What to Pack for an Empty Nester Getaway + Where I’m Going on Mine!

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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woman in blue dress holding her hair and yellow flowers

Are your upcoming travel plans all set? Bob and I just finalized ours for this spring, summer, and fall! (And we’re already thinking about where to go in 2020. Recommendations, please!) 🙂 Now that we know where we’re going and when this year, it’s time to think about what I want to take, and where I need to fill in the gaps when it comes to my travel wardrobe! Somehow, the anticipation of and preparation for a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself, amirite?

Today, I’m sharing where we’re headed, and I’m telling you how I plan my travel wardrobe and where I shop for travel clothes. I’ve also linked up with my precious friend, Suzanne Stavert, from Adventures of Empty Nesters, to give you access to her (professional) advice about how to pack for an empty nester getaway. (Er, I’m thinking she doesn’t overpack like your friend Suzy. Just sayin’.)

Throughout this post, click on any of the pink links or images for more information.

Where I’m Going This Summer

Probably just like you, our getaways this year are a combination of travels to spend time with family and a bigger trip just for the two of us. We also have a condo in Sanibel Island, Florida, so we’ll get down there a few times too!

Short Getaways

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while now, you know that our youngest daughter, Becca, graduates this summer. She’s our musical theater girl, and we’re thrilled that she’s already booked two contracts for the upcoming months! This summer, she’ll be performing with Peach State Summer Theatre in Valdosta, Georgia in Mamma Mia (my favorite musical!) and Crazy for You. When that contract ends in late July, she’ll be off to Colorado to perform with Creede Repertory Theatre in their Young Audience Outreach Tour through mid-November. I’ll be helping her drive and settle in/move out in both of those spots, and I’m so looking forward to sharing that time with her. Bob and I will also be traveling to see her perform. I will try my best not to embarrass her by singing and dancing along during Mamma Mia. #pleasepray

Big Trip

Our big trip this summer is a 10-day cruise from Venice to Athens! We cruise about once a year with Oceania, and this year we’re heading to Greece, with a few other places (like Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Ephesus, Turkey) thrown in for good measure! Two years ago, we did the Italian Riviera and the Amalfi Coast, and we absolutely loved it, so we’re excited to head back to that part of the world. #fulfillingsuzysmammamiadreams

Condo Time

Bob and I own a couple of condos at Casa Ybel Resort on Sanibel Island, Florida. I talked a little bit about our love for Sanibel in this post if you’re interested in learning more. (And if you just need some sunshine and joy in your life, you can check out Casa Ybel’s live beach cam here!) We’ll spend some time there in May, in June with our son and his wife, and again in the fall.

 So that’s where we’re headed! I’d love to know where you’re going. Leave me a comment and let me know, okay? And please share your recommendations for where we should head in 2020!

Packing Tips from a Professional Traveler

woman standing in a park

Ohhh, I have a treat for you today!!! I first noticed Suzanne Stavert and her blog AdventuresofEmptyNesters.com way back before I started Empty Nest Blessed. I was looking for a name for my blog, and I ran across her website. We became good friends on Instagram and got to know each other by commenting on each other’s blog posts! Finally, we decided to “meet” via Facetime, and now we talk and text frequently. We’re kindred spirits in terms of our belief that the empty nest season of life should be one of joy, learning, and, well, adventure!

Kind of a high-strung and anxious person traveler (!) myself, I find Suzanne’s sense of adventure inspirational! Whenever Bob and I travel to a new place, we always consult her website before we make plans. We put our destination into the search bar on her homepage, and up pops whatever she’s written about that spot (including recommendations on accommodations, restaurants, and activities)! If you’re not following her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, you need to be! Better yet, subscribe to her emails, so you don’t miss a minute of her travels.

When I decided to write this post, I reached out to Suzanne and asked her for advice on packing for an empty nester getaway. After talking about it, she and I decided it would be fun to write complementary posts on this topic! Yesterday, Suzanne published a post that featured her empty nester packing tips. It’s a must-read, y’all! (She’s a true pro!)

How I Pack

While not an expert like my friend, Suzanne, my best travel packing tip is to decide on a color scheme. Here’s what I do:

  • One darker color to anchor your wardrobe (like black or navy)
  • One neutral color (like gray, khaki, or chambray)
  • White
  • An accent color (like pink or red)

waist up of woman holding her sleeve and looking to the side

waist down of woman holding yellow flowers and skirt

woman from lips down to waist wearing blue with heart necklace

woman in blue dress holding yellow flowers and looking to the side

Chambray Dress | Must-Have Easy-to-Walk in Wedges (Click here to see all 8 color choices!!!)  | Floating Heart Necklace (use code EmptyNestBlessed10 for 10% off your order) | CZ stud earrings | Yellow Silk Tulips

 

I always pack chambray when I travel in the summer because it’s such a great neutral! This dress is lightweight and versatile, and it’s going everywhere with me this summer! I’ve styled it here with my favorite wedges, but I’ll also wear it with flip-flops and slip on tennies when we travel.

Where to Shop

If you’re going to a beachy spot this summer, there are lots of swimsuit recommendations in my Best Bathing Suits for Beach Babes Over Fifty post, so be sure to refer back to it. 🙂

Here are my favorite brands for travel wear (in alphabetical order):

Chico’s

Chico’s Travelers Collection features white and sand as their neutrals and coral or turquoise as their pops of color. You’ll want to check out the entire collection, but here are a few of my very faves.

 

No discussion of travel clothes would be complete without mentioning Chico’s new line of no-stain, no-iron shirts, and white shorts, crops, and jeans! This linen chambray shirt is a versatile choice no matter where you’re headed, and this white one is a travel must-have in my book.

 

J.Crew Factory

If you’ve been following Empty Nest Blessed for a while now, you know I’m a fan of J.Crew Factory! The big secret? Their styles are often dupes of the ones found at J.Crew —for a lot less. (Note: the quality isn’t always quite as good, but I’ve never had a problem.)

A few specifics styles to check out at J.Crew Factory:

J.Jill

J.Jill’s travel collection is cleverly called the Wearever Collection, and it features styles in misses, petite, womens, and tall. Yay! Their collection fits in perfectly with how I pack (a dark color, a neutral color, white, and an accent color). This year, their featured dark is black, their neutral is khaki, and their pop of color is a pretty, muted shade of pink. Here are a few examples of some wonderful styles in their collection.

  • This wrinkle-free button-back top, available in black, white, or floral. (I love the high side vents!)
  • These black flat-front full-leg pants will go with everything, and they look so comfy! They have an elasticized waist which is good for me because my clothes are always tight by the end of all my trips. (Hahaha!)
  • This smocked-waist maxi dress is perfect if you’re traveling to Europe and visiting churches. (Knees and shoulders need to be covered.)
  • Headed somewhere where the temps cool down at night? This side-overlay tunic is so versatile!
  • J.Jill even offers accessories that will work with your travel collection, like this under $30 pair of Rose Quartz drop earrings.

Lou & Grey

Known for their super-soft and comfy clothing, this is a line you’ll want to check out if you’re not familiar with them yet.

 

Talbots

I think Talbots’ Getaway Collection is so good this year! They offer styles in regular, petite, plus, and plus petite.

  • This light-weight striped henley dress will keep you cool.
  • A cardigan is a must-have when you’re traveling, and this girlfriend cardigan is such a flattering cut. It comes in multiple colors.
  • A pique jacket is an excellent structured alternative to a cardigan.

 

Shoes

Shoes are a huge deal when you travel! I want mine to be comfy and cute. (But, of course!) My best advice is to start shopping now, while the selection is good and you have time to make sure you love what you’ve selected. All of my favorite shoes for travel have three things in common: They fit well, have flexible soles, and they have cushy insoles. Here are some of my favorite brands (in alphabetical order):

Allbirds (I just bought these for our trip this summer.)

Clark’s

Merrell

Naturalizer

Rockport

Sam Edelman

Tom’s

Ugg

Vans

Also, check out this selection of comfortable shoes for women at Nordstrom.

Packing Helps

I’m a packing cube convert! (They really do keep you organized, and you can fit more in your bag.) You can snag this 5-pack of Calpak packing cubes at Nordstrom for just under $50, but I prefer this 7-pack that I linked on the Empty Nest Blessed Amazon page for around $20. I think the quality is better and the 7-pack includes a laundry bag, a bra/underwear bag, and a zippered bag too.

 

For items like toothpaste and razors, try Amazon’s travel toiletries section. (Also a good place to find hanging toiletry bags and leakproof refillable containers.

 

For travel-sized toiletries of higher-end beauty products, try Nordstrom’s travel size beauty section. I just bought my favorite primer in the mini size.

Happy travels, empty nesters! Leave me a comment and let me know where you’re headed and also your packing recommendations, okay?

Blessings,

Photos by Megan Weaver.

P.S. Be sure to pin this post on Pinterest so you can refer back to it! (And please follow Empty Nest Blessed on Pinterest while you’re at it!)

 

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Suzy Mighell

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10 Comments

  1. Hi Suzy!
    What a great post! So complete! I feel like I’ll be more prepared than ever the next trip I take. I am going to check out the links to the clothing suggestions so I can stock up on travel clothes.
    Happy and safe travels,
    Robben

    1. Well Robben, you are just so sweet! Thank you! I’m so glad you found it helpful. Where are you headed? I hope my post made you even more excited! xoxo Suzy

  2. I absolutely loved this post! Not because you and I partnered on it, but because it is filled to the brim with fantastic ideas! Thank you for making life easier! I need to reread a couple of times because there is so much to take in!

    1. Suzanne,
      You are a true friend (with a great name!). The best friends are those who inspire us to push ourselves and be adventurous- and that’s what you do for me! Thank you for partnering with me. You are just the best! xoxo Suzy

  3. Thanks for the great tips and information! My husband and I are like you, we have several trips on the books for spring, summer and fall. Some are short and some are longer. We are doing Ireland for 2 weeks in July! The link to the packing cubes is SO appreciated! I, too, am a huge packing cube advocate, but I’ve had a hard time finding a set like this. I will be placing an order!

    The empty nest life is the best!

    1. LeAna,
      Ooooh, Ireland sounds just fantastic! I’m so glad you’re going! Yay for packing cubes!!! I’m thrilled that you liked this post. xoxo Suzy

    1. Shannon,
      I’m so glad you liked it and found it helpful! I’m dying to know where you’re going!!! I shopped with all my links this week as I was putting together this post! (Like, I had to warn Bob that the Visa bill was going to be high! Hahaha!)
      Thanks so much for being such a faithful friend and reader of Empty Nest Blessed!
      xoxo
      Suzy

  4. Hi Suzy –
    Thanks for this packing/travel post. And the introduction to Suzanne. I’m now following her too!!
    I clicked on a number of your suggestions and I plan to review and purchase a few things. We are empty nesters but we are taking the kids (college students) to London and Paris for 2 weeks at beginning of July. Of course I’m stressing about clothes and packing!! LOL.
    Thanks again. I really enjoy your posts.
    Deborah

    1. Deborah,
      That sounds like so much fun! I’ve been wanting to go to London too – maybe 2020! I hope you love it so much and enjoy your big kids. That may be a challenging trip to pack for because the weather can be somewhat dicey in the UK and you never know when a rain shower will pop up. I’m so glad you followed Suzanne and I’m thrilled that you found this post helpful! Thanks so much for reading and leaving me a comment! xoxo Suzy

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