Women’s Ivy: A Packing List for Summer Travels (Plus Tips)

Memorial Day–and summer travels–are fast approaching. At one point in my life, I spent most summer weekends away from home. (This was when I lived in D.C.—I don’t miss that humidity!) As I refused to check a bag and did not use wheeled suitcases, creating the perfect packing list was a goal of mine. My packing list, while nowhere near as iconic as the one in Joan Didion’s White Album, covered every situation I found myself in. As I’ve received several requests for packing lists from Ivy Style commenters, I thought I’d share my summer list in today’s post–as well as a few tips for packing and what I wear when traveling.

The Fewer & Better Summer Packing List: Women’s Ivy Edition

LL Bean boat & tote

J. McLaughlin sailcloth duffle or old canvas duffle

Two striped shirts

A white tee

A sleeveless blouse

A polo shirt

White jeans


A knee-length skirt

A tennis skirt

A shift dress

A scarf

A cardigan

A pullover sweater

Baseball cap

Matching pajamas

A dressing gown

Espadrilles or Palm Beach Sandals

Tennis shoes

A good book

And in my toiletry bag:

Molton Brown shampoo and conditioner

Sea salt soap

Marvis toothpaste

Travel toothbrush

Hand sanitizer


Tinted chapstick

Wrinkle-release spray

What to Wear

When traveling, I try to dress neatly yet comfortably. My go-to outfit consists of a wrap, a button-up shirtchinos, and loafers. This allows me ease of movement while still looking presentable–plus, I can wear some of the items I’ll end up using during my trip!

Packing Tips

There are endless packing tip posts circulating the Internet, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are a few tips I always use when traveling:

Pick a color palette and stick with it. This allows you to minimize the number of shoes and accessories you’ll need to go with your outfits. (Eleanor Leftwich talks about this methodology on her Instagram account, and it’s worth a read!)

Lay out your outfits in advance, so that you know how you can mix and match the pieces you’re bringing with you. Snap photos of each outfit to provide you with ideas–we all have that “I don’t know what to wear!” moment, and this helps alleviate that anxiety.

Take a careful look at the activities you might participate in, and pack accordingly. Playing tennis? Double-check any clothing restrictions. On the water? Pack layers and shoes with non-marking soles. 

If you’re staying at a private house, don’t forget a hostess gift!

What are your must-pack items for summer travels? What packing tips have you picked up over the years? Please share in the comments.

6 Comments on "Women’s Ivy: A Packing List for Summer Travels (Plus Tips)"

  1. Your list looks like my every weekend. Including espadrilles. I have a rolling Hartman and a West Marine duffle.

    I skip the dressing gown, I’m more of an air dry person.

  2. Some very good tips here, regardless of how one might identify/present. Polish and sophistication in all things.

    Kind Regards,


  3. I’m really glad you mentioned white jeans along with all the other excellent suggestions. I rarely wear blue jeans, but my pair of ecru-white jeans is in frequent rotation. Versatility is key when traveling, and white jeans go with literally everything. (I steer clear of pairing them with WOCBDs — that’s a look that just begs for a wine or marinara stain.)
    It’s also interesting to note just how much of a travel wardrobe manages to squeeze into the rather minimal luggage you present here. I just received a generous birthday gift of some magnificent new luggage a couple of months ago, and I look forward to putting it to the test quite soon. My 27-year-old Hartmann leather carry-on looks every bit its age and I’ll never part with it, but it needs a vacation.
    Great article as always, terrific suggestions, thanks Sarah.

    • Thank you Nevada and thanks for the great post suggestion! Admittedly I generally use a large boat & tote (instead of the medium pictured here); however, at this point in its lifecycle it is extremely worn in and not photogenic 😂 but I am absolutely a two-bag maximum person.

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