Lessons in Packing Light: What to Pack for a Sunny Weekend Getaway

packing light marseille

One thing I’ve always struggled with when it comes to travel is packing light.

I just can’t seem to get it right.

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway, a 2 week vacay, or overnight excursion.

I inevitably end up either over or (even worse) under packing.

The magical sweet spot of packing light with just the right amount of items has consistently eluded me.

But this year (omg can you believe it’s going to be a year soon?!) of traveling here and there in Europe has filled me with inspiration – nay, determination – to master the art of packing light.

I’ve been doing my research and luckily DCT and I have a trip coming up to the city of Marseille in the South of France (which is a place that was on my 2017 travel bucket list – YES!) where I get to test out what I’ve learned, if anything, about how to pack lightly.

packing light marseille

Lessons in Packing Light

I’ve gone into detail before about how I create a travel wardrobe for any trips I take before, and while I still keep these tips in mind, I think some much needed updates are in order.

I came across some great tips and ideas on how to improve my packing abilities, but one that stuck with me was from Geneva at A Pair and A Spare with her 5,4,3,2,1 strategy.

You can read more about it here, but essentially it’s about packing in levels.

In Geneva’s example she’s packing 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses, 2 bags, etc. etc.

I love the concept as it involves 3 things that I’ve discovered are essential to packing light.


Packing items that can easily mix and match, dress up or down is the foundation to packing lighter.

Even though you’re bringing less it’ll feel like more if they’re versatile pieces that can styled in a variety of ways.


This piggybacks off of the idea of versatility, in that to ensure you have a versatile travel wardrobe you’ll want to coordinate your looks not only to one another but also to whatever events or activities you have planned while away.

And I know, you’re thinking – but Ashlei…what if I get there and realize what I’ve planned to wear won’t work or I don’t feel like wearing it?

I hear ya! Happens to me all the time. And that’s why having items that are versatile is so key.

If it turns out what you planned to wear isn’t going to work (or you simply don’t care for it), before running off to the store, try to work something else out with your other items – that’s what they’re there for.


This is where I always trip up. The reason I always end up bringing more than I should is because, well, options!

I crave having options, especially when it comes to my clothes. I panic at the thought of being somewhere and suddenly wishing I had packed that random top because it would’ve been PERFECT.

But more often than not, when I give into that thought, I don’t end up wearing any of the items I brought “just in case”.

They just take up space for any souvenirs I may want to bring home.

So while yes it’s hard, being super-duper-uber selective will save you in the end.

These 3 concepts work best when paired with my 3-step formula for building a versatile wardrobe: dissect your travel plans, build a basic wardrobe structure, and plan your outfits.

You can read that full post here: How to Build a Versatile Travel Wardrobe

Now onto what I’m actually packing for our weekend getaway.

packing light marseille

What’s in My Suitcase

I didn’t follow Geneva’s 5,4,3,2,1 strategy to a tee, as I thought that would actually be a bit much to bring for just a weekend.

So I tweaked it a bit, starting at level 4 rather than 5 and adjusted what items to bring based on my style.

This included…

FOUR Dresses

2 that are more casual for travel and touring around during the day, and 2 that can be dressed up for nights out.

THREE Tops + Shoes

2 basic tops that can easily be mixed and matched with bottoms and 1 jacket for layering. As for shoes, 2 are casual sandals for day and 1 a little dressier for night.

TWO Bottoms

1 solid color and 1 printed, both are long pants that can be dressed up or down for day or night.

ONE Bag + Pair of sunnies + Sun hat + Scarf

Pretty self explanatory, no need to overload with accessories for a weekend trip. Just picked the items I knew would go with any of my looks.

Is this still too much? I guess we’ll see come the weekend!

For now, I’d love to hear from you:

Do you tend to over or under pack?

Let’s chat about it in the comments.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing this post!