My Desert Weekend Getaway Packing Guide

Photographed by Toby Kaufmann.
Update: This story was originally published on March 22, 2016.

For some reason, packing for a short weekend getaway seems harder than packing for a multi-week trip. Though the weekend is only two days long, it's often loaded with all kinds of activities, which means multiple outfit changes and dress codes to adhere to. I never want to be the person dragging around a giant suitcase stuffed with more clothing and accessories than I could possibly wear in the 48 hours between late Friday and early Monday. But on more trips than I can count, I was that girl. And though I prefer to live the lie that I’m completely carefree and entirely relaxed when it comes to everything — packing included — my suitcase has always belied that impression.

The moment I booked a recent weekend work trip to Palm Springs, I knew there’d be a packing situation. Palm Springs offers a rich backdrop: bright colors; slightly outdated, borderline-tacky hotel lobbies; vintage cars; drinks with umbrellas and maraschino cherries; desert drives under blue skies and mountains. It also has an all-over-the-place climate that’s boiling hot during the day and bone-chilling at night. Plus, as Refinery29's styling director, I've learned that, regardless of the occasion (or location), having outfits that look good can make you feel good, and that every activity, be it on-set business, lounging, or exploring, can seem like it requires its own look. So how would I prepare for so many adventures — so many photo opps — in so little time?

After the initial exciting prospect of two days of sun and sand (and a quick scan of my overflowing closet), I decided to challenge myself. I would bring just one bag, a carry-on with just enough room for a few cool outfits, and a handful of pieces that could make the transitions from plane to photoshoots to pool. Here’s how I did it, and how you can, too.

Special thanks to The Saguaro Palm Springs.