The key to packing light this summer

Nikia Jefferson
Tribune Content Agency

For many of us, packing is the least exciting part of summer travel (although, I would argue that unpacking is the absolute worst). Figuring out what to wear while on vacation is a task in itself, particularly when traveling to warmer climates. The key to packing light and not exceeding the luggage weight limitations is versatility. When planning out each look, it is important to incorporate items that easily transition from day to night and mix and match with one another.

Start with the clothing

Multipurpose clothing is the foundation of any packing pro’s wardrobe. If you’re wondering what makes clothing multipurpose, think about things that can go from casual to dressy with a switch of accessories. Case in point, the romper. Similar to a dress, a romper is all about ease. Since it is one piece, it takes much of the thinking out of getting dressed for the day. When traveling this summer, consider a more tailored version of the romper, like the Ann Taylor Linen Blend Safari Romper. The structured shape and fabric content (hello, linen blend) makes it a winner for those seeking to simultaneously look polished and feel relaxed.

And speaking of fabric content, when packing your travel essentials, ensure that you select clothing that is machine washable and made of breathable fabrics. Profusely sweating while wearing fussy, uncomfortable clothing is a recipe for disaster.

Have fun with prints and patterns.

When it comes to prints: the bolder, the better. Printed bottoms pair nicely with our favorite tanks and tees. And who doesn’t already have an arsenal of those? Also, don’t forget to bring along some graphic tees or tanks (Target always has a great selection). Not only will they work well with your favorite denim shorts or distressed jeans, but they will also allow you to hone your pattern-mixing skills when paired with a printed bottom. If you’re lucky enough to find a matching two-piece set (e.g., a printed tank with matching skirt or shorts), the result will be three potential outfits, as each piece can be worn together or coupled with other items in your wardrobe. How’s that for efficiency?

Move to the accessories

Women are always expected to bring an unusual amount of shoes and bags with them when traveling. Pleasantly surprise your travel companions by being a little more strategic about which accessories you pack.

For footwear, try to stick to one pair of shoes in the following three categories: sneakers, flat sandals and chunky high-heel sandals or pumps. In neutral colors like black, white, navy or nude, these three types of shoes will have you prepared (and comfortable) for whatever adventure or event is thrown your way.

When it comes to bags, convertibility is the name of the game. Pack handbags that serve dual purposes. You know, ones that change from tote to shoulder bag or from crossbody to clutch. The wallet on chain is another great travel accessory this year, due to its compactness. And thanks to the popularity of the Chanel version, affordable brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Banana Republic and Nine West have introduced their own iterations into the market.

Intentionally focusing on items that are multifunctional may actually have you traveling with just a carry-on. Shocking, I know. But who am I kidding? We’ll still need an extra piece of luggage to bring back all of our purchases while on vacation. There’s no way to get around that.