Models just might know a thing or two about how to best pack for a trip, considering they’re always jet-setting from one photo shoot to another — and they're always looking their best while doing it. From combatting overpacking (been there), to managing travel stress (done that), there’s a lot to learn from them. We’ve reached out to this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models to get the lowdown on all the packing hacks they’ve been hiding up their sleeves, plus their go-to travel uniforms (you’re welcome). Scroll through and be prepared to take notes.
What is your go-to travel uniform?
Olivia Culpo: When I travel it is so important to me to stay comfortable because sometimes I can be on a plane for 10 or 15 hours. I often wear leather leggings; Wolford and Paige make nice pairs. They are comfortable, and yet stylish. I usually pair them with a combat boot or any other comfortable boot. I currently love Louis Vuitton’s take on the combat boot; and there is nothing like the original Dr. Martens. Pairing it with an oversized sweater and a comfortable T-shirt is one of my favorite go-to looks. Sweaters have to feel soft and cozy. Marled makes a bunch of super soft cashmere sweaters. I love T-shirts from Re/Done (for a retro and cool-girl look), Unravel (sweaters that are sexy and ripped) and Are You Am I (perfect fit through the waist). A beanie is also great for traveling. Once you get off the plane, sometimes your hair can look flat, so a hat is perfect to hide that. Throw a statement leather jacket on top and you’ll look fashionable but can still comfortably nap on the plane. I just bought an Acne leather jacket, which I can easily dress up when I arrive and it goes with everything!
To buy: Sweater, mytheresa.com, $493 (originally $986). Leather jacket, net-a-porter.com, $2,700. Combat boots, nordstrom.com, $135. Bag, nordstrom.com, $195. Leather leggings, net-a-porter.com, $405. Beanie, nordstrom.com, $36.
Paige Spiranac: I always admire those who can look fashionable while traveling, but I’m just not one of those people. I always choose comfort first, so my go-to outfit is sweatpants and a matching sweatshirt from Pink. It’s cute but also super comfortable.
Haley Kalil: I am all about comfort. Sitting on a plane for 17 hours is hard enough, so why be uncomfortable if you don’t have to be? My go-to travel uniform is a T-shirt from Target, yoga pants with pockets from Lululemon or Nike, some super-comfy sneakers, and a sweater tied around my waist that doubles as a blanket for the plane. You can find ways to make this comfortable outfit cute by playing with fun patterns or colors.
Myla Dalbesio: My plane outfit is always the same: a pair of Lululemon leggings, a comfy T-shirt (I am partial to one of my vintage band tees), a pair of sneakers (usually Nike Flyknits, so I can use them as running shoes while I’m there), and a black knit sweater I bought at H&M years ago. It’s partially distressed, so I never worry about it getting more destroyed in transit, and it’s warm but not too hot. I bring a Patagonia down jacket with me as well. If I get cold I can throw it on, otherwise it folds inside itself and turns into a pillow! The key to the right plane outfit is having lightweight layers. You never know how hot or cold it will be on the flight.
What's your biggest packing flaw?
Olivia: I tend to overpack. I’m really trying to get better at it. When I am packing to leave, I am pretty good at making sure everything is folded and organized. But on the trip and once I get back home, everything is just kind of in a giant pile in the suitcase.
Paige: I overpack because I always want to be prepared. It’s not that bad of a flaw, but it can definitely get a little excessive. Since I know I have a problem with this, I’ll try to pack what is necessary first, then if I’m not sure about something, I’ll leave it at home. I remind myself that, worst case scenario, I can always go shopping.
Haley: I swear the saying “everything but the kitchen sink” was written about my packing style. I take anything and everything I think I’ll use. I fear that I will forget something important and be unable to buy it wherever I’m headed to. I am always extremely organized when I am flying to my destination, but on the way back… my suitcase looks like a bomb went off. Nothing is folded, every pocket of the bag is stuffed with something. It’s definitely a packing style I need to work on.
Myla: I am very organized in my packing, but once I get there it’s like my suitcase explodes! It ends up in a mess, and I can never keep track of where anything is. The best thing I can do to combat this is to unpack when I arrive and put stuff away in hotel closets and drawers (but usually I’m too lazy).
Best travel tip you've learned?
Olivia: Pack things that can go together! By sticking to one “theme” while packing, it helps to make all of your outfits so versatile. I usually stick to a black, white, and, of course, red color palette. That way everything I wear can match and I can make so many different outfits out of all the articles I bring with me. I don’t really mix metals, so I also stick to one metal, i.e. a belt buckle, purse hardware, jewelry, or shoes.
Paige: Traveling is almost always stressful, so I try to be as laid-back as possible. Be mentally prepared for flight delays, crying babies, and hotel rooms that aren’t ready in time. Letting go of the stress is easier said than done, but it really does make a difference in improving your overall travel experience.
Haley: The best travel tip I’ve learned was, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Whenever you are traveling, there will always be something that doesn’t go exactly as planned. But don’t sweat it! You are in a new environment. Unplanned things are bound to happen. Just try to enjoy everything that goes along with traveling to a new place. Go with the flow, because you never know where it might take you or what amazing adventures await.
Myla: Go with the flow and never carry your passport on you — keep it locked up in your hotel room. Packing-wise, I have a second set of all my toiletries and bathroom products that I always keep packed in a special bag. That way I can just throw it in my suitcase and know I have everything covered without having to pack and unpack it every time. And of course, the best traveling tips my dad ever taught me: Never check a bag (unless you absolutely have to), and always find your gate first once you get through security. You never know how far away it will be.