In my last post, I wrote about how closet “cheat sheets” can help us to better manage our wardrobes. One of the applications I mentioned for this type of wardrobe aid related to packing, and a number of readers shared that they use a cheat sheet or checklist when they travel. Since I am preparing for a trip later this week, I decided to focus today’s post on the topic of packing for travel.
Although I used to travel quite frequently, my trips have been few and far between in recent years. In fact, the last trip I took was the one I wrote about in “On Packing, Travel, and Wardrobe Gaps” back in December. Sadly, I found myself woefully unprepared for the cold weather I encountered during my trip to the Lake Tahoe area to visit family. Although the primary topic of my December post centered on wardrobe gaps, I received many helpful packing tips from readers, many of whom are seasoned travelers.
In today’s post, I share some of the best packing and traveling suggestions shared by readers in response to both my December post and last week’s post (see the comments sections of both posts for more details). I also include some useful links from other bloggers related to preparing for travel, packing lightly, and capsule wardrobes for a variety of different trips. I know I’ll be referring to all of these pointers as I get ready for my upcoming trip.
Travel Tips from Readers
As I mentioned, readers had a wealth of wisdom to share regarding packing for travel. Included below are some of the best of these tips, with attribution to the commenters.
- Bette suggested that we pick just one neutral (i.e. black, navy, grey, or brown) and build a travel wardrobe around that color. Shoes should either match or coordinate with the core neutral – no packing both brown and black shoes! She also recommended keeping a packed toiletry kit ready to go filled with travel-sized versions of cosmetics and hair products, and taking both a robe and slippers on all trips for warmth and foot protection.
- Rebecca creates vision boards in Polyvore to plan her travel wardrobes (see her Paris vision board here) and favors packing items that can be worn multiple ways, including scarves. Instead of packing bulky sweaters for cold weather, she takes advantage of layering to keep warm. She re-wears the pieces of her travel capsule and focuses more on her travel activities than on what she’s wearing.
- Dottie has been using travel checklists since 1985 and has versions for business trips, casual vacations, and big city vacations. She plans her travel wardrobe weeks in advance and never checks bags. Her travel capsule items are in a few basic colors and can easily be layered and mixed and matched. She always does laundry during her travels, even hand-washing garments in her hotel room when necessary.
- Deby first consults the Weather Channel for the forecast for her destination and then makes a detailed list of everything she might possibly need for the activities of her trip. She mostly packs knit separates, which can be easily rolled or folded into the small rolling suitcase which she uses for most of her trips.
- FrugalFashionista travels a lot for her work and has homes in two different countries with varied climates. She always uses a packing checklist and packs minimally for all of her trips. She dresses up on the plane and packs layers to use for warmth as needed, including merino tights, a lightweight woolen shawl, and a down jacket. Her greatest challenge when packing is having variety in her footwear.
- When selecting her travel wardrobe, Tonya always chooses a limited number of colors and considers her activities. She makes sure to pack very warm lounge clothes, as most of the places she stays in are not well heated. She tends to take the same types of trips and finds herself bringing very similar outfit options. That said, when she books a trip, she considers what else she might need so she can have plenty of time to shop for those things in advance.
- Before Pauline leaves on a trip, she creates and photographs outfits using her travel capsule pieces and stores those photos for easy reference on her smart phone. This makes it very simple for her to get dressed each day and minimizes stress. Her biggest challenge relates to packing make-up and toiletry items (I can relate…).
- Maharani refers to a very helpful travel site called Roadwarriorette for packing tips and a travel checklist template (see here for suggestions on business travel and seasonal packing lists). She suggests creating travel checklists well in advance of one’s travels and tweaking these lists as needed for each trip. She always checks her luggage and believes that if more people did so, boarding and deplaning an airplane would be much easier for passengers.
- Joanna keeps running lists for vacation planning on her phone and computer. Her trips are often to the same places, so at the end of each trip, she notes what she didn’t wear and what she wishes she’d brought. This helps her to plan better for her next trip.
- Kim M. uses Evernote to create her packing lists and writes down all of the components of each outfit (i.e. dress, shrug/cardi, shoes, jewelry, purse) on a single line. She labels each packing checklist by the location and year and uses her old lists as a base for when she travels to the same locations at a later date. She lists out every item she plans to take with her, which is tedious but makes her life simpler. When she travels by car, she also lists out which snacks to put in her cooler.
- Terra can travel for up to a full week with a small carry-on bag that can fit under an airplane seat. It has taken her a few years to learn the art of travelling light. She used to always over-pack and get stressed out by travel, but she now finds it a “breeze.” She attributes much of this positive change to down-sizing her wardrobe and only having items in her closet that she loves and wears often.
What the Bloggers Have to Say…
I love all of the helpful tips that readers shared following my previous posts. I know I learned a lot from those who are far more experienced travelers than I! I’ve also gained a wealth of knowledge from fellow bloggers who have written on the topics of travel and packing. Here are some of the best articles I’ve bookmarked from within the “blogosphere”:
- “How to Pack” – J of J’s Everyday Fashion shares the 8-step process she uses to pack for a trip. She also provides a case study of what she packed for a two-week trip to Europe, along with specific tips for travelling to that region.
- “Two Weeks in a Carry-On” – This article on Seventeenth & Irving shares a strategy for travelling for up to two weeks using only a carry-on bag. The author also shows how she mixes and matches her pieces for maximum outfit possibilities.
- “Three Footwear Travelling Tips” – I don’t know about you, but I struggle a lot in deciding which shoes to pack for my travels. Angie of You Look Fab offers three tips to make this process easier. Be sure to read the comments on this post for lots of additional suggestions!
- “How to Pack for a Business Trip” – Those of you who travel for business should definitely check out this very comprehensive post from Bridgette Raes. Bridgette not only helps you decide what to pack for a business trip, she also shows 14 business travel looks for inspiration.
Tips from Une Femme:
- “Keep Calm and Carry On”
- “Travel in Style: My 12 Item Wardrobe”
- “Travel Wardrobe Recap – France 2014” (a follow-up to the previous post)
Tips from Wardrobe Oxygen:
Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen has been blogging for years and regularly writes about travel and capsule wardrobes. She has also responded to readers’ questions on these topics. Here are a few of my favorite posts from Alison:
- “How to Create Capsule Wardrobes”
- “Ask Allie: Fit Two Weeks of Clothes in Carry-on Luggage”
- “Ask Allie: Two Weeks, One Carry On, Business Casual”
- “Ask Allie: What to Pack for England” (yes, I know this one is very specific, but the advice is applicable to lots of other destinations!)
I hope these tips from readers and bloggers will be helpful to you in preparing for your future travels. Packing can definitely be stressful, but it can be mastered. Of course, I have yet to master it, but I know all of the wonderful advice in this post will help to take me farther along that path. After I return from my travels next week, I’ll do a debrief post to let you know how I did (don’t worry, there will be posts in between as well…). Hopefully I’ll have better news to report than I did in December!