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How to Actually Fit All Your Outfits in Your Carry-On for Spring Break

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right, you guessed it. Spring Break. Time to relax, kick your feet up, and take in the fresh air. Whether you’re having a staycation, going somewhere tropical and warm, or even somewhere a bit chillier, you still have to look bomb. But first, there’s so much that much be done for vacation preparation.

You either love packing or you hate it — there’s really no in-between. Whichever end of the spectrum you’re on, it’s always hard to keep from packing your entire wardrobe into your carry-on. If you’re flying, many airlines allow you to bring 2 carry-on bags! So you can pack your clothes into your suitcase and throw your shoes and toiletries into a backpack or tote bag so save space. Trust me, packing light is an art that I still haven’t mastered, but having gone on a lot of vacations, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to condense my vacation wardrobe. Here’s how to successfully pack all your fire looks into one carry-on.

Kamile Leo Kamile Leo / Unsplash

The Basics

To start your packing journey, get organized! I like to use packing cubes to separate my basics, key pieces, and shoes.  It’s always smart to start with your basics. These are the pieces you know you're going to need. Some of these pieces should definitely be versatile.  My suggestions for basics are divided into two categories: tops and bottom. For my bottoms, I usually grab my go-to pair of mom jeans, my coziest pair of sweatpants, and of course, a pair of jean shorts. Jean shorts can be paired with literally anything and they’re easy for the night-to-day switch. 

For tops, think about how many days you’ll be on vacation. I try to pack about two shirts per day, but when condensing, one will work. every girl needs an oversized graphic tee, a black or white bandeau and a dainty tank for those days when you just want straps.). Another piece that I always make sure I have in my carry-on is a sweatshirt. This is a necessity for chilly planes and long car rides —you never know when you’re going to be a little chilly.! Lastly, if you’re going somewhere tropical: bathing suits, sis! Though you could probably get away with just one swimsuit, if you want more than one, stick to the classics: black and white!

Nappy

Key Vacay Pieces

Basic pieces? Packed. Now it’s time to hone in on your key pieces. I always think of my outfits in terms of  “day-to-night” to make it easier on myself. Meaning, it’s easier to pack outfits that could work for both a daytime and nighttime look! Regardless of where I’m going, I always pack one nighttime-worthy mini or midi dress. I make sure that it can be worn to a nice dinner or to a night out on the town. If you don't want to look exactly the same, you can wear it with a t-shirt underneath for a daytime look, and then for nighttime, just wear it by itself with a pair of heels!

Next, it’s time to add key bottoms. Statement bottoms with a pattern or a new piece you just added to your closet that you’ve been waiting to wear! For me, it’s usually a pair of baggy leather pants or a cute, flowing maxi skirt. 

For tops, you can add a few more, since they tend to take up less space. I go for a cute cardigan, a nice Bardot top, and maybe a very Paris Hilton-inspired halter top. 

If you’ve got a nice statement swimsuit to add, now is the time! Cheetah print, pastels, and neons are all welcome here. High-leg swimsuits are super cute statement suits to add to your carry on. 

Extras

Profile Of Girl At The Beach In Sunglasses Anna Thetard / Her Campus

Now that you’ve figured out the skeleton for your ‘fits, it’s time to add your extras like jackets and shoes. Jackets are pretty hard to fit into a carry-on, so I always try to work one into my airport or travel outfit. Hoodies are usually my go-to for the airport. Then if I NEED another one, I’ll try to smash a leather jacket, a cropped jean jacket, or an oversized blazer into my suitcase. These options spice up any of the outfits I already added. 

Shoes are the hardest thing for me to condense into my vacation wardrobe…How am I supposed to choose between all my babies? *cries internally* But alas, it must be done. Comfort is my middle name, so I make sure to pack my handy-dandy pair of white sneakers. 

Then I like to pack one more pair of statement sneakers, so I’ll usually always go with a pair of Jordan 1s. If sneakers aren’t really your thing, go for a pair of combat boots or a nice pair of leather loafers. Lastly, I make sure I have one pair of versatile heels for nights out and one pair of sandals or slides for a beach day or when the weather is really warm. 

Things you probably forgot, because sadly, mom doesn’t pack for you anymore

Whew, you’ve made it through the eye of the storm now. Not so fast though. If you’re anything like me, you probably forgot all the other simple things you need for a vacation. 

Underwear, socks, and accessories are my most commonly forgotten items, so just make sure you’ve got enough pairs of socks and undies to keep you covered every day of the trip, and hey, it doesn’t hurt to pack one extra pair (just in case!).

Karly Jones Karly Jones / Unsplash

For accessories, I always have one pair of thick gold hoops, a pair of small gold hoops, and a pair of silver hoops, just in case the outfit calls for it. My small gold chain goes with me everywhere and my ‘every day’ dainty necklace that I never take off. 

If you like hats, throw a baseball cap or a beanie in there in case your hair refuses to cooperate. And last but not least: an everyday pair of sunglasses. Whether you prefer the vintage small frames or a traditional pair of aviators, make sure you’ve got a pair!     

 *lets out a sigh of relief* Finally finished! After packing, please feel free to treat yourself to a cookie or a glass of wine (if your age permits), because you deserve it. Spring break is right around the corner so have fun and be safe! And girl, don’t forget to take some fire outfit picks for Instagram. If you want to do some more reading on spring break, check out this article on Spring Break 101

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