Packing Light for Spain

Guest post by Whitney Gronski-Buffa

You know what I’m bad at?


We’ve lived across the state from our families for almost seven (!) years now, and I’m finally getting good at packing a bag for a weekend of casual family hangs. I stick with bare essentials: Only the cosmetics and toiletries I absolutely need, only the clothes I’ll absolutely wear. No back-ups. No mid-party wardrobe changes.

I pull it off if I can remember my own rules, but I’d still say I’m pretty bad at packing for a few reasons. First, it gives me anxiety. I worry that I’ll forget something or wish I’d brought something else. Then, I actually do forget things, going and coming. Even though I’ve got a method, it somehow still drives me to madness.

Now we’re getting ready for a bigger trip, an eight-day vacation in Spain. We’re staying with friends in Madrid, taking a train up to Barcelona for a couple nights, then coming back to Madrid before flying out again.

For a minute, I kind of forgot my own rules. This is our first trip abroad. I figured I didn’t know how to pack for this. How am I supposed to dress myself for this? I don’t know! I got anxious.  

So what’s a girl to do? Panic pack a bunch of cocktail dresses and cutoffs, arrive ill-prepared and… panic anew?

No. If you’re like me — modern and resourceful, full of style and grace, not at all anxious — you’ll turn to Pinterest and start searching terms like “packing light” and “vacation capsule wardrobe.”

You’ll start finding these nicely curated mood boards and you’ll probably find one so oddly specific to your predicament that you’ll wonder if it really is true that everyone has a twin walking around out in the world. You’ll have a template for your suitcase. All you’ll need to do is fill in the blanks from your own closet.

If you’re really feelin’ some type of way about things, you’ll go reactivate your decade-old Polyvore account and make your own packing list with pictures that look a lot like clothes you already own.

You’ll soon remember that the rules are simple. Here they are…

Know the weather you’re flying into and pack clothes appropriate for that. Obviously.

Pick a base color and build from there. All your clothes will work together then. I tend to do a lot of black and work around that. Here I did black, navy, and olive, with a few touches of burgundy.

Have a drink and calm down.

Only pack what you need, plus maybe something a little nicer in case you… end up someplace nicer.

Don’t pack a bunch of accessories. Throw on a necklace and earrings before you leave. Don’t take them off until you get home. Barring misfortune, you won’t lose anything this way.

That’s it! Calm down, Nervous Nancy. Pack your bags and leave!

When I’m back, I’ll share another post about how we pulled off this trip on a pretty small budget. Spoiler alert: I’ll give partial credit to a man I loathe, but I’m not afraid to give credit where it’s due.

Te veo pronto!

Whitney Gronski-Buffa is a freelance reporter and stay-at-home mom. You can follow her on Twitter @whitneymae.


About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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2 Responses to Packing Light for Spain

  1. Nicole says:

    Dang… now I’m really curious about the man you loathe…

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