August finds us planning, dreaming about or actually taking that last summer vacation. It’s a huge travel month with beach weeks both exotic and local, destination weddings, mission trips and hometown visits with family and friends. I know people imminently traveling in all of the previous categories bound for destinations like Hawaii, St. John, Vermont, Boston, even Kenya (Molly Buckley)! For those of you who need a refresher in packing please refer back to my two-part column titled Traveling In Style with tips for smart and healthy packing.     
Recently a Chapelboro Insider wrote with a specific question regarding her pending trip to paradise that I wanted to address in a column. 
Trisha Peterson in Texas writes, “I am traveling to Hawaii in August and don’t want to over-pack. Any ideas on how to coordinate my wardrobe so that I don’t have to take too much?” 
Dear Trisha….Thanks for being a Chapelboro Insider and for your question. First, a big congrats on your upcoming exotic escape for your husband’s 50th birthday. (They’ve aptly deemed this trip Hawaii 5-0!) Second, could you find a way to pack me in one of your suitcases? (I’m not kidding.) 
Seriously, packing has become a major concern and burden for the air traveling populace. You want to have everything you need upon arrival at your destination, but you have to limit your luggage or pay the price. Even checking one bag on most airlines is an expensive proposition at $25. Add a second bag and you’re hit with another $30. Ouch! And what if your suitcase is over the weight limit of 50 pounds? Slap on yet another fee to the tune of $100. Check with your airline for specific charges on checked luggage and in-flight amenities before you head to the airport so that you’re not blind-sided when you arrive curb-side.
Back to Trisha’s question. Fortunately traveling to a warm weather destination means lightweight fabrics and less bulk. Packing light should be a breeze. Making a check-list is a great place to start  (sunglasses, sunscreen, swimming suit, etc.) and helps prevent forgetting the essentials. Here are some additional ideas to get you started.
·         Coordinate a color theme that will allow you to mix and match tops and bottoms creating multiple outfits. That will also help you narrow down your choices for accessories like shoes and jewelry. 
·         Limit your shoes. (If I could only take my own advice!) Shoes are bulky and take up precious suitcase space. Three pairs would be ideal (an absolute coup if I could ever pull that off): favorite flip flops, a neutral wedge or sandal that matches most of your dressier outfits and a pair of sporty shoes for outdoor adventures.
·         Most likely you will be living in your bathing suit and cover-up. Instead of taking five suits pick one or two of your favorites in similar styles, so you don’t have crazy opposing tan lines. Make sure you have one with more coverage for water sport activities like surfing or snorkeling.  Many cover-ups can double as active wear for day or evening wear at night. A sarong around the waist by the pool can be dressed up with a halter top, jewelry and wedges at night for dinner.
·         Even though paradise is hot be prepared for an evening breeze with a pashmina wrap or cardigan. To prevent cabin freeze and extra in-flight costs, pack either one in your carry-on to double as a blanket/pillow.
·         A crushable, packable hat not only protects you from the elements but hides bad hair days.
·         Lay everything you’ve selected out on your bed or floor and assess. Create outfits and make sure you don’t have multiples of too many items. Do your very best to edit before you start placing things in the suitcase. Take a trial size of Woolite so you can do hand washing if needed.
·         Trisha, since you’re a wife and mom it usually falls on your plate to keep both the hub and baby sated. (No surprise there, right?!) Pack snacks! Baggies of mixed nuts, crackers, goldfish plus a few cheese sticks and granola bars travel pretty well and should help curb the munchies.
·         Remember, you can always buy or borrow any essentials you may have forgotten once you arrive. That’s when the local discount store or hotel front desk staff comes in handy. If you’re in a more remote location, then hopefully you can borrow needed items from your traveling companions. That’s what friends and family are for!
I hope this quick packing review gets you and other readers motivated and keeps your luggage light. Look for more Q&A in future Fashion Plate columns. 
Send a postcard from paradise and Happy 50th to Gordon! Aloha….
These are my packing tips for paradise. Share yours below!