In this feature, InStyle’s Style Director Melissa Rubini (pictured below) documents what she packed and what she wore for her trip to Big Sur, Calif.

I stayed at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur for an upcoming fashion shoot. A trip is an opportunity to reinvent your style. A new place can inspire you and give you freedom to be a different character. It can be a whole different look or as small as trying a different color of lipstick—make it spontaneous and fun! My favorite piece to wear while on vacation is a bikini, always. People laugh at me because I am always ready to go for a swim. It is my way of relaxing; and also a way to keep connected to my home country, Brazil. If I am remotely close to the beach, I will wear a bikini underneath my clothes.

Courtesy Photo

Even though I travel a lot, I don’t change my beauty regimen. If you keep switching, your skin acts up. I repack my toiletries bag every time I travel because I use the same products at home. I have a morning routine and an evening routine—it’s easy to follow, and this way I don’t bring a bunch of stuff that I wouldn’t use. Organic Pharmacy is my favorite beauty brand. I always, always use it.

When I pack, I think about an overall theme and feeling, like a combo between two trends: tailoring and fall tones, natural and high tech prints, or minimalist and sexy. That way, I have a thread to go about when choosing pieces from my wardrobe; everything should be part of this feeling (that has to do with the place I am going to). Then I put some outfits together just to make sure I have a few go to mixes and don’t wake up jet-legged and wear something completely crazy.

The important part is to enjoy the process, not just the destination.

Courtesy Photo

Click through the gallery to see and shop what Melissa packed for her trip to Big Sur.

—Coordinated by InStyle’s Senior Market Editor/Digital Correspondent Dana Avidan-Cohn