After years of traveling, I have learned two very important things when it comes to packing. Fuss-free clothing is a must and overpacking will only slow you down. My travels are so much easier because of these simple changes. Not convinced? Check it out. Traveling light and looking good are about to get easier for you!
I do want to mention that just because your attire should be as fuss-free as possible does not mean you should not think about looking and feeling good. Quite the opposite. Take the photo below, for example. A simple cotton dress, comfortable (yet cute) walking shoes, and a ballcap. Fun tip for ya….I love wearing gear that represents where I am from. I have met so many people that are from the same area just by that simple conversation starter. Casual confidence gives the impression that you are not a tourist as well.
Pick a couple colors that you can mix and match easily. Not only does this save space in your suitcase, it also allows you to transition from day wear to night wear easily. The colors that you select should really be based upon where you are going. Warm climates call for bright colors or a nice nude/ tan base. Cooler climates really can range from deep colors to neutral colors such as black, blues, or nude tones.
If you can’t wear an item at least twice, you may want to reconsider packing it. A classic t-shirt can be worn with a pair of nice jeans or even shorts during the day. Throw on a blazer, or a nice cardigan, and you have your second look. And those jeans you wore with that classic t… they can be worn with literally any other shirt you decide to pack, and a fresh pair of shoes.
Another quick way to change up your look are accessories. Not only are they small in size (keeping that suitcase light), they can make a dramatic difference to your outfit. Both men and women can easily throw on a hat to change it up. I love all the options in my hat collection! Ballcaps, fedoras, beach hats, just to name a few. When I was climbing Kilimanjaro I even took a few different winter hats to feel like I have a different look from time to time (I know I know. A bit over-the-top) Try adding a scarf. Scarves can be worn all year round since they are made of many different colors and fabrics.
Jewelry is another favorite accessory of mine. However, this is a tip about saving space vs changing up your look. Pack small, classic pieces; pieces that go with each outfit. I might change out my watch from day to evening, but other other than that I keep it very simple. Not only do I want to keep my luggage light, I don’t want to draw attention to myself as I travel.
The always dreaded… shoes. I admit I even struggle with this when packing. The beauty of travel is that wearing a pair of low profile sneakers really goes with any outfit. We can all appreciate a well dressed woman that is rocking a pair of chucks. Men there are all kinds of options for you. Loafers, low profile shoes, or a nice sandal. Each outing does not deserve its own pair of shoes. All you need is a versatile, dual-purpose pair of shoes, or two. Tip for packing: I use simple grocery bags to wrap my shoes in. No need for bulky shoe carriers or covers. Need something in a pinch while traveling? Most hotels provide shower caps. Just slip around the base of your shoe and voila!
As small as socks and underwear are, they still do take up space. I think we can all admit that we overpack when it comes to underwear! 😉 I have learned to stop packing 5 extra pair of underwear and instead, wash them in the shower while I am showering. Leave them to air dry overnight. Easy!
Toiletries are another great example of where we can all learn to edit before we travel. Rest assured that wherever you go, you can find what you need in most situations. Big space saver is leaving your blow dryer at home. They are provided in hotels and resorts all over the world.
Other than conditioner I do not pack shampoo or lotion. These also are provided for you in pretty much all hotels/ resort. Now, sometimes you will find conditioner, but not always and that is one product I do not want to be without.
Over the years I have used the same pill bottle over and over. It has been moved from purse to purse, bag to bag, suitcase to suitcase. Before each trip I take a quick inventory of what is still in there and what needs to be refilled. My personal favs are Vitamin D & C, pain medication, and allergy medication.
So why all the fuss about traveling light? Why not just check a bag? For starters, unless you are using an airline specific credit card or have status with an airline, bags can add up. You will spend an average of $25-$30 per person, both ways. A good sized backpack or oversized bag will fit under your seat and your roll on suitcase goes above your head. Plenty of room!
I always stress about my luggage getting lost or delayed when I check it. When I carry on, no stress! The red over-the-shoulder bag in the photo above is a perfect example of a bag that will fit under your seat. Bonus: It then doubles as a wonderful day bag for shopping at the markets/ street vendors or a beach bag.
If you feel like you are just short of enough room in your carry on, wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane. Jeans, sweater, boats, etc. When I traveled to Alaska, Greenland, and Africa, I wore my boots, winter coat and had my snow pants in my backpack. Taking layers off on the plane is always an option. I am typically chilly anyway so it is a win win for me.
Lastly, edit your purse. I leave behind all credit cards, other than one (Chase is great for travel points), and one debit card. I also don’t take a large purse. My favorite purse is not small, but I am telling you, the less bulk I have the better. The big purse stays home and I take a clutch that can easily fit in my carry on item.
We can all use a little help from time to time to make our trips less stressful and ultimately easier than the last trip. I would love to hear you travel tips on packing light and dressing well.
Theresa started solo traveling while going through a divorce years ago and instantly fell in love… with travel. She is owner of Faraway Places Travel and would love to hear from you. Her FB and Insta pages are @FarawayPlacesTravel and her website is FarawayPlacesTravel.com