No matter how many day trips, weekend escapades, week-long adventures, or full-blown vacations I’ve endured in my day, I’ll never learn my lesson. In the 25th hour a night before a big travel day, you’ll likely find me unzipping an empty suitcase, eyeballing my closet for the first time in weeks, and pulling out my go-to packing list while scheming how I can make a miracle happen in mere minutes.
Sometimes, I dream of being a person like our associate editor (who made an entire Pinterest mood board to guide her wine country lookbook), but here’s my theory: Why fix what’s not broken? Whether a spontaneous trip just presented itself or you’re feeling personally victimized by your own tendency to procrastinate for a trip you’ve known about for months, I’ve got you. Here are 12 items I always pack when I’m in a pinch:
No travel situation is made complete without a pair of neutral sneaks, and these ones from Vionic check all of my boxes: comfy, cute, and easy to slide on and off when going through airport security. Perfect for a morning "hot girl walk" and the occasional vacation workout class alike, this pair is the intersection where style meets function.
Shoes take up a ton of space in a suitcase, so I make sure to select thoughtfully. I always opt for a pair of platform sandals, which have proven to be a fashionable saving grace on pool days, strolls around town, and casual dinners. These ones in particular are as comfortable as they are fashionable, which makes them an obvious choice when walking is on the agenda.
If you want to elevate your shoe game just a bit, opt for a heeled sandal that'll make comfort a priority even as you're turning your fit up a notch. Between sneakers, a platform sandal, and a heeled sandal, you'll be ready for any possible vacation adventure and, bonus, you'll look fab doing it.
If there's one item that I fail to consider above all others while panic packing, it's a pair of sunnies that'll protect my eyes and make any outfit an absolute vibe. Our fashion editor can't stop raving about this particular style, and when it comes to making an outfit a little more fashion-forward, I trust her recommendation with my life.
Slapping on a pair of statement earrings or a statement necklace is a sure way to easily elevate any outfit and look seamlessly put together. I've found that wearing earrings like these has been such a simple tactic to absolutely transforming an outfit from a casual one to a total moment with basically no effort at all. A slick bun, a white button-down, denim jeans, and these bad boys? You'll have people around you thinking to themselves, who is she?
If there's one item that's as much of a fashion statement as it is a bare necessity, it's a neutral crossbody bag to house all of my belongings outside of my go-to travel backpack. When it comes to choosing a handbag, I'll reach for something space-effective that'll add just a little bit of oomph and structure to my outfits. In particular, I usually go for bags that are middle-of-the-road that can go with a laid-back sundress just as easily as a little black dress for a night out on the town.
Especially if I'm traveling somewhere warm, I'm always reaching for some sort of swimsuit. My favorite hack in the swimsuit-packing game is to opt for one that can double as a bodysuit and a swimsuit. This two-for-one special helps me save room in my carry-on and is the perfect beach-to-night-out solution of my dreams.
If there's one trend that's absolutely dominated the internet over the past two years, it's a matching workout set, and we're (still) here for it. Wear it for that vacay-morning workout or pair it with a white button-down, a crossbody bag, statement sunnies, and white sneaks for a stylish airport getup.
A white, flowy sundress is my favorite "oh, this ole thing?" moment. If you're looking for one singular piece that'll make an effortless statement, look no further than a comfy sundress that is as stunning as it is easy to throw together. My favorite outfit is one with minimal pieces, and dresses in particular save you a ton of planning and space while helping you feel comfy and chic.
The little black dress is definitely a packing necessity. The LBD has saved me on numerous occasions—especially those times when I'm attending an upscale dinner or a night out on the town. Dress it up with heels or down with sneakers and this dress will earn an MVP-of-travel title in no time flat.
There's a reason the white button-down reigns supreme. Besides being absolutely classic, it's one of the most versatile pieces you can bring with you on vacation. Wear it on the plane if you catch a chill, bring it to the beach to serve as a chic cover up, or tuck it into jeans for a classic, refined look that'll make heads turn. If there's one packing secret weapon that has my heart, it's this.
It's not super glamorous, but it's tried-and-true for good reason. A comfy pair of denim that you actually want to wear is an absolute must when you're in a pinch and pressed for packing. Keep it casual with your travel sneaks and a white button-down or dress it up with a pair of heels and your swimsuit-as-a-bodysuit combo. They take up a decent amount of space in your luggage, but there's a 100% chance that you'll wear them.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Vionic, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.