Travel style: How to plan cute outfits for vacation in a carry-on

How to pack 10 Days of cute outfits in a carry-on bag from Boston travel blogger, Extra Petite

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on what to pack for travel outfits, so wanted to share my “formula” for planning outfits while on the road! I’d follow the same train of thought for planning a capsule wardrobe, for those of you who’ve asked about that. In this post I’ve shared examples of pieces that can be re-styled and stretched into outfits for over 10 days – I can fit all of the above into my carry-on with room left over, which I usually fill with extra items just in case!

PACKING IN A CARRY-ON BAG

travel-packing-3-part-image-palette_02

Packing Palette // Start by choosing a color palette for your travel outfits, including 2-3 neutrals, and if desired, 1-2 accent colors. Try to pack within this scheme, adding printed pieces in similar color families for interest. Planning and visualizing your wardrobe in categories (tops, bottoms, outer layers, shoes, bag) will make it super easy to mix-and-match the pieces…just choose one from each category to make a complete outfit!
Travel Outfits: Foundation pieces to pack in a carry-on.

Favorite places to find these staples // fun tops // striped shirts // slouchy tees // denim shorts // ankle pants // ankle jeans // maxi skirts // knit dresses

Foundation Pieces – Bottoms // I usually start with bottoms, looking for my most comfortable and wrinkle-resistant bottoms that will work for the destination climate. Dark blue and black jeans are a safe bet, as well as navy ankle pants for a dressier look. Maxi skirts don’t get much love on “what to pack” lists but they are my favorite. Your legs are covered up but can still breathe, plus maxi skirts can be easily dressed up or down.

Foundation Pieces – Tops & Dresses // A slouchy tee and striped shirt are wardrobe workhorses, as you guys have seen on this blog! I also like to add a “fun” top with an interesting detail or two, that can be worn either tucked in or untucked. Mixing a few fashion-forward pieces in a suitcase full of basics will prevent simple outfits from feeling drab.

I’m a dress lover through and through, so I always pack a few with me personally…lace, prints, fit & flare, etc. If I had to just recommend one type for travel, it would be a stretchy knit swing dress for max comfort & versatility.

How to pack in a carry-on! Outer Layers: Jackets and Cardigans

Favorite places to find these staples // denim jackets // oversized cardigans // scarves & wraps // knit blazers // moto jackets // draped trenches

Outer Layers // This will vary based on where and when you’re traveling, but you can never be too prepared for fluctuating weather. For mid-spring, I packed a denim jacket, an oversized cardigan, and a patterned scarf that can double as a wrap. Other outer layers I love for travel include knit blazers, my moto jacket and a draped trench.

What shoes and bags to pack for travel in a carry-on.

Favorite places to find these staples // convertible clutches // cross-body satchels // neutral flats or Rothy’s // low sandals // chic sneakers

Accessories – Shoes // Figure out how much walking you’ll be doing on the trip, and plan shoes accordingly! Colors like cognac brown, tan, or blush are usually versatile and flattering against bare legs. I rely a lot on my Nike sneakers (which typically run a half size small) and neutral flats for their versatility.

Accessories – Bags // Being hands-free is important when sightseeing, so you can enjoy all those ice cream cones and take hundreds of photos. I like to bring at least a roomy tote (good for the airport, shopping, beach, etc), a medium cross-body bag for general use, and a dressier clutch bag that’s also convertible with a strap.

Other (not pictured, but don’t forget these!): sunglasses, jewelry, toiletries, undergarments, PJs

How to pack 10 Days of cute outfits in a carry-on bag from Boston travel blogger, Extra Petite.

Here’s some examples of these pieces mixed & matched to create several outfits! Most of them are very practical for sightseeing, but I’ve noted a few for certain scenarios. As another tip, if I have time while packing, I’ll roughly lay out the possible outfit pairings and take a quick photo on my phone of each set. That way while on the road, I can just wake up and look through the “catalogue” of outfits on my phone and quickly choose one best suited for the day’s activities.

How to pack 10 Days of cute outfits in a carry-on bag from Boston travel blogger, Extra Petite.

Below are two of my favorite pairings…giving me some outfit ideas for the rest of this week!

how to plan stylish travel outfits for vacation

Lastly, here’s some past travel posts where I’m wearing variations of the above outfits:

How to pack 10 Days of cute outfits in a carry-on bag from Boston travel blogger, Extra Petite.

Stylish Travel Outfits | Boston Style Blogger
Both outfit details in this post 

Whew…I hope you guys enjoyed this post! How do you approach packing for long trips? Do you pack your travel outfits in your carry-on? What are some of your must-bring clothing, shoes or accessories?

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