Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Packing for a Trip? There's an App for That.

We are leaving for our two week European vacation in just a few days. We've been packing and purchasing international phone plans and arranging house and dog sitting. It's a whirlwind of excitement and anxiety. I'm immersed.

Lots of people just pack jeans and t-shirts when they go on vacation. If that is you and you like it that way... stop reading. No judgement or issue with that... just not my style.

My best friend Megan and I have deliberated at length about the problems that come along with traveling in style... unless you have a stylist, in which case... get lost. To pack lightly (something our boyfriends and husbands seem obsessed with), you have to spend a lot of time planning your outfits and by the time you arrive you're overwhelmed with seeing the sights and you've forgotten what you picked out. Some pieces end up getting worn everyday (and in every photo... shoot) and some things just get pushed to the bottom of the bag and end up being a waste of space. No body wants to wake up at 6:30am during vacation to deliberate over an outfit. During my last few trips, Megan and I have developed a system to avoid all that... I'm about to give away trade secrets here.*

We've come up with a way to make sure you have a cute outfit every day you travel with zero hassle in the mornings. It involves planning, so if you can't bring yourself to be prepared, then you're out of luck. If you can, though, you'll save yourself a lot of stress on your vacation.

Megan & Tobi's Foolproof Guide to a Stylish and Effortless Vacation

You will need a camera, phone and computer for this method. The process will be different depending on what type of phone/computer you have, but my directions are for iPhone/Apple people. If you don't have Apple products, then I'm sure you can figure out something similar with your phone/computer. Good luck!

1. Tally It Up: Make a list of types of outfits you will need (ex: daytime, semi-formal dinner, going out, beach, etc.). Then, go through the itinerary for your vacation and make a tally mark next to each type of outfit every time you come across a day when you'll need it. In one day you might need a couple different types. For my trip, I needed 14 day outfits, 8 dinner outfits, 5 going out outfits and a couple other random outfits for the beach, travel days, etc. As always, I must thank my best friend and style guru Megan Smith for helping me style these looks!

2. Start Styling: Here's the fun part. Start styling your trip! Start with the outfits you will need the most of and work down from there. Remember to take the weather into account and that you'll want to take pieces you can wear more than once, especially for long trips. I was able to make 14 day outfits with only 5 pairs of shorts and 9 tops. After you've matched up the pieces, make sure you take note of the details, like what and jewelry goes with the outfit, or what type of camis, bras or panties you'll need. Pick out shoes for each outfit, but don't take a bulky pair of pumps along if they only go with one dress!

3. Photograph and Organize: Lay out each outfit, complete with jewelry and shoes and take a photo. I do this part with my real camera (for quality) and I like to upload mine to iPhoto and crop them, so they look nice. Then, in iPhoto, I create an album for each type of outfit (day, night, going out, etc.) and drag each of the photos into the album or albums they belong in.

For a quick and dirty version, you can also just snap a photo of each outfit with your phone and keep them in your camera roll, but I don't like the clutter personally.

4. Sync: Plug your iPhone into your computer to sync. When iTunes pops up, make sure you select your outfit albums under "photos". Sync and voila!

Now you should have an album in your "Photos" app for each type of outfit you will need. When you are ready to get dressed for the day, you can just flip through the photos until you find what you want to wear. You won't need to try to throw something together, just put on what you've already laid out, complete with accessories.

Other Tips:
  • Use the good old "Day to Night" trick as much as possible. Accessorize a top in the day with a belt and shorts and bring it into the night by adding jewelry and skinny jeans.
  • If you won't have access to a washer/dryer during your trip, try not to plan easy-to-soil items like white shorts into too many outfits... just in case.
  • Make shoes fit! I wrap mine in packing paper to prevent them from getting scuffed and put them in the bottom of the bag. For pumps, I place them in rows on either side with the heel facing out, so that they form a v in the middle of the bag where you can pack your clothes.
  • If you are only bringing a carry on bag to avoid extra charges, you won't be able to bring big bottles like sunscreen. Make a list of items like this that you'll need right away but couldn't bring and pick them up on the first day.
  • Don't forget a little pill case or baggie with band aids, pain relievers, etc. Going without can really ruin your day!
Let me know if you have any other tips or tricks to share!

*Just a couple hours before I was going to post this, I found out that my friend Janna does this too! Alright, maybe it's not a trade secret... but it is helpful!


  1. Loved this post because I totally went on a trip recently and took photos of all my styled outfits just like you! You totally went above and beyond though, this is just fantastic! Things I learned from my recent trip: 1) packing for the summer is always easier than packing for a winter trip. Clothing is much more light and airy! 2) Southwest is fantastic and allows 1 bag to be checked for FREE per person! 3) Knowing your play-by-play (as I call it) was essential for packing my best and lightest! And Mike was shocked at how little I brought :-) You two have fun on your trip!!

  2. very cute outfits and great tips. but wow, that is a lot of work. my 4 shirts and 2 pants for 6 months is feeling a bit sheepish.

  3. I wish you wrote this before my trip :P Great planning!