me than anyone else, but I know I will like having this as a reference point.

Packing (and unpacking) was a bit easier thanks to having my closet and drawers organized. It was easier for me to see what I had in order to pack. I bought a few new things, but overall, I went with most of my favorites, some of which I’ve had for months or years.

So–a little back story. I’m a chronic over-packer. That’s it. End of story. Going in to this vacay, Travis knew I’d be the only one to check a bag. This was true, but good news is I used to over-pack a large suitcase. This time, I over-packed using my new (for my birthday in January) medium sized suitcase. #babysteps.

Anyway, nothing like travelling internationally to make you want to just walk off the plane and straight to customs rather than wait a half hour for your bag putting you middle to back of the customs chaos line. (For the record, it was chaotic in Cancun and quiet (but slow to get bags) in Cincinnati.)

So, once we got home, I did what I’ve always said I wanted to do. I took out what I didn’t actually wear on vacay, and then repacked what I did use in to Hadley’s suitcase to see if I could ever actually be a carry on packer…


TA. DAAAA! (Well, I did have to sit on it to zip it, but a good amount of stuff is in there.)

The clothes on the left are what I didn’t wear, and then that’s Hadley’s suitcase.(My mom got the kids these suitcases (20 inch carry on size) for Christmas 2020, and they’ve been perfect.) Travis got me a new medium sized one from Macy’s during an after Christmas sale. #perksofJanuarybirthdayshopping

Now, real talk –a few of my shoes aren’t in there, but they weren’t ever in my suitcase. Thankfully, Hayden is a very light packer, and my few sandals were in his suitcase.

I still swear by packing cubes, but have you seen these Ziploc Space Saver bags? Travis picked up two at Home Depot, I believe. I used one for the dresses I took, and he used one as well. On the return trip home, I still used one for my dresses, and then we used the other for most of our dirty clothes (seen below)

My carry on was my Weekender bag from Target. I bought it in May; I’ve used it a few times, but this was my first time using it on a plane.

In it, I packed a beach bag, a couple of pairs of sandals, two books, my Kindle, my curling iron, two purses, three hats (beach hat, sun visor, and ball cap)and a few other random odds and ends. I told you…it holds a lot, and it wasn’t even packed to the brim.

It seems to go in and out of stock, and I think there are a couple of variations, but it’s a great bag.

Now on to the real point of this post….my checklist for future beach vacations in hopes that I can become a carryon girl.

On the plane:

  • I wore my long black muscle tank dress from Target that I’ve had for years along with my favorite Amazon cardigan. I also wore my faux Birks.


  • underwear, bras, sports bras, socks (I didn’t over-pack in this department)


  • one pair of lightweight pj pants
  • night gown
  • t-shirt
  • pink pj set (from Target)…these have been my favorite this summer. (top // bottom)


The gym was so nice, and I’d set a goal of working out three times, but hit the gym for the elliptical twice. That being said, on our boat day, I swear we swam half a mile on our snorkeling tour, so that counts as exercise!)

  • 2 shorts: black and gray
  • black tennis skirt
  • 2 workout tops

Tank tops:


  • One black pair and one army green pair of lightweight shorts to wear with tanks.


  • 4 swimsuits
  • 3 coverups (including my favorite new blue one and the green one I purchased earlier in the summer)
Coverup and belt bag


  • 8 dresses (really seven dresses because I wore one on the plane) (I originally packed 10 dresses…I know, I know…too many!)


  • Faux Birks (I wore on the plane to and from as well as other times)
  • Braided heel sandals
  • Tennis shoes for working out
  • Flip flops for pool and beach
  • Two pairs of flat sandals (I definitely could have just brought one, but sandals are light-weight and easy to pack!)


On the plane, I used my cross body shoulder bag purse.

These were in the Weekender bag:

  • Lululemon belt bag (I used this so much…when we went to breakfast, lunch, excursion, and it fit easily in the beach bag)
  • Favorite Amazon crossbody purse (I have it in beige, and it’s on sale!) I used this every night when we went out to dinner and to watch the entertainment in the evenings)
My purse!


I packed these in my carry on bag:

  • Beach hat. The one I have, I bought two years ago from Nordstrom. It’s my “go to” beach hat. (Usually on vacay, I feel like I have to wash my hair every day (which isn’t something I usually do) because of the salt water and heat. This trip, I got away with every other day because of dry shampoo, and I even wore this hat a couple of times to lunch or dinner). I don’t see mine on Nordstrom’s site, but this one looks similar.
  • Ball cap — I have so many, but usually bring my Patagonia one on vacay.
  • Sun visor – I got this one last summer and love it. It’s easy to pack because it rolls right up. Sometimes, my head gets hot when wearing my other hat, so this visor is perfect for blocking the sun and letting my head breathe. (If they makes sense?)


I always pack my makeup bag, but then I usually pack one or two more other travel bags with travel size things, skin care, etc. This time, I just put everything I needed into the makeup bag, and just used one travel bag for my Dime Beauty skin care products for day and night. (We used some of other bags in this set to hold our passports, medicine, etc.) My cosmetic bag fit perfectly into the corner of the suitcase.

Plane Ride Home:

  • This dress came in a couple of days before we left, and I love it. I wore it to dinner one night and then on the plane ride home with a gray sweatshirt. (I usually get cold on the plane.)

….and that’s it. Well, that was still a lot, but it’s less than what I brought.

Things I packed that I didn’t wear:

  • 3 blouse shirts/sleeveless tops
  • 2 swimsuits
  • workout leggings and top
  • white jeans (I love white denim and will wear in the summer, but I guess I’m more of a dress person, especially on vacation)
  • one tank
  • 2-3 dresses
  • Denim shorts
  • long sleeve shirt
  • and a couple other things, I’m sure!

Now, I know there will be quite a few who read this list and will still think I packed too much…and you are not wrong. 😆 Others, will be super impressed that I condensed my packing down to these items in my packing cubes.

Shew! It’s such an effort for me to pack that I always put it off. Honestly, more than packing, it’s the other odds and ends that leave me scatter brained (all the chargers for all the things, books, Kindle, medicine, swim goggles, etc.)

I hope to share about the first part of our trip later this week!

What are your packing tips? I clearly need to add them to my packing routine. I will thank you…and so will my family! 😂

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13 thoughts on “What I packed for vacay

  1. I don’t think you overpacked at all!!! I would have brought the leggings, jeans, and LS shirt, too, b/c I’m always cold and kick myself when I don’t have a warmer “something” to wear. It’s hard to guess what you will need and/or be doing when you are gone for more than three days :). Plus, if you don’t have a place to do laundry at your destination it is way cheaper to check a bag then to pay to have someone do it for you. So there. I gave you all the excuses you need ;). Shoes are ALWAYS my downfall. . .I have learned to pack “by color”, meaning all navy or all black or all brown/tan. . .it does cut down on the pairs of shoes I need, although athletic shoes and walking shoes are bulky so I do try to wear one of those on the plane. Great idea to make a list!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That makes me feel better. Seeing the list helped me see I was still able to pack quite a bit. And then also see that what I didn’t wear wasn’t that much. Again, thankfully that carry on bag holds quite a bit and I’m thankful hayden is a light packer. You are right, you just never know what you’ll need.


  2. Those space saving bags may need to be making their way over to my house. Those might really help with my overpacking because I don’t think there’s any way I edit down my own clothes. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am an overpacker, too but it seems to be shoes that are my biggest problem. Oh, and toiletries and accessories are hard for me to narrow down. I don’t pack pajamas so I combine the workout/pj category. I sleep in shorts and black tanks so that works for both. I don’t want to wear pants at all on vacation; they feel too constricting, so I get why you didn’t wear your white jeans.
    Once you feel that freedom of carry on only it’s hard to go back. We used the space saver bags for Germany, too. They are great for the dirty clothes on the way back. I think my biggest tip is to pick a color scheme so that everything works.
    I love that you did the experiment in Hadley’s. The thing is that we don’t travel enough to get the practice so that everytime we go it is almost like starting from square one. I think you did pretty well!


    1. I even waited to repack using hers until after I did some laundry. I wanted to know my makeup bag + clothes would work. I mean, I still would have to use the big carryon and hayden for my shoes (definitely a downfall — but most sandals are so light!)


      1. I agree! Honestly, that’s some of the checking the suitcase too – whatever is in my carryon I know is TSA approved. Makeup, sunscreen etc go in checked bag. I had to go through the line again in Cancun on the way home with things that were in hadleys backpack ugh


  4. I am a recovering over-packer, and I blame camping trips. I went from having to pack EVERYTHING to packing for just myself for most of my trips. I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago for four days and guess how many outfits I packed? FOUR! I will say that one night I didn’t love what I’d brought to wear, but I was stuck with my choice, so it was fine. Additionally I took a swimsuit and coverup, my own beach and bath towels, one pair of pajamas, one nightgown, my laptop and chargers for it, my phone and my Kindle and charger. I drove for this trip, so I had room to overpack, but I chose to pack lightly this time.

    The real test will come when I fly to Boston in September to meet my sister for a week on Cape Cod. I’ll be packing in a carry-on bag and trying to make it light enough that I won’t have an issue with lifting it over my head. Here’s to hoping I’ll be able to achieve that! I can’t wait to read about your trip…but I loved this post and added that cross-body bag to my cart on Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s amazing that you really narrowed down what you packed for the 4 days. I’m sure I could even narrow it down more (I did wear a couple dresses twice) cape cod sounds amazing! It’s on my travel list for sure


  5. This is great! I tend to waaay overpack too and yet I always wish there were a few things I didn’t bring that I wished I had as much as those items I don’t wear that I did pack too. It can be so hard when each trip we take is very different.

    Liked by 1 person

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