Are you planning an exciting summer getaway but don’t want to stress about overpacking? Fret not!
Despite seeming simple and obvious, the summer bag can still be a big challenge for those looking to get the looks right without carrying excess luggage, or even for those people who choose to create different outfits with the same piece.
We’ve covered you with a list of must-have easy-to-pack summer essentials that will keep you chic and comfortable throughout your holiday.
It is only when the temperature rises that long dresses gain attention. Therefore, it is obvious that they would not be left out of our tips on how to pack your suitcase.
So, all you need to do is embrace the sun, sand, and sea with these versatile items that won’t take up too much space in your luggage. Here are my favourite key pieces for you to look stylish with only the essentials.
Flowy Maxi Dress
I am a big fan of maxi dresses! I am not going to lie. They are comfy, stylish, and quite affordable too.
And let’s be honest, a lightweight and breezy maxi dress is a holiday staple. It’s perfect for strolling along the beach, exploring the local markets, or even dressing up for dinner.
And because they are unique and super fresh pieces, they are great company for the summer trip! Mine is a crinkle maxi dress from the Cotton Traders Summer 2023 collection collaboration with Jasmine Harman.
Choose a style that can transition from day to night effortlessly. But if your style is classic and sophisticated, then the long dress with a summery print will be your must-have item this season.
And make sure it goes with the bag of your choice for this trip too.
And if you want to spice up the look, just add accessories like maxi necklaces and earrings, which are easy to carry in a small makeup pouch. You can’t go wrong with it.
Packable Sun Hat
I am not very keen on hats. But since the temperatures in the UK are higher than we expected in the last summers, I have started to consider wearing hats, caps, or any other accessories to protect my head.
It is important to shield yourself from the scorching sun with a trendy packable sun hat. Not only does it add a touch of glamour to your outfit, but it also protects your face from harmful UV rays.
It is also an excellent accessory to spice up your look and take amazing photos around Europe this summer.
Hats are versatile and please people who go to beaches, urban centres in big cities and even outdoor festivals. Choose your style, from cotton or completely braided, there is a multitude of options that can and should go into your next travel bag.
If you are going to the coast, it is always safe to pack one or two swimsuits that you can mix and match. Always opt for styles that can double as tops or pair bikini tops with shorts or skirts for a stylish beachside look.
The swimsuit/bodysuit is a super useful piece to optimise your suitcase. The piece that is super popular in the warmer seasons can be used on the beach, as a bathing suit, or as a blouse, to compose looks for your trip.
Thus, the piece can be combined with shorts, skirts, or pants. And of course, the swimsuit doesn’t have to be that dull piece, as the summer swimsuit/bodysuit models are getting more and more beautiful.
Look at these stylish pieces, both to rock the beach or pool and combine looks with other pieces of clothing for your trip.
If you are visiting a seaside city or a capital that demands a lot of walks, it is better to be prepared. From basic white trainers to fashionista sandals, pick your favourite ones that are easy to pack and comfortable to wear!
So why not invest in a pair of comfortable and versatile sandals or any comfortable shoes that you have in mind?
Look for neutral colours that can go with any outfit and choose a design suitable for both sightseeing and beach days.
Which are the most recommended shoes to wear on the beach? In my opinion, the best shoes that are perfect for setting the mood of the look are white sneakers for something comfier and more practical than stiletto heels for a sophisticated look at night, for example. Canvas lace-up pumps are another winner for me. They are comfortable and in a neutral colour that goes well with every outfit. It is important to remember that comfort must come first. Flip-flops will be my best option.
As many people think that flip flops are too simple to go out on the street and don’t give up a nice shoe on the foot, an excellent alternative is flat sandals.
Forget heels, they are not very suitable for the beach unless you are going to a specific event.
So, in my opinion, comfortable trainers are the staple footwear which helps to enhance the beauty of the feet even more. You can use them for a walk along the waterfront, a trip to the mall or even a visit to fairs and local events.
If the temperatures are going to be high, you need to remember to pack light wear. Clothing pieces such as a couple of breathable tops in light fabrics like cotton or linen are a great help.
Go for tank tops, sleeveless blouses, or off-the-shoulder styles that keep you cool while exploring your holiday destination
As mentioned before, the most important tip about clothes in a summer suitcase is the fabrics (which should be light) and the quantity.
If you are familiar with the summer in Europe, you know that evenings can be a bit cool. So, you will need a light cover-up. Something such as a denim jacket, for example.
This is my key piece to pack in when travelling to warmer countries in Europe. A stylish cover-up is a must for lounging by the pool or beach.
It’s not new that denim is indispensable in our tips on how to pack your suitcase, but in this shape, it brings even more freshness and comfort to hot weather outfits, all with the same versatility as always: it goes well with any composition!
Or you can choose a lightweight and flowy kimono or a beachy tunic that can also be worn over your swimsuit for a quick trip to the bar or restaurant.
These options are always the best decision to go for a versatile style in a summer look! For this time of year, you can combine it with shorts in the same colour or print and finish the look with a cropped top in neutral tones to balance the result.
It’s an easy and error-free composition that can accompany you during a day at the beach or a walk around the city.
For this to work, the tip is to make a list of the number of days you will be travelling and put together the looks you intend to wear on each occasion.
Remember to take clothes with neutral colours that are easy to combine and thus put together several looks.
Don’t forget to take fabrics that don’t tend to wrinkle a lot or that are easy to iron, if necessary.
After all, you’re on holiday and you don’t have to stress about ironing clothes.
One of the key pieces to have on your holiday is the perfect handbag, backpack or any suitable purse that you may want to take with you.
I try to go for a stylish backpack or crossbody purse that can be easily converted for different uses. This way, you’ll have a versatile bag for day trips and evenings out.
I am part of that team that thinks that two bags are more than enough to spend up to a month on a trip!
I do confess to preferring to carry a large backpack-type bag, which I take with us on the plane and on day trips, and a crossbody bag, which can be used to go out at night or when there is no need to carry a lot of stuff.
In addition to taking your classic travel bag, remember to also take a backpack, which is easy to carry and will allow you to take all your documents and other belongings to the beach or pool, without worrying about getting wet or even losing.
Handbags are also practical accessories that never let you down. It is always a good idea to take two models with you: one for the beach and the other for outings along the coast. The first should have a larger size, like the tote bag, which helps to carry the necessary items for the day.
The second may be smaller in size, with only room for the essentials, such as your wallet and makeup. It is worth betting on handheld models, which are easy to take anywhere.
Let’s talk about accessories. Don’t forget to pack your favourite pair of sunglasses to complete your summer look while protecting your eyes from the bright sun.
Sunglasses are my must-have in handbags for the summer. You can`t forget them! And let’s be honest, we are always will have our favourite pairs for the holiday, anyway.
But if you don’t have time to buy a new pair, why not look for a perfect pack in your holiday destination? Most of the summer destinations will have shops selling the best sunglasses – from affordable ones to très chic pairs.
They can be the great key piece in your summer bag, as they have the potential to transform one look into another completely different one.
Belts and scarves are true allies, as they are small and can be used in different ways and on different occasions, giving another tone and style to a dress, chemise, or shorts.
It’s the accessories that give grace to your summer looks. Varying the scarf or necklace, you can wear the same jacket several times it will look different in the photo.
For a quite well-packed summer bag, I chose two multipurpose scarves, two powerful necklaces, a belt, earrings, a watch, sunglasses, and an umbrella.
I do confess I am a bit obsessed with travel-sized items. I usually pop to Boosts at airports just to check if I forgot something. Just in case, you never know, you need a travel-sized toothpaste.
Travel-sized toiletries are your best friends when packing light. Invest in mini bottles for shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, and other essentials to avoid carrying bulky containers.
A basic makeup kit (it’s hot so you don’t need to take the whole wardrobe with you!), along with your most used cosmetics – shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser – will be better accommodated in one of those organizers, in addition to taking up less space in your luggage.
After all, the lightness of the suitcase and the look is the best option. And finally, we don’t even need to remind you that sunscreen is indispensable. It is the first item to put in your suitcase, together with your documents, and money, of course.
*I received the products complimentary from Cotton Traders for testing purposes