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Vacation Clothing Buying Guide

Published April 28, 2010 | Updated June 29, 2015

Packing for a trip doesn't need to be stressful. When you plan your clothes ahead of time, you can pack without worrying. To make sure you have the best clothing, shoes, and accessories for your trip, use this vacation clothing buying guide. Over-packers take note: Packing smart is just as much about what you don't bring as what you do.

Pack Well and Pack Light:

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  • Limit Yourself

    Struggling to zip over-packed luggage closed, hauling it from your car to the check-in, yanking it off of a luggage carousel: When you cram your luggage full of clothes, you're exhausted before you've even reached your hotel. You don't need to bring every article of clothing you own; there are many situations that just aren't going to come up. Besides, you'll need to have room in your suitcase for all the souvenirs you'll want to buy! Packing an item because you might need it for some unlikely scenario is not going to make traveling easier.

  • Edit Your Choices Before Packing

    "Pack light" is advice you've probably heard before, but you may not have realized that it's really more about packing wisely than it is about merely leaving things out of your suitcase. It means bringing the clothes you will really need and use while you are on your vacation -- nothing more, nothing less. Regardless of where you are traveling, this includes checking what the weather is going to be like and planning what your schedule is going to include. Either make a checklist on paper or lay everything out that you think you may need. Then cross items off or pick them up and put them away after evaluating whether you'll really need them.

  • Consider Airline Limitations

    If you're flying to your destination, remember that packing wisely also means following the rules from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Be sure to go over the TSA packing tips to make sure you're within regulations. Depending on your airline, you may also have to pay for additional suitcases or you may have a weight limit per bag. Consider these factors early in your preparations, not at the check-in counter at the airport.

  • Make Your Plan Based on Your Destination

    Wherever you travel and whatever you do when you get there, you'll enjoy yourself more if you have the right clothes. Deciding what the right clothes are, though, is where it can get tricky. You want to be prepared for the activities you're planning, dressed appropriately for the weather and, of course, comfortable. Planning ahead is the best way to make sure your clothes fulfill all of those needs. Think about your schedule and how you would like to be dressed when you are doing those activities.

  • Streamline Your Vacation Wardrobe

    Many smart packers recommend creating a "capsule wardrobe," where all the clothes you bring can be mixed and matched. You can make this easy with neutral colors, or have fun and shop for several pieces in coordinating colors. Not only will you be able to create more outfits with fewer items of clothing, but you'll also need to bring fewer accessories. For example, one scarf can be worn around your neck with one outfit, as a belt with another, and as a headband with one more. Remember, too, that you can wear some items of clothing a few times while you are on your trip. A dinner outfit one night can be a lunch outfit a few days later. One jacket can be worn during a cool evening at a patio café and during an afternoon rainstorm. You don't need to bring duplicates.

  • Accent Your Outfits

    Like your capsule wardrobe, you can pack jewelry that can be worn with different clothes. If all your clothes are coordinated, you can get away with bringing only one or two necklaces and pairs of earrings. Remember not to bring your most valuable jewelry; if it is lost or stolen while you are on vacation, the fun is over.