Costa Rica 10 Day Sustainable Lifestyle

How to Pack for a 10 Day Vacation

Any size vacation is a good one, but we think 10 days makes for the perfect trip. It’s long enough that you can get a feel for a place and really sink into a relaxed mindset, yet short enough that it doesn’t disrupt your normal life too much. But packing for a 10-dayer can be somewhat of a challenge if you don’t think it through. Luckily, we’re here to help you out with the perfect week-and-a-half packing list that ticks all your boxes — comfy, versatile and stylish to boot. We carefully selected the items on the list to make sure you can fit them all in your lightweight, expandable carry-on backpack for fewer worries and more freedom to relax and enjoy your vacation.

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Packing for Versatility

OK, maybe this one’s obvious, but a 10 day trip is not the time to go squeezing all your clothes into your teeny-tiny carry-on. This length of trip calls for the big (or at least medium) guns. But even your standard large suitcase isn’t big enough for 10 sets of pajamas, 10 different dinner outfits and 10 looks for sightseeing. That’s why it’s key to pack for versatility, choosing pieces that can do it all and not get wrinkly in the process.

  • Start with a Versatile Travel Outfit — Let’s start with the basics: what you’re going to wear while you’re getting there. Your travel outfit is the perfect starting point because it can serve as an outfit (or two), but you don’t want to pack it in your luggage because then you’ll have to dig it out after you’ve neatly packed all your stuff. Choose a pair of stylish yet comfortable pants and shoes that you can also wear sightseeing and a top that can double as a base layer or undershirt when styling layered looks.
  • Choose the Right Fabrics — The fabrics you choose are clutch because they can be the differentiator between an item you can wear once and an item you wear three times. For example, you want to pack casual T-shirts for men that are made with technical fabrics (we love cotton-poly), which help wick away moisture and control odors, so you get multiple wears out of them. Denim, cotton, lightweight wool and linen are all tried-and-true traveling fabrics that will stay fresh and neat looking.
  • Pack Multipurpose Garments — Except for your undies, every item that gets folded and packed should work with multiple different outfits so you can pack less but still look put-together. Keep it basic and versatile with solid-colored tops and pants that are easy to style with everything else in your suitcase. With that being said, don’t forget to pack your specialty stuff that makes your wardrobe your wardrobe, such as your tall tees and your favorite statement watch. 
  • Keep It Minimal — With a 10-day trip, your biggest enemy is overpacking. There’s probably a lot on the agenda, but this length of trip doesn’t really justify more than one large suitcase. Space is crucial! But remember that you will probably take a lot of photos of yourself while you’re seeing all the sights, so make each look unique!
  • Go for a “Color Family” — Consider sticking to one main color family to avoid having to pack multiple pairs of shoes, belts and accessories. For example, if you opt for a black-gray scheme, you’ll only have to pack one pair of black dress shoes, casual shoes or sandals rather than brown or navy options to go with your brown looks. 
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Source: StepPro/

What to Pack

Of course, what you pack depends entirely on what you’ll be doing once you arrive at your destination. Your packing list will look a lot different if you’ve got work meetings, happy hour and dinner than it will if your itinerary consists of full days at the theme park or beach. In general, we’ve found that the following formulas work well for most 10 day trips.

  • 10 Daytime Looks — Daytime looks include clothes for sightseeing, brunch, museums, the beach, business meetings or whatever else you plan to do after you wake up and get going. By 10 looks, we don’t mean 10 separate outfits. We mean a few key pieces that can be styled together easily, such as a couple of pairs of jeans, board shorts or joggers and five to seven versatile shirts you can mix and match with your bottoms. There are now lots of board shorts for men that transition between the beach and boardwalk flawlessly. Obviously, you’ll need to choose shirts that don’t get too stinky, because you’ll have to wear a couple of them more than once. Here’s a sample packing list for your daytime looks:
  • Two pairs of jeans or shorts
  • One pair of nice leggings or joggers
  • Five to eight pairs of T-shirts, tank tops or long-sleeved shirts 
  • One versatile jacket (a denim jacket goes with everything)
  • One pair of sneakers
  • One pair of sandals or boots, depending on the weather
  • Two to five swimsuits, depending on your plans
  • Two swim cover-ups
  • 10+ pairs of socks and underwear
  • Five to Seven Evening Looks — Your evening looks include everything you’d wear for dinner, shows, concerts or parties. Chances are, you’ll spend a couple of your nights relaxing in your hotel room or traveling, so nicer outfits may not be necessary for every single night. How formal or casual you go will depend a lot on where you plan on spending your evenings but, ideally, you won’t have to get too dressed up more than once or twice. Here’s a great 10-day packing list that accounts for a few nights of evening fun:
  • For the Guys:
    • One pair of suit pants
    • One pair of nice jeans
    • One formal button-up
    • Two nice shirts, such as casual button-ups
    • Two casual evening-appropriate T-shirts, sweaters, etc.
    • A pair of dress shoes
    • A nicer jacket
    • Dress socks
    • A tie if necessary
    • Versatile accessories
  • For the Gals:
    • One pair of nice jeans
    • One pair of nice pants or a skirt
    • Two or three casual evening-appropriate tops
    • Two dresses, jumpsuits or rompers
    • One pair of dressy heels or sandals
    • A dressier jacket
    • Versatile accessories
  • 3 Pairs of Pajamas — Getting a good night’s rest is key to enjoying your time when you travel, so don’t forget to pack your favorite jammies. We recommend packing a shorts set and a pants set, because you never know how hot or cold it might be in your hotel room. Again, pay attention to fabrics, here! Anything moisture-wicking and breathable is good because it’ll stay fresh even if you sweat a lot at night.
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Source: Monkey Business Images/
Study after study has shown that getting away from the daily grind is good for mental and physical health. Some research even shows that getting out of Dodge reduces your risk of depression, stress and negative emotions. So don’t let the packing process drag you into a negative state! A little bit of thought and planning will go a long way to ensuring that you have the time of your life and soak up all those great benefits.