What to Pack In One Carry-On Bag? Easy Outfit Ideas For A Summer Trip

Here is an easy way to pack for a long weekend summer trip. I went on a girls-only 4 day summer trip with a few of my best friends, and I knew we were going to keep it casual but I still wanted to look nice. I was thrilled I managed to pack only what I needed, and in the end I felt I still had plenty of options. I know many women my age who are traveling this summer, and they have asked me what to pack and for travel outfit ideas. So I thought I would share my travel packing list and show you what I wore on my trip.

Easy Outfit Ideas: The Inspiration

Here’s how I came up with these easy outfit ideas. I did not have much time to prepare for the trip and I was stressing out the day before I had to leave (I know this is common). In the nick of time an online article about traveling and stress caught my eye. The headline read something to the effect that it is often more stressful to plan a trip it than when you are actually there. This was exactly what I needed to see right then!

It was written by a therapist and one bullet point she made jumped right out at me! She recommended to pack light (very light, as light as you can) to relieve your stress when it comes to traveling. I then realized it is true.  If I had too much stuff to carry it would not help me enjoy my trip. I knew I would feel so much freer with less baggage and with less decisions to make about what to wear each day. So I got strategic.


* indicates required

What To Pack? Keep It Light!

Inspired to pack light, I went to my big pile of apparel I had initially planned to bring on the trip, and carefully edited and selected as few pieces as possible. It was only 4 days, right? So why would I need 6 pairs of pants? Yes, I knew I would need some layers because I get cold in air conditioning and I would be flying on a plane. I also kept in mind we may change for the evening and I would need more than 4 outfits. So I decided to work my travel wardrobe around blue jeans, basic black and white, and add on a few colorful prints. So my point is to pick one color theme and work around that.

I also know I usually bring too many pairs of shoes and they are heavy and take up a lot of room in my bag! So I limited it to only the most comfortable shoes so I could walk miles. Since I am well over 40, I don’t wear shorts anymore. So denim jeans and lightweight print pants were all I packed, along with one casual jersey maxi sundress. Everything was machine washable, too. 

Chic Travel Packing List

travel packing list summer outfit ideas

Here’s what I brought. Some of the items on this list I wore on the plane, so the rest all fit easily into a flight regulation size carry on bag.

Blue Denim Jeans
• White Denim Jeans
• Cotton Print Pants

• White T-shirt
• Black T-shirt
• Black Tank
• Leopard Print T-shirt

Jackets and Wraps
• Black Jacket
• White Long Sleeve Shirt

• Print Maxi Dress

• White Sneakers
• Black Slide Sneakers
• Black Wedge Sandals

What to Pack 3 black bags travel fountainof30

• Regulation Size Carry On Bag
• Black Lightweight Packable Tote Bag
• Black Cross-body Mini-bag

Jewelry & Accessories
• Gold chain necklace (I never took off)
• Gold metallic belt

Underwear & Sleepwear
• 3 bras
• 6 pairs of panties
• Pajamas

Makeup and Toiletries
Try to pack it all in one large makeup bag. All hotels (and most homes) have blow dryers so you should not have to bring one. I brought a super mini travel flat iron, and all mini lotions, and only one makeup compact with eye shadows and blush.

5 Easy Outfit Ideas

Easy Outfit Idea blue jeans whit t-shirt black jacket and bag

1. Day 1: Thursday: Plane outfit and casual dinner.

Blue Denim Jeans, White T-shirt, Black Jacket, White Sneakers, Gold Belt, Black Cross-body Mini-bag

what to pack print pants wheit shirt black slide sneakers fountainof30

2. Day 2: Friday: Sightseeing Outfit

Cotton Print Pants, Black Tank, White Shirt for cover up, Gold Belt, Black Slide Sneakers, Black Cross-body Mini-bag

outfit ideas leopard t-shirt white jeans fountainof30

3. Day 3: Saturday Morning: Flea Market and Brunch

White Denim Jeans, Leopard Print T-shirt, Black Slide Sneakers, Black Tote Bag for flea market finds!

what to pack summer trip print maxi dress

4. Day 3: Saturday Evening: Dinner and a Show.

Print Maxi Dress, Black Jacket, Black Wedge Sandals, Black Cross-body Mini-bag

easy outfit ideas to pack summer white shirt denim jeans

5. Day 4: Sunday  Brunch and Plane Travel Home

Repeat Blue Denim Jeans, Black Tank, White Shirt, Black Wedge Sandals, Gold Belt, Black Cross-body Mini-bag

As you can see, I wore multiple outfits that looked very different from each other. So if I had to stay another day, I never wore the black tank and black jacket together. And I never wore the dress with the white shirt, or the blue jeans with the leopard top. You get the idea. I even had some extra outfits to wear!

You can use this basic formula for what to pack on a 4 day trip, and add on the few things you need. You may need to bring swimwear or athleticwear, depending on what you plan to do on your summer trip. But you can wear the maxi dress as a coverup and bring the tote to the pool or beach. Or you can pack an athleticwear black tank as a layering piece and wear the sneakers to go hiking or running. Then just pack a pair of leggings and socks.

You don’t need to stress out about what to pack if you keep it light. Just think, you’ll have less laundry to do when you get home too!

Shop What To Pack Here:

Are you planning a long weekend trip? Pack light!


Carol Calacci

You may also like to read How To Style A Chic Beach Outfit High Low and How To Style A Comfortable and Chic Airport Outfit for Less.

This post contains affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Are you following Fountain Of 30 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? We’ve got lots going on, so join in on the fun! Subscribe to our newsletter here.  You don’t want to miss a post and promise not to bug you to death. We also started a Facebook Group called Growing Younger for women to discuss everything good and bad about being over 40. Additionally Lauren now hosts a podcast called Beauty is a Bitch! and a weekly Instagram Live series called “Growing Younger Gabfest with Lauren.”

Please pin!

what to pack summer outfits fountainof30

travel packing outfit ideas fountainof30

7 thoughts on “What to Pack In One Carry-On Bag? Easy Outfit Ideas For A Summer Trip”

    • You can never have too many perfect white tees in my opinion. In fact, when I find one I love, I buy a few and store them! Then I toss out the grungy ones at the end of the summer. Voila. You always have a perfect white tee on hand!

  1. I took two trips this summer, one planned (vacation), the other short notice (memorial service). I definitely over-packed for the vacation and I think I did pretty well for the trip to the memorial service, mostly because it was 2 1/2 days. I love your color combinations and different styling. I’m definitely going to have to remember this for my next trip. Great tips!

  2. This is a great article! Very helpful and I love the photos of what you packed as well as the layouts for each day/eve. Excellent….thanks!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.