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Vacation wardrobes can be tough for a budget fashionista; when you’ve planned a fun trip that you’re excited about, you want to rock the trip out in style. Classic “resort wear” is usually gorgeous but really expensive, and when you aren’t exactly sure what the plans are or what weather awaits you, trying to prepare yourself for any situation can cost a pretty penny. But your suitcase can be packed stylishly but inexpensively. Avoid overpacking and overspending with these 7 tips.
1. Choose a bag that can go from beach to dinner. An easy way to save money and suitcase space is to choose one bag that’ll work for day or night, beach or bar. We came across plenty of beach bags that are stylish and versatile enough to be a wear-everywhere bag; you’ll also save yourself the headache of deciding which bag to wear if you only bring one. Hint: This same tip can be applied to footwear, though you’ll probably need to switch between at least two pairs for day and night.
2. By the same token, look for a beach coverup that does double duty as a sundress. Beach coverups are essential, and they can take your beach look from so-so to super stylish quite easily. But what good is an adorable slip-on coverup if the only place you can wear it is to the sand -- where you'll most likely take it off, anyway? That's why you should plan to wear your coverup as nighttime dress later in the vacation.
3. Invest in one great swimsuit. I allow myself to buy one figure-flattering, confidence-boosting bathing suit each year, instead of grabbing multiple cheap suits that don't look so great. If you invest in one, you can get something that you feel amazing in -- and you can certainly add last year's swimsuits to your suitcase, too. But one great suit will leave you with something fabulous to put on during your trip -- and enough money left over to spend while you're there!
4. Get friendly with accessories. Necklaces, bracelets, scarves, bags, and shoes are what will take your attire from drab to fab -- and cheaply. Your white tank can look completely different under a chunky turquoise necklace versus with a bright striped scarf resting over your shoulders. Choose accessories you love, and make them the focal points of each outfit. That way no one will notice when you pull out your jean skirt or black sundress for the third or fourth time that week.
5. Grab a few cheap cotton dresses. A couple of easy cotton sundresses (or even a maxi dress or two) feel festive to put on and make an ideal basis for your vacation attire. Choose a bright color, a patterned option, and always a basic on in either black or neutral, and dress them up and down by switching out your accessories and shoes. (And if you’re not a dress person, simple pants and a few cotton tanks work the same way).
6. Make room for a warm sweater or jacket. A soft, cozy sweater can be worn on the plane, over your shoulders at dinner, and even to bed when your hotel's AC is turned to freezing. For this, don't even think about buying something new – shop right in your closet for your favorite cardigan or casual jacket from fall or winter months.
7. Check the weather! Never leave for a trip without checking what the local weather predictions are. Just because you're headed to a beach doesn't mean you'll find sunny skies when you get there -- and think of all the money you'll waste if you can't even wear half the cute clothes you pack, and instead end up shopping for overpriced sweatshirts in some touristy gift shop. Instead, plan ahead, prepare for the elements, and pack smartly. Your wallet -- and your peace of mind -- will thank you.