When packing, it’s important to consider a few factors before you start cramming everything from your closet into a suitcase. Before we begin, let’s start with the basics!

1. Where are you going?
Staying at a beach house? Headed to a cabin in the woods? Camping? Exploring a new city? Each of these destinations can dictate a lot about what to pack. What you wear to the beach is probably different than what you’d wear to a cabin in the woods—you don’t want to be caught wearing flip flops on a hike or getting beach sand in your hiking boots.

2. How long are you staying there?
Some of us are famous amongst family and friends for overpacking, while others of us are notoriously underprepared. If you’re headed somewhere just for the long weekend, a carry-on bag that will fit in the overhead bin of an airplane is probably more than enough space to fit your weekend wardrobe. Going for a longer trip? A larger bag may be required. Remember that if you’re traveling to a foreign destination, you’ll want to have room in your bag for souvenirs, so do not pack it to the brim.

3. Do you have an event to dress for while on your trip?
If so, try that outfit on first. Once you decide that you like the way it fits and how it’s accessorized, snap a photo of your look to reference day of the event. Pack that outfit first, including jewelry, bra, and shoes. It’s crucial that your outfit fits for the wedding or work event you’re headed to. Since there are so few plus-size shopping options, you don’t want to be stuck running to the nearest department store last-minute shopping for something to wear that same day. Have a dress that requires a strapless bra? Buy it and try it on with the planned outfit well before you leave—there’s nothing worse than rushed plus-size bra shopping.

Identify your luggage

Remember that while you are traveling, you will likely end up carrying this luggage a lot, even if you’re a luxury traveler. Try to avoid bringing multiple bags or a bag that you cannot manage on your own.

Pick a theme

For maximum versatility with your wardrobe while on the road, solidify your color palette before you start packing. If you are already thinking about all the pieces you’re so excited to wear, you’re well on your way to an over-packed bag. If you haven’t started thinking at all about your getaway looks, start pulling them out right now and take notice of what they have in common. If what they have in common is that they are all dresses or all tops, prioritize which dresses or tops you are most excited to wear. The goal is to create a color palette that includes the pieces you’re most looking forward to wearing and let the rest complement those items.

Make each piece serve double-duty

Headed to the beach but know it gets chilly at night? Pack only one neutral jacket or sweater that you can wear every night. Packing jeans? Grab one pair that you can either wear full-length or cuffed to serve as capris as well. Got a T-shirt? Make sure it’s neutral enough to go with every skirt or pant you’re packing. Shoes take up the most room when packing, so make sure you’re only packing versatile shoes that are comfortable enough to be in all day long. If you can’t think of more than one way to wear it, and you don’t have to wear it at an event, leave it at home!

Jewelry? Swimsuits? Load ’em up.

A great way to get the most out of your suitcase is to pack lots of accessory options—they can transform a look while taking up almost no space in your suitcase. But remember, this does NOT apply to shoes. Minimize your shoe options, and maximize your jewelry options. Instead of putting your delicate necklaces in the same pouch, lay them flat and fold them into your clothing—bonus points if you pair the necklace with the corresponding outfit. Swimsuits also generally fold flat, so bring a few options if you know you’re going to be jumping in the pool or wading into the ocean. Versatile summer scarves can be tied around the neck, on a bag, or as a headwrap—all while taking up very little precious suitcase real estate. Let your clothing be neutral and your accessories shine!

Take it from us.

We asked Dia Stylists for their travel tips and what they’ve learned works best when it comes to packing for a summer getaway.

  • Dia Stylist Ashby recommends: Make a Pinterest board for your vacation.
    “Not only does creating a Pinterest board make me even more excited about my upcoming trip (Look at those sandy beaches I have to look forward to!), but I find Pinterest to be a great organizational tool. I always create a Pinterest board before a trip and load it up with bloggers’ recommendations on places to eat, excursions, a link to where I’m staying, and what I’m looking forward to wearing. I like to shop before a vacation, so I like to pin each item that I bought for the trip to that same board. It helps me visually identify what the color palette of my wardrobe is, and helps me understand what excursions I have to pack for that I maybe haven’t considered yet.”
  • Dia Stylist Lauren recommends: Use airtight bags to maximize your space.
    “Packing with airtight bags not only helps your clothing stay clean from any products in your bag that may leak, but it helps you make the most of your space. Limited to a carry-on? It’s no problem when you’re packing with these space-saving bags.”
  • Dia Stylist Luz recommends: Versatile shoes are crucial.
    “When it comes to packing shoes, versatility is the name of the game. I love the metallic trend because they work well with any look and every color. I always pack a black pair of flats, white canvas sneakers, and a neutral wedge. These are my neutrals that I know will serve me well with any outfit in my bag.”

Looking forward to an upcoming trip? Let your Dia Stylist know so you can get a jump on packing with a vacation-ready Dia Style Box. Make sure to snap some photos while you’re there, and post them with the hashtag #mydiastyle. We love to see where our favorite pieces get to travel to!

Photographs by Shannon Greer/dia.com