how to avoid over-shopping for your next vacation

how to avoid over-shopping for vacation

Have you ever found yourself acquiring new clothes for a trip, only to find you don't wear them in your everyday life? Sometimes it's necessary, but I'm becoming increasingly convinced that most trips can be taken using what we already have in our closets. 

I challenged myself to stick to this philosophy for our recent trip to Disneyworld. Living in the northwest, my wardrobe is geared for cooler weather. Disneyworld is in hot and humid Florida, but I managed to avoid buying a bunch of new items for the trip. 

Here's my strategy: 

1. Write down as much of a schedule as you can for your upcoming trip

Fortunately for me, my awesome mother-in-law had our trip really well organized, so I had a good idea of what we'd be doing each day. I took 15 minutes before I packed to sit down and plan outfits that would work for each day. This was a huge help in avoiding overpacking. Even if you don't have each day of your trip planned out, you can still write down a general idea of what you might wear based on where you're going. 

2. Imagine the clothes you already own in a different context

It's so fun buying new things, but I think a huge part of that thrill is that we want to mix up our everyday lives. Keep in mind as you pack that you'll be in a new place with new surroundings and you may feel entirely different wearing clothes you already own. For example, instead of buying a new dress to wear to our Luau, I packed my "holiday party" dress (see in pics below). It felt completely different wearing this dress on the beach with sandals as opposed to wearing it at a Christmas dinner with high heels.

Let the new experiences of your trip be the "new" in your life instead of delegating that expectation to your clothes. 

3. If you do need something for the trip, ask yourself if you'll use it when you come home

I knew I wanted a good pair of walking shoes (which proved true since I logged over 50 miles during our trip!), but I really thought about that purchase before committing. I chose a neutral color (all black, see picture below) that I knew I would wear in my everyday life as well. This proved to be a really great buy as I wear these shoes often, no regrets! 

I was tempted to buy new shorts for this trip, but when I really thought it through I knew that I wouldn't wear them much when I came home. It's cold most of the year here, and in summer I like wearing dresses more often than shorts. I ended up packing my one old pair of shorts for the trip and only wore them once, my leggings and skinny jeans proved to do the job just fine! 

4. Mix & Match

When you're planning out the outfits you'll wear, pack items that you can swap out into different combinations. You don't need entirely different pieces each day of your vacation! I combined basic tops with jeans and leggings during the trip and never ran out of options. Plus, you can wear the same outfit with a different hairstyle to keep things fresh! I wore my black maxi from Pact (see picture below) a couple different times and it felt entirely different wearing it with my hair down versus rocking a top knot and accessories. 

5. Limit your bag size

I fit almost everything I wore for the week in this duffle from Meridian Lee and it really made me evaluate what I did and didn't need to pack. Unless you're going somewhere cold that requires lots of bulky layers, try to challenge yourself and see if you can stick to a carry on. Plus it makes travel so much easier when you don't have to check a bag! 


These pieces proved to be real MVP's during our Disney days:

  This Symbology dress recently appeared on my   holiday dress guide   and it was the perfect outfit for our tropical Luau.

This Symbology dress recently appeared on my holiday dress guide and it was the perfect outfit for our tropical Luau.

 This bikini by Swoon was the only swimsuit I used the whole week. Since it's reversible, I had several different ways to wear it. ( full review )

This bikini by Swoon was the only swimsuit I used the whole week. Since it's reversible, I had several different ways to wear it. (full review)

 A good pair of skinny jeans is essential in my daily life and proved just as handy even in hot weather!

A good pair of skinny jeans is essential in my daily life and proved just as handy even in hot weather!

 This black maxi dress from  Pact  was my favorite outfit to wear in the parks. It was so effortless and comfortable in the warmth, but easy to layer when I came home to chilly weather!

This black maxi dress from Pact was my favorite outfit to wear in the parks. It was so effortless and comfortable in the warmth, but easy to layer when I came home to chilly weather!

 A basic white tee is always staple, on vacation or at home.  This one from Everlane  is what I'm wearing. 

A basic white tee is always staple, on vacation or at home. This one from Everlane is what I'm wearing. 

 I wore this jumpsuit several times and was so comfortable! See full images and review  here . 

I wore this jumpsuit several times and was so comfortable! See full images and review here

 I took my white button down out of the office and had some fun with it for the week... (I may have spilled my drink all over it right after this photo was taken.) 

I took my white button down out of the office and had some fun with it for the week... (I may have spilled my drink all over it right after this photo was taken.) 

 Sudara pants were my loungewear of choice during mornings and evenings at our hotel. See a full review of them  here . 

Sudara pants were my loungewear of choice during mornings and evenings at our hotel. See a full review of them here

 Finally, I found the perfect outfit to travel in. We had a long day of flying, but I was so comfortable wearing my  Girlfriend Collective leggings ,  Allbirds shoes ,  Krochet Kids tee  and secondhand jacket I've had for a while. My  Sseko purse  is always a go-to and all my outfits for the week fit perfectly in this duffle from  Meridian Lee . 

Finally, I found the perfect outfit to travel in. We had a long day of flying, but I was so comfortable wearing my Girlfriend Collective leggings, Allbirds shoes, Krochet Kids tee and secondhand jacket I've had for a while. My Sseko purse is always a go-to and all my outfits for the week fit perfectly in this duffle from Meridian Lee


I hope this was helpful to you as you plan your next trip. I'd love to hear your wardrobe travel tips, let me know how you stay stylish without going overboard on purchases. 

Bon voyage!