Packing for a Road Trip to Southern California

This morning I leave for Southern California!Close friends invited my husband and me to come and stay with them in their lovely home in Los Angeles for a few days. We happily accepted and decided to make it a road trip.

Driving instead of flying means that I can and usually do bring a ridiculous amount of things from my closet. But I don’t want to pack foolishly. I want to only bring things I will actually wear – a novel idea for me – and ultimately learn how to pack properly and sensibly, reforming my over-packing ways.

I decided to coordinate my outfits ahead of time instead of guessing what goes with what when I get to my destination. Once I chose my outfits, displayed them on my bed, then photographed them with my phone. I think of it as Poylvore (on a budget). That way I can see the looks beforehand and know what outfits I have to choose from while on my trip.

My apologies in advance for these less than stellar photos. They would look much nicer had I used better lighting and my fancy camera.  Next time!

First things first: swim wear. I plan on swimming often on this trip and yes, even at my age I still wear a bikini.

I’m bringing two of them: one white and one black, both with Havianas, a cover up and my Panama hat.

Next I moved on to dressy looks for evening. I am bringing my blue leopard maxi dress….

and my black high-low which can be worn for a casual night….

or for day.

Here are a few looks with distressed boyfriend jeans. I’ve paired them with an Hermes-syle silk blouse and heeled sandals…

a white oxford with cognac accessories, also seen with the blue leopard dress and the high low dress…

and with a black blazer, white tee, long chain necklace and heeled sandals.

It might get hot so I am bringing shorts. My black shorts are coming along for sure. I’ll wear them with a simple white tee and cognac accessories…

and I am also bringing some neon on my trip with these Gap shorts in neon green.

I love this Calvin Klein blouse I wore in Napa last month. I am wearing it this time with olive green khakis and the trusty cognac accessories.

Another look with the olive khakis includes a leopard scarf and white tee.

In case I need to look extra hip I brought this outfit. Whether I will have the opportunity and/or the guts to wear this in public is debatable. Regardless, it’s coming with me. I vote this look most likely to stay in my suitcase.

Finally, the outfit I am wearing on the drive. Un-distressed boyfriend jeans, ballets, navy tee, cognac accessories and an off-white jean jacket.

I am bringing extra tee shirts, my Zara jacket and denim shorts, and some workout clothes too. I’ve got more than enough outfits to work with for this trip.

My nails are done up in a nude shade so that if and when it chips, it won’t be too obvious….

and my hair has been freshly cut and colored.

I am ready to hit the open road!

There is a chance I will be meeting a couple of my favorite bloggers who are probably your favorites, too. So excited.

I have not decided if I will blog during my trip but I will be Instagramming up a storm for sure. You can follow me here @therichlifeonabudget.
Have you ever taken photos of your outfits before you pack for a trip?
Or do you have a tip for all the over-packers out there, like yours truly?
Happy Friday!
xo, Adrienne



  1. July 19, 2013 / 4:30 am

    All your outfits look amazing, and what a great idea to make photos of them to remember what you want to wear together, thanks for this tip!
    Have a great time,
    kind regards,

  2. July 19, 2013 / 4:32 am

    Wo hoo, Road Trip!! It’s good you have a couple of jackets in the mix; it can get cool in the evenings in this neck of the woods. À bientot! 😉

  3. July 19, 2013 / 4:38 am

    You look ready to have an amazing time, Adrienne!! I really like each and every look you have put together here. Great Job…and Have fun!

  4. July 19, 2013 / 5:06 am

    Great post, you are ready to go girl! I wish I was going to San Diego during the time you will be in LA so we could meet up. As for packing, I lay everything out and then start subtracting by getting really tough with myself–are you REALLY going to be wearing that or do you just THINK you’ll wear it? I also remember to leave room in case I find something on the trip that I just can’t pass up. I make sure there’s room in the suitcase, I don’t bring a separate bag, that could be too tempting. Have a great time my dear! I hope you spend time in Santa Monica, it’s one of my favorite beaches in the world. XO, Jill

  5. July 19, 2013 / 5:25 am

    Great outfits for the trip. I admit to never having photographed or actually laid out outfits before packing. I sort of pack where everything goes with everything else – or at least I think it does.

  6. July 19, 2013 / 5:54 am

    These outfits are some of my favourites and I like the casual snapshots.
    I am curious about who you are meeting up with in SoCal. Looks like you will be dressed for any occasion that presents itself.
    Enjoy your road trip and look forward to your posts when you get back.

  7. July 19, 2013 / 6:05 am

    You have GOT to wear that Rolling Stones tee with something while there and I am in LOVE with your khaki pants. Have fun and look forward to hearing about your trip!!

  8. July 19, 2013 / 8:05 am

    I’ve been doing this packing trip of outfit photos for years. Saves me tons of time and ensures I don’t miss anything.

    I want you to wear that outfit with the Rolling Stones T-shirt! : )


  9. July 19, 2013 / 9:04 am

    Your choices are lovely, as always! And I’m totaly envious of your cognac repertoire. 😉

    The best advice I’ve heard as a cure to overpacking is to pull out everything you want to take with you… Then put HALF of it back. I’ve always been a really efficient packer in the sense that I can pack a TON of stuff in a tiny little space. However, this isn’t necessarily a great thing because it means I did tend to bring TONS of stuff. I was pretty proud of our recent three-day Fourth of July trip Hilton Head, SC – In addition to what we were wearing for the drive, I packed three outfits each for the boys and me, plus extra undies, our bathing suits, and a hoodie each in case of a cool beach evening. One pair of shoes per person. I’m pretty sure everything except the hoodies were worn! Food, on the other hand… We brought/acquired WAY more of that than we needed!! 😀

  10. July 19, 2013 / 10:55 am

    Would love you to come over and pack for me Adrienne. I take so many “just-in-case” that I never end up wearing.
    Have a wonderful and safe trip xx

  11. July 19, 2013 / 11:26 am

    Have a great time, Adrienne!
    I am one of the worst packers I think as I always have to weigh my suitcase before I leave as I am too close to paying extra luggage fees… 😉

    Annette | Lady of Style

  12. July 19, 2013 / 11:54 am

    Hi Adrienne! I’m having such fun catching up on my favorite blogs now that I’m home from Punta Cana. Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes by the way! Though I put lots of effort into packing I tend to over pack frequently. This last trip my luggage was lost for 3.5 days so I didn’t end up wearing a number of pieces that I packed. I think I’m going to start tracking my ‘uses’ with a list. Your trip to LA sounds like fun. I love LA and miss the days when I lived there. I’ll look forward to following on instagram.
    Have a wonderful getaway!
    xx, Heather @ Stylemindchic

  13. July 19, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    Great selection of outfits Adrienne – so jealous, wish I was going with you! Have a fab time.

  14. July 19, 2013 / 2:46 pm

    Adrienne a really great idea!! You are all set with so many cute options!

    Have a great time, you bikini babe!!

    2013 Designer Series & Giveaway

  15. July 19, 2013 / 3:53 pm

    Great post, I’m actually a bit of a packing nerd so this topic is a favourite of mine. I try to take the bare minimum necessary to cover every occasion and not bore me to death – one of the best tips I ever got was to choose a colour palette so you can mix and match everything. I tend to go for one including black because it’s so easy – on a recent trip I wore the same black dress to a conference, a formal dinner, a cocktail bar, a nightclub and a casual pub. But it can be done with any colours, especially if you’re into the colour blocking look. A huge scarf that can be also be worn as a shawl or sarong is always a winner too.

  16. July 19, 2013 / 4:35 pm

    I thought everybody coordinated their outfits before packing!!! I can’t imagine NOT doing that!! lolzzzzz You look fab! Have a great time 🙂

  17. July 19, 2013 / 7:16 pm

    Hello Adrienne

    I love how you have planned this trip and I love seeing your planned outfits.
    Have a glorious time and I look forward to hearing which bloggers you meet


  18. July 19, 2013 / 8:59 pm

    Have a great time in So Cal! We just did the Hollywood sign and drove around downtown and had delicious Thai food. Loved seeing how you put your outfits together. No, I’ve not planned like this before but I should try.

  19. July 19, 2013 / 9:44 pm

    These are my favorite kind of posts! Love seeing what your outfits are. So smart to lay them out like that. I do think that can really help not over-packing! I also have tried to photograph outfits and I have to say it is a challenge and they rarely look good. I think yours came out terrific. I love your cover-ups. I think you should wear the Stones shirt. If anyone can pull it off you can!

    Hope you have fun and excited to see what you did and who you met!


  20. July 20, 2013 / 3:51 am

    these are all wonderful outfits, I love Southern Cal

  21. July 20, 2013 / 4:26 am

    How many days are you going to be here in SoCal? It looks like you are bringing two weeks worth of clothing! It would be interesting to see a follow up post on what you actually wore, and if you came up with additional combinations once you got here. Have fun!

  22. July 20, 2013 / 7:01 am

    My suggestion is you allow yourself some genuine down time when you are away and stop thinking quite so much about always looking good and the impression you are making on other people (most of them strangers). I think this is something a woman suddenly finds she can do when she hits 50 or 55+, and it is SO LIBERATING. But I applaud the fact you are working from a limited palate. Just maybe limit the number of items and the level of fashion neurosis, and you will be, as we say in the UK, SORTED!

  23. July 20, 2013 / 8:34 am

    This is what I did for my last trip – laid everything out, planned the combinations and also saw how the pieces could be used more that once or twice. I’ve also learned to stick with comfortable and reliable clothes and leave the experimenting for when I’m at home.

    Have a fun trip! Can’t wait to see who you might meet up with!

  24. July 20, 2013 / 9:31 am

    I think you did a great job – everything looks wonderful! I’m also a natural over packer and only started to improve last year with the first step the same as you – by pre-planning my outfits instead of packing everything I liked and hoping for the best when I got there. Another thing which helps me is deciding on a 2-3 colour scheme with my third usually being the colour of my accessories. One factor that I’m forced to keep in mind is not to take anything that requires any kind of fuss or fiddling – I really dislike this at home so I know it’s never going to work on holiday when I just want to be enjoying myself, not worry about my clothes.
    I’d love to go on a road trip! Have a fantastic time!

  25. July 20, 2013 / 5:53 pm

    Hi Adrienne,

    You are traveling to L.A. at a good time…you are missing the really hot weather that we just had. It’s been really cool today actually, didn’t need the A/C. The way you displayed your outfits does look like Polyvore! Smart idea to take photos.

    Wondering who you will meet up with…have a great time!


  26. July 21, 2013 / 4:07 am

    I’m an overpacker too! so no tips from moi. Only thing is that I stck to my usual black theme! plus everything has to be able to go through a washer and dryer. I’ll never forget the firs time we went to the USA and my sister took clothes that couldn’t go through a dryer! my god what a drama it was with the hotel rooms always looking like a chinese laundry!

  27. July 21, 2013 / 6:50 pm

    Dearest Adrienne,
    Guess with over 1,500,000 miles in the air behind me, I’ve learned to minimize! Even when combining formal wear for banquets at congresses with casual business wear for work. Whatever I bought I always thought of its weight. Jeans are the worst items to pack, weight related! Shoes are bulk and can be heavy too, so there you have to be disciplined. You will learn how to do this if you have to. But by car, you are just fine the way you laid it out. Are we ALL laying things out on the bed or what? That’s what I do before a trip, laying it out on the guest bed so I have a complete oversight.
    Enjoy your trip and stay cool.

  28. July 21, 2013 / 10:17 pm

    Now that’s a fantastic idea! Considering how often I’m packing a suitcase I can’t believe I never thought about doing this! I will now 🙂

  29. July 22, 2013 / 5:08 am

    Wow, all the outfits look really nice.. I would like to steal your wardrobe 😉

  30. July 23, 2013 / 3:56 am

    Loving everything about this post…ESPECIALLY that leopard print makes an appearance more than once!

  31. July 23, 2013 / 10:05 am

    These outfits look fab! I am definitely an overpacker but have slowly been working on improving… Have a great trip!!

  32. July 23, 2013 / 5:17 pm

    Sounds and looks like you’re in for a fun vacation. I seriously appreciate your packing posts, I will definitely be using some of these wonderful ideas. Love how you mixed and matched before hand and did it all with mostly two pair of shoes, to me that is the key to packing lightly. Have a wonderful time!

  33. July 25, 2013 / 10:07 am

    Hopping over to meet you via Tamera’s post! I think I’m going to like it here.
    Look forward to getting to know you better. Big hug from Houston, Marsha

  34. July 26, 2013 / 2:24 pm

    Loving your summer looks – especially those brow ballets, the bag which goes along with them and your jeans! Have a great time in California! I am off to Bordeaux tomorrow and I hope I will come back with some interesting places to share to 🙂 xxx

  35. July 26, 2013 / 5:42 pm

    Well done. I did not overpack for Virginia, but did not wear three outfits. I could not repeat anything because it was so darn hot there that it would be gross to put them on again. Felt like an oven.

  36. July 27, 2013 / 8:01 pm

    I don’t take pictures, but I do use a chart to coordinate what I will wear each day. I used it with my clients to help keep them organized on trips. Now I use it for me! Have a fabulous weekend. I understand the weather is fabulous.

  37. July 28, 2013 / 4:39 am

    These are some great outfit! Have a fun time.

    blue hue wonderland

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