Travel is exciting. Stepping off a flight into a new country is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, the new sights and smells fill me up with a fresh sense of adventure every time I’m away. There is something inherently unique about exploring a city for the first time, wide-eyed and taking it all in. Travelling with style in mind can throw a wrench in even the most savvy travelers plans. Packing can be stressful; the tendency to over-pack or to pack unsuitable items for the weather in your destination are common mistakes. When you’re away, the last thing you want to worry about is running out of clean clothes, that won’t look cute on your Instagram feed.
We all aim to look stylish while we’re travelling but packing two large suitcases full of options for a week away is not ideal. Packing light sounds great in theory, think of it, you’d feel so free, exploring your destination nomad-style. But then you find yourself running out of clothing midway through the week, not acceptable. I learned this lesson the hard way when moving to Australia for a year, Mike told me to pack light but I opted for the security that comes with “just in case” packing. I brought lot’s of clothing but I also shopped for new items throughout the year and in the end we needed to leave behind many items to make the airlines weight requirements. So what can you do to travel light, have enough unique outfits for your entire trip and look insanely fabulous? Here are a few travel hacks to make your life easier, your load lighter and your trip as stylish as possible.
1. Stick to a color palette: Unless bright colors are your usual m.o. stick to a basic palette of 3-4 colors, preferably black, grey, white, brown, and beige with one bolder accent such as red, blush, orange, blue, green or yellow. By bringing mostly muted neutrals you allow for interchangeability in your looks, this will also allow for consistency in your photos and a nice flow for your grid. Patterns are still a go, in fact, I find they really create more interesting looks but by sticking to the palette will make the patterns easier to wear.
2. Bring multi-use items: Versatility is key for travelling with less, bringing pieces that can be worn either multiple times or in a variety of different ways will keep your suitcase lean while keeping options plentiful. Use the same accessories, bring only your favs and you’ll want to wear them in different combinations all week long. Bringing too many accessories not only takes up precious real estate in your luggage, it also means more decision making than you need to be doing on vacay and a higher likelihood of losing your prized possessions. I would also think twice before bringing expensive jewelry. Rule of thumb, if it cannot easily be replaced, don’t bring it. When it comes to choosing which bags to bring, take a look at your destination and what activities you will be doing. If you will be hiking, boating and doing lot’s of outdoor activities I recommend bringing a backpack and some sort of bum bag or cross body bag for smaller excursions. If you are travelling to a city where you will be walking, sitting at cafes and visiting museums I recommend bringing a bucket bag (preferably with a zipper and a cross body bag for dinner and shorter trips around the city. Try to choose one or two bags that will match well with as many outfits as possible and bring your biggest bag on the plane.
3. Use compression pouches: I have not personally tried this tip but after watching countless packing videos on You Tube this one stuck with me. Compression pouches are nylon pouches with a zipper that allow you to pack clothing inside and squeeze out the air which allows you to bring more clothing but taking up less space. There are many good brands available and the pouches themselves come in a wide range of sizes and colors. One of the most highly recommended brands seems to be Eagle Creek, I found them on a Canadian website called Jetsetter which offers many different styles of this brands compression pouches as well as other brands. If you aren’t a fan of the idea of compression pouches you can try rolling your clothing, this compresses your clothing and allows you to fit more clothing in less space compared to folding.
4. Plan your outfits in advance: This is possibly the most crucial of all the tips, if you have the patience to sit down and plan out 7-9 outfits (one for each day and a couple of back up looks or evening looks) you will have a much smoother and more stylish trip. Less to worry about while your on vacation means more time for relaxing and enjoying yourself with the knowing that you will always look your very best. I recommend laying out each look with the footwear and accessories on the bed or floor and snapping a photo so you will remember while you are away. You could also try the outfits on and take a mirror picture, this gives you the opportunity to see how the complete outfit will look and you can make sure the clothing fits well and is in good condition.
5. Check the weather: This is another really important consideration because you can be much better prepared and way more comfortable on your trip if you pack clothing and footwear to suit the local weather conditions. There is nothing worse than packing shorts, t-shirts and sun dresses for a trip and having to buy extra clothes or freeze because they are experiencing cooler, rainy weather. Some places can be warm in the afternoon but cooler in the morning and evening. There is also the risk of losing your luggage so make sure your plane outfit consists of many layers and wearing your heaviest layers on the plane is a great way to save space in your suitcase. Also remember to bring appropriate clothing for entering churches and going out to a fancy restaurant as some places may have a dress code in place. Bringing a rain coat and umbrella is also a good idea, since you will likely experience at least one rainy day on your trip and you don’t want to get soaked!
6. Do laundry: If you can choose a hotel or Air BnB with laundry facilities or a laundromat nearby, do it! You can bring less if you have the ability to wash your clothing while you are away. Make sure to factor this in to your outfit plans so you are able to re-wear the clean items in a different look, no one will ever know. Usually an Air BnB will provide laundry detergent but in case they don’t you can bring your own or buy once you arrive.
7. Shop: I can think of nothing more exciting than hitting the local mall in a new city, shopping is usually a part of most people’s travel itinerary so you can bring less clothing along with you if you plan to do some shopping. This will make planning outfits a bit difficult and it is assuming you are able to find items that you like enough to buy during your shopping trip but I like the thrill of a style challenge so this wouldn’t deter me much! You could try doing some online shopping for the stores you think you may want to buy from to see what they offer and then you will have a better idea of what you want and how you can style outfits with the new items. Another thing I like about shopping like a local is that you will dress more like a local, this is great especially in cities where tourists may be targeted for theft or other crimes.
There are likely so many more style and packing tips, the important thing to keep in mind is to plan your wardrobe to suit the location you are travelling to. I’d love to hear your go-to style packing tips, tricks, even fails! Hit me up in the comments below.
Want to shop these slick fall looks?
All photography by Megan Cameron Photography