Vacay Mode On! Are your bags packed? - Part One June 29 2019 108 Comments

There’s nothing like planning for months for your summer vacation and finding out you forgot to pack your meds (or worse, your sunscreen!). As I pack for my two week long trip to South Africa with family, it’s getting clearer that I need a checklist to keep me organized. Our itinerary includes the gorgeous Cape Town, sipping wine in the scenic Franschhoek, spotting the big five at Kruger National Park and a rest day at Johannesburg. With different temps (it’s winter down south!) and vibes of each destination, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb with out-of-place choice of outfits and care materials.


Here are my tips for packing for vacation longer than 3 days.

Checked Bag


Luggage - For your checked bag, you want something super lightweight, sturdy, hard on the outside and that has 4 wheels. I’ve been a huge fan of Samsonite, because they make the most value-for-money luggage that rolls like a dream. None of the fancy schmancy GPS tracking or charging but these boys are sturdy as rocks and can withstand all the throwing and stacking by the airport crew.


Samsonite Fortifi Spinner


Packing cubes - With a long trip ahead, it gets super messy to organize clothes that have been worn vs. those that can go for a few hours. These breathable and packable cubes from Muji are great for keeping your suitcase organized while you’re destination hopping every 3 days.

Muji Garment Packing Case


have one for myself and one for my husband and I set them out in the wardrobe of the hotel room. We dump our dirty clothes as soon as we’re done with them and zip up the cubes. This saves a ton of time and effort for packing up for our next destination on the trip.


Outfits - Of course, that’s the first thing you plan for when you hear vacation. While you have your faves planned and laid out, it’s a bummer if you’re stuck in a different continent with unpredictable weather.


Layered clothing is a must and I find Uniqlo to be the best spot to procure these. Their HEATTECH and AIRism inners are super packable, lightweight, easy to wash and dry on the go and give you that extra layer when you need it, while being discreet.


Having a packable jacket or a sweatshirt is also very handy. Patagonia Nano Puff jackets are a great throw on and go option. Patagonia and Uniqlo down jackets fit into a little pouch that they come with and can be stuffed into any corner of your suitcase. For an animal safari, it its recommended to wear clothing that covers your skin completely because you don’t want to be bitten by some insect you’ve never heard of while on a different continent.


Patagonia Nano Puff Women's Jacket


Uniqlo Packable Ultra Light Down Jacket

Pro Tip: Get the one with the hood. You'll thank me later ;)


Pajamas - I slip into my PJs the minute I get back to my room. Of course, you have your favorite PJs; I am a sucker for Hue because they’re soft cotton and hypoallergenic. One set of PJs for every 2-3 days works well for me.

Hue Capri Pyjama Pants


Underwear - This goes without saying - one set for each day and a couple of extras, just in case. Uniqlo AIRism underwear washes and dries very quickly and is great for longer trips.


An instagram worthy outfit. Heck, yes! You’re gonna want at least one great shot that you can boast about on instagram. No rules for this one!

My IG Outfit Inspiration ;)


Comfy shoes and a pair of flip flops - Don’t you love the trend of wearing trainers with literally everything? With my half broken ankles, I’m only too happy that sneakers are the norm and I don’t have to deal with heels anymore. Dust off those retro white sneakers and take them for a spin!

Cole Haan Generation ZERØGRAND


Comme des Garçons x Converse Low Top Sneakers


I don’t give flip flops too much credit, but they’re life savers when your lounging about or if it gets too hot. Havaianas are sleek and fun and easy to pack, but my preferred choice is Clarks. You can blame those terrible ankles again.

Havaianas Women's Top Cool Flip Flops Hollywood Rose 


Clarks Breeze Sea Sandals


It goes without saying that you’ll need a pair of fancy shoes to go with your instagrammable outfit. Again, go wild for this one!



Grooming - I always ALWAYS forget my toothbrush. So I’ve allocated one toothbrush as my travel companion. It occupies prime real estate in my faithful Tumi travel toiletry bag. An equally spacious but cheaper option is available at Muji. Being respectful of the environment, especially in a nature reserve, I use bamboo toothbrushes for travel. Get them at Anthropologie.


The Humble Co. Toothbrush


Other items that you’re likely to leave out:

Nail Clipper - you’re gonna need one in 2 weeks 

Tweezer - to trim those eyebrows so they’re always in shape

Tide Pen 

Travel Razor

Baby Powder - for instant underarm freshness and baby soft skin

Small Toilet Paper (optional, but useful in areas far away from urbanization)

Extra Hand Sanitizer




Shampoo and conditioner aliquots in reusable bottles. I love my Ikea bottles, which they don't make anymore :( . They’re big enough to hold enough for 10 days. Here's a substitute.


Small Dry Shampoo - Dove or Oribe work well for dark hair

Sunscreen Lotion - I use water based Clarins for my face (ugh, oily skin) and the thicker one for my body.

Insect Repellant (we’re gonna be in the wild for 3 days, remember?)

Toothpaste - easy to forget!

Deodorant - I’ve finally found a brand that’s dry and works like a charm. Schmidt’s Deo in Rose and Vanilla is great for that morning freshness. A great vegan alternative is the Takesumi Detox Charcoal Deodorant.

Travel perfume - Black Saffron by Byredo is heavenly, as is Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle. 

Socks - never ever forget socks. Learned the hard way with cold and chaffed feet.



There’s another entire bagful of contents coming up in the next blog post. Carry-on and keep watching this space. Get it? ;)