I’m lucky enough to go on frequent holidays and even though I’m a seasoned traveler, packing for a holiday remains a challenge. Packing for longer term trips (3 weeks or more) is the toughest, but even short trips will require a bit of planning to make sure you look great while on holiday.

My packing routine

This week I’m going on a short trip of one week to sunny Cebu in the Philippines. It’s going to be a holiday with lots of sun, lunches at the beach and diners in the evening. I don’t think it will be cold at all so packing for this trip is relatively easy. It will take me about an hour.

This is what I usually do while packing for a short holiday

  • I select all my favorite outfits of the moment that would be suitable for the trip on and place them on the bed
  • I make piles for dresses, skirts, tops, bottom and outerwear
  • Then I’ll start thinking about the amount of outfits I will need for the trip. How many evening outfits. How many beach outfits, how many cold weather outfits etc.
  • I  will then match the clothes and put them into little capsules. For example: if you have a top, skirt, trousers, cardigan, blouse, dress in the same color scheme, you can turn those 6 items into multiple outfits suitable for various weather conditions.
  • I chose 1 flat and 1 dressy pair of shoes for the capsule
  • For my long trips, I will need to be really strict and create good capsules as my suitcase will fill up really quickly. And let’s face it, as we get older, we are increasingly less capable of carrying heavy suitcases, so I’m always trying to keep them as light as possible (not always succeeding!)
  • I choose the accessories that suit my capsules
how to pack for a vacation
I usually end up with 2 predominant color combinations, so I would take 4 pairs of shoes. And a pair of trainers or really good walking shoes. For longer trips, I remind myself to always pack less than I think I need, because I always end up buying new clothes anyway and you need to keep space for that in your suitcase!
I ended with very neutral colors this time, mainly concentrating on pink, white, purple and grey. All of these outfits mix and match really easy so it should give me enough options for the holiday. Of course I packed 1 or 2 brightly colored sundresses for day time to add just that extra bit of color. Seeing this neutral color selection is reminding me that I will need to stock up on some brighter colors!

How do you pack for your holidays? 


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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