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The Best New York Packing List for Summer

The Best New York Packing List for Summer

When in doubt, vacation.  I was lucky enough to find this piece in Spain recently, and it’s basically my life motto. Tomorrow I’m leaving for New York and I couldn’t be more stressed. I have SOOO much work to do while I’m flying across the pond, school is right around the corner, and I’m torn between taking a carry-on (my go-to) or a medium-sized suitcase to smuggle all of my favorite American goodies. IT’S JUST SO HARD GUYS. So let’s start with the basics, shall we? I’ve curated the ultimate carry-on packing guide for a summer in New York so all of my international readers know exactly what to expect when they come about…. Rain. You should be expecting rain.

After doing 4 years of hard time in Boston for college, I became pretty aware of how lucky I was to grow up in California where there’s zero change of rain on an everyday basis.  You have one wardrobe that will last you year round. It just made sense. Packing for New York is not so easy, but there’s a simple break down on how you can bring everything you need in a carry-on, or smaller.

1) Rain Shell (not a jacket)

The East coast is hot as HELL during the summer because of the unforgiving humidity.  It’ll just rain and thunder randomly too, super casual.  To keep dry without melting under the humidity, try buying a wind and water resistant shell to wear over your normal clothing.  It should be super light and easily folded up and shoved into a medium-sized backpack or purse.


2) Sleeveless Vest

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This is CRITICAL for those odd mornings where you’re on your way to yoga, but you’re organs are cold… but it’s still hot? and you just can’t decide whether or not to wear something with sleeves. Dramatic, but definitely probable.  Vests are also a good way to keep your phone/valuables close to your person to avoid pickpockets in the subway!

3) Pants/Shorts you can wear on a fat day

Nothing kills a good mood faster than a good-ole fashion FAT DAY and when you’re on the road, it’s annoying to have to hit a shopping mall or boutique store to buy more things that you don’t need or have a budget for. Since you’re practicing minimalism anyways, leave the dream jeans at home for another time when you have more wardrobe flexibility and bring only the pieces that are the most faithful during dire times of need.

4) Shoes: Heels, Track Shoes, & Sandals

I hate wearing heels with the very core of my being; but with that being said, some posh NYC establishments will not allow you in without heels. Whomp. Bring a classic pair of black or nude heels for nights out, track shoes for walking around and sports, and sandals for rainy days or casual wear.  Bringing a large chunky pair of rain-boots will be difficult to carry during your travels AND they will smell hella bad after a while because of humidity. My advice? Bring a pair of non-leather sandals that can be worn while you’re running from bar to bar under the cover of a damp newspaper when it’s raining. Or stay in and watch Netflix instead.


5) 3 Day-to-night transition pieces

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There’s something about a good dress that can transition from day-to-night seamlessly without a second guess.  The perfect day dress or romper could be worn to a last-minute Tinder date or to lunch with your Mom, but it’s sure damn hard to find these flawless pieces! Invest a few D2N transition pieces so you won’t have to second guess your daily schedule when scheduling around meetings and dinner with your besties.

6) Packing Strategy

Opt-in for a military-inspired packing regiment which involves rolling clothing into tiny tacos and then playing Tetris with the different pieces. In the softest part of your carry-on suitcase, pack all of your malleable clothing (i.e. not shoes) so you can keep everything clean and away from your potentially dirty shoes.  

This will also maximize the amount of space you’ll have on the bigger side of the carry-on for bulky items.  When you start packing the bulky items, save your underwear, socks, and trinkets for the end to shove in between the empty cracks and crevices.

7. Keep your technology and important items in a backpack


I always try to avoid separating from my super important items and documents whenever possible. Someone could easily swipe your rolling luggage, but a backpack (that’s on your back) will always be 12 times harder to steal.  

Play it safe by keeping your most important documents and technology physically touching your skin when traveling through New York because you just never know what might happen.  

A SUPER safe travel hack would be to keep your phone in your bra for easy access, but keep in mind that you’re probably sweating and that sweat could lead to future water damage to your phone… I know this because it happened to me.

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