Clothes,Outfits,Summer Outfits

Tips For Packing Light – Carry-On Only Vacation Style

tips for packing light - wear you sundress tucked in as a shirt on pinterestingplans connecticut lifestyle blog

We recently took a short trip to Orlando and I wanted to share my tips for packing light with all of you. When you’re heading away for only a few days the last place you want to spend your time is in the airport.  Packing all your favorite vacation staples in a carry-on will minimize your time checking-in and help you avoid baggage claim.  Not only am I sharing my tips for packing light, but also my favorite vacation wear staples in collaboration with Nordstrom.  Nordstrom is my favorite place to shop for vacation wear because they have EVERYthing (from sunscreen to beach towels to bathing suits).  I utilized their curbside pick-up to quickly gather all the last minute items I wanted to take without having to drag my kids into the store.

Tips for Packing Light

 tips for packing light and bringing only a carry on on your next vacation on pinteresting plans lifestyle blog


  1. Minimize the shoes!    Wear your biggest pair (sneakers?) and pick another 1-2 you can style multiple ways.  I don’t mind re-wearing workout clothes to the hotel gym that I consider “dirty” from wearing on the plane ride down.  Btw – these Zella leggings you see above are AMAZING.
  2. Roll your clothing.   This saves space in your suitcase.
  3. Outfit plan with items that pair well together.   I saw a tip to take outfit mirror selfies as you pack to really get organized.   Organization is something I’m working on – so I’m not on that level yet, but pack items that can be reworn with other pieces.   NEUTRAL LOVERS like myself aren’t in a pinch with this tip.
  4. Pack 2 pairs of pants (or shorts).   Bottoms are easier to restyle than tops.
  5. DRESSES are your friend on vacation.  Not only do they take up less space in your suitcase, but there are lots of options that will take you from day to night by just switching a few accessories.

Essential Pieces To Pack For A Beach Vacation

A Sundress

Ok – so one of my best tips for packing light is to find a versatile dress you can rewear for different occasions.   I took this gorgeous purple off the shoulder dress with me to Orlando.   I would recommend sizing down in this dress (I usually wear XS or Small and I’m wearing XXS here).   Over the course of our short vacation I wore the dress 3 times!   It rolled up SO small and only needed a super quick steaming (or use the hotel room iron) when I took it out to wear it the first time.   The material does not wrinkle easily which is always a plus – but especially on a trip.

Here’s how I re-styled this Chelsea28 dress:

As a swimsuit cover-up…

tips for packing light - pinteresting plans lifestyle blogger Rachel Moore in purple off the shoulder sundress with espadrille wedge sandals

Swap shoes for a dinner look…

connecticut lifestyle blogger pinteresting plans shares tips for packing light and restyling a purple off the shoulder sundress

Tuck it in to wear it as a top…

tips for packing light - wear you sundress tucked in as a shirt on pinterestingplans connecticut lifestyle blog

You can PIN the image below if you have a SUMMER STYLE board so you can easily remember this tip 🙂

 tips for packing light - restyle your favorite sundress on pinteresting plans blog


Another dress you can take from day to night is this ruched tank dress.  It’s flattering on SO many body types and can be styled for so many occasions.   Last Spring I styled that dress 6 ways in another blog post with Nordstrom.

A Fabulous Beach Bag

TIPS FOR PACKING LIGHT and essential wardrobe pieces to pick for your next vacation


To keep your packing light use your beach bag to carry your “personal items” (ie: as a purse) on the flight down.   My Clare V sisal tote sold out SO quickly but Nordstrom is awesome about restocking popular items so make sure to keep checking for it.   In the meantime Nordstrom has a bunch of similar options you might like as well:

A Chambray Shirt

pinteresting plans blogger Rachel Moore layering a chambray shirt with denim shorts sharing tips for packing light


To me a chambray shirt is such a Summer staple.   It’s a great layering piece you can wear open over your swimsuit, tied around your waist, or even knotted at the bottom over a tank top.  I just updated to this Caslon chambray shirt in XS.   A shirt like this is a necessity.  I’ve had a similar piece in my closet for 7 years and find ways to wear it EVERY season.

Flow Tops

pinteresting plans blogger Rachel Moore in white peplum tee and jeans shorts sharing tips for packing light for vacation


My husband hates when I bust out my real talk but I am not “regular” on vacation.   Perhaps because we are not eating as healthy as usual – I don’t know – but I feel bloated.   I always pack a few flowy tops that don’t cling to my mid section.   Although I have a love affair with white tops, Nordstrom carries tons of bright and print options that would also be great for a trip.

Everyday Shorts

TIPS FOR PACKING LIGHT!! flowy tops and sisal tote on pinteresting plans blog

For me everyday shorts ALWAYS begins with a pair of denim cutoffs.    I got this pair of shorts (that run small) last season and they’re back but almost sold out.   This season I grabbed another pair of STS blue shorts because I’ve purchased their items in years prior and loved the quality.  I generally size up 1 in shorts to wear them lower on my hips, but I did that in the shorts I’m wearing and they still feel a bit snug.  If you want a slightly longer inseam, I ordered these Caslon denim shorts for the trip in my usual size and they were too big.   Otherwise they were a great option if you want something not too short.   Luckily Nordstrom has free shipping on returns and exchanges.

Versatile Sandals

Personally I love espadrille wedge sandals.  I think they look good with shorts or dresses and can take you from day to night on vacation.   If the Marc Fisher wedge sandals I’m wearing might not be in your budget Nordstrom carries great quality shoes at every price point!!    Here are a few that I love all under $100:

Truth be told I snuck in a few last minute items because I had a FOMO moment right before we left.    I tossed in my favorite sweatshirt “just in case” and ended up wearing it on the way home.   Several people stopped me at the airport to compliment my luggage.   I wish my kitchen counters were as durable as my marble luggage!!   Nordstrom sells several CalPak luggage sets that all stand out so no one will run off with your suitcase by mistake.   Has that happened to you in baggage claim?    It happened to me once!

tips for packing light - lifestyle blogger pinteresting plans with kids at airport with marble suitcase


If you want to see some pics and tips from our day at Magic Kingdom I just posted about it!

I am so grateful you are taking time to stop by!!   If you have tips for packing light or staple items I missed I’d love to hear from you below!   Or if you just want to say hi you can drop a comment too :).  It’s all appreciated.  Hope you’re able to catch some sunshine before Winter is over!

Thank you to Nordstrom and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post.

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  • Chris
    February 28, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I can’t believe how good that dress passes as a shirt, or how much that bag held for us walking around!

    • Rachel
      February 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      YES! I definitely pushed that bag to it’s limits. Thanks Chris 🙂

  • Holly
    February 28, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Is that a clothes steamer I see in the suitcase? I have been searching for one for travel. Are you happy with that one?

    • Rachel
      February 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      YES! I love it. I use it several days a week and its affordable :). per the reviews it spits water but only if you overfill it or tip it forward – otherwise an occasional splash that steams itself out. this is my second one because I left my first one in a hotel room in NYC :(. (that’s the exact one I have).

  • Ann Kraft
    March 1, 2018 at 1:11 am

    your posts are always great and relevant to so many. start my day with a dose of pintersting plans. Love the purple ruffle dress and just may need it! 😉 -but looks the the ruched tank dress from last year isn’t available in the gorgeous purple you have…Boo

    • Rachel
      March 2, 2018 at 1:23 am

      AW!!! I’m so happy to be apart of your day. Thank you so much Ann!!!!
      Hope you have a great weekend!!

  • Katheryne
    March 1, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    What color are the Adidas shoes you’re wearing? Are the comfortable?

    • Rachel
      March 2, 2018 at 1:19 am

      I have the rose gold Adidas. They are comfortable but they run big. I sized down a half size.
      Thanks Katheryne!

      • Katheryne
        March 2, 2018 at 1:31 am

        Thanks, Rachel! I was actually referring to the gray looking ones in the first picture where you’re standing next to the suitcase. I think you’re also wearing them in front of the airport. I think they’re also Adidas? Anyway, I love your blog and I just want to say that I’m never “regular” on vacation either! I think it’s vacation anxiety! Lol

        • Rachel
          March 2, 2018 at 2:40 am

          ha. OOPS!! sorry. brain fart. I have too many shoes 🙂
          my Adidas swift are gray with pink stripes. it just sold out last week but they’re sold out a bunch of times and Nordstrom has restocked them. So – fingers crossed 🙂

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