Q: What should I pack for a 12-day cruise? I always seem to take more than I need on vacations.
A: A few ground rules for any trip: Start packing a few days ahead. Stick to double-duty pieces. Keep colors neutral. Bring knits—they save space and don't wrinkle. A friend and I just got back from a resort, and we came up with any woman's ideal summer travel checklist:
Three cotton camisoles (black, white, gray) for layering
Cardigan or hoodie
Zip-up jacket and lounge pants
A pair of Bermuda shorts
Long dress for dinners; short jersey day dress
Swimsuit and sarong (or an oversize men's white shirt to be worn as a cover-up)
Straw hat (you might find one at a local market) or canvas fisherman's hat
Flip-flops, wedge sandals, and sneakers
Straw beach bag for day, small purse for night
A scarf to use around neck or as a head wrap or belt
Going in style: Take a sporty minidress that can double as a top or cover-up (American Apparel, $32); a cashmere cardigan (J.Crew, $158) for chilly mornings or nights; a tote for pool or port (J.Crew, $68); and metallic flip-flops (Coach, $88).