Save. Spend. Splurge.

Minimalist Travel: What I packed for 3 days in New York City (Summer)

I am a fiend for packing light.

Whenever women (mostly) exclaim at me that it is NOT POSSIBLE to pack so light for a few days, or a week or whatever, I scoff at them because I have done it, and it is therefore possible for a style-fiend & shopaholic as myself to do so.

The trick is multi-use items, and understanding that even though you will try your best, you WILL come back with items you’ve purchased.

Your goal should be to travel without paying any extra baggage fees, AND to travel there as light as possible so you have room to buy whatever you want to bring back. Amirite? 😉

Traveling while it is hot is even easier — you can bring even LESS, no need for a jacket, boots, etc.

Also, this is unprecedented that I am traveling with outfits with an intention to look cute. I normally travel like a hobo and don’t give AF.


(Not pictured: My lovely Tilley Raffia hat. I forgot to put it in the shots but they are certainly going to be part of my outfit there and back. Oh and underwear. I am not putting in that I packed 3 pairs of underwear and am wearing a bra.)

Yes, that is really it.

Detailed Analysis & Breakdown


1 Long maxi dress with POCKETS that is loose and easy for me to stuff my face in and not look fat (#truth)

I thought about pants at first — why not wear jeans the whole time? But NYC is hot and humid in the summer, and jeans are thick and very comfortable.. but THICK. And they will make me feel very hot and uncomfortable.

I needed something loosey-goosey, comfortable and yet still covering my legs (so I can avoid applying so much sunscreen) while looking pretty.

Enter: The Maxi Dress.

I had a choice between this dress and a few others, but ultimately went with this one because it offers very good coverage overall (I like a sexy dress like anyone else, but I do not want to fuss with this #%(* when I am traveling and shopping and eating …)

I also didn’t want a heavy material, so this light chiffon-like fabric is perfect.. and the real deal clincher was that IT HAS POCKETS.



I added the belt so I can cinch it in and give the dress some interest (plus adjust the height of the hem by having the dress bunch up a little), and if I need to eat at night and this belt is cramping my style, I can just remove it.


These are my pajamas.

You scoff but .. yes. Silk ankle pants from Grana (review & 10% off here), and a loose graphic t-shirt. I can easily wear this out in a pinch if I have to, but this will be what I am sleeping in so that I am modestly covered for the sake of my other bunk mates..


The last outfit is my Airplane outfit It is just a plain grey tee, jeans and a belt that has no buckle on it. I love these jeans from AG that feel like pajamas and the belt is from Muse Belt on Etsy and has NO buckle or metal on it so I don’t need to remove it going through the metal detectors.


Comfortable, nude-coloured walking gladiator sandals that go with all the outfits above. I do plan on buying shoes, so I can wear the new ones if I have to.

A Olivia Burton Floral Rose Gold watch picked out by Little Bun & he insisted I bring a big ring, so.. there you go.


Look at all that room for purchases!! <3

The rest, I am wearing on myself as I travel, so there’s no packing necessarily speaking.

As for the rest of the packing:

  • The missing hat (I will pack it in the suitcase or wear it to the airport / back if it takes up too much room)
  • Polarized sunglasses (obviously)
  • A light travel wrap only for the plane, not for while I am getting to the airport and back because it’ll be super hot
  • Lightweight purse to carry liquids and all this stuff for easy check out (MUST be able to be fully zipped up!!)
  • Large wristlet/purse to hold my passport, cards, and money. I was going to bring my wristlet but I’ll have this lightweight Longchamp Neo Pliage, so I am good.
  • All my liquids of course, and things that aren’t liquids like makeup wipes instead of makeup remover (no liquid restriction here), and so on.

For the liquids it was pretty simple stuff:

..and “Other”

  • Laptop – I still need to log in and work at the airport while I wait for my flight (Srsly.) with the charger
  • iPod Touch – my LIFE! — with the cable and charger
  • Camera with spare batteries and the charging cable / connector (I can use the Apple one)
  • Bose headphones – uses the same charging cable as the camera — I cannot travel without these to block out noise & distractions (review on the Bose QuietComfort 35 here)
  • Kobo Glo for reading — I may leave this at home at the last minute though, the laptop & iPod touch should be enough
  • Notepad & pen
  • Moleskine Folio – to hold receipts, papers and small items while shopping. Very handy.

Why am I bringing so much?

Because the girls I am going with are childless and probably not used to waking up at 6 a.m. even on a weekend. I plan on bringing these things to keep me occupied until they’re awake, so I can quietly do some blogging or whatever while they’re sleeping 😛

Want more inspiration?


  • Suyen

    I love maxi dresses for summer travel! 🙂 I also love that hat! Where is it from? I’m looking for one but hats are not my friend.

  • cantaloupe

    Ooo, someone mentioned an umbrella and that is one of those things that I never pack, but once I was in another city and it just started pouring rain. Like buckets. I was soaked in the five minutes it took from the subway to the restaurant. It doesn’t rain in Abu Dhabi so I don’t even own an umbrella, but I suggest you check the weather, for sure, just in case! That was not a fun time and this time around I will definitely get a little one if it even hints at rain while I’m there.

  • Nina

    Is the post “What I Bought in New York” coming up soon? So much space left in the luggage… you gotta use it. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about the trip.

  • liteadventurer

    What detergent do you use to wash your clothes? Probably not an issue for a short 3 day trip, but I’m curious what you use for longer vacations.

  • Sense

    Oh so very interesting!

    I tend to bring things just-in-case, like if it rains, I have a teeny lightweight travel umbrella that goes with me everywhere (or, if I am going to be in the field, I bring my lightweight travel raincoat that folds up into nothing). I also tend to bring snacks and a water bottle with me everywhere. I get really thirsty and shaky if I don’t eat/drink constantly!

    On the other hand, I bring way fewer electronics so maybe it evens out?

    I’m going to Europe in September for a work conference, fieldwork, then am traveling around afterward with friends, then I go home to visit my parents. I somehow have to pack: 1. professional clothes, 2. going out at night party clothes, 3. clothes that can get dirty/wet & protect me from cold/rain, and 4. casual clothes for being a tourist. I’m finding it exceptionally difficult, particularly the shoes portion! They all require completely different wardrobes but I don’t want to lug that much around with me! Any tips?

    • Anne

      I had a similar trip in Switzerland in September a couple of years ago. For the conference, I packed a black dress and ballet flats (simple pumps if you prefer heels) and then dressed up them for night with some bling bling and red lipstick. Had a silk scarf for an alternative professional look as well. If hiking boots are protection enough, you could wear them on the flight and as tourist as well. Otherwise, pack nice sneakers for touristy things. Jeans and/or chinos, two t-shirts and a chambray shirt, thin raincoat, woollen shawl, cardigan.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That is a good call — I packed that umbrella. I don’t need to eat or drink constantly, and if I do, I just go to the nearest place and buy something.

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