Travel can be exciting. But it can also be stressful. Making all the travel arrangements, securing the perfect accommodations, booking the time off work and then there’s the packing.
You worry about not having enough to wear and so inevitably you over pack. In fact your bag is so full, you can’t even get it on the damn plane without breaking out your wallet. Then you get to your destination and you feel like you have nothing to wear or nothing seems to go together. You certainly don’t have any room left in your bag for all those souvenirs you picked up along the way. Sound familiar?
If it does, don’t fret, you’re not alone. I was once a serial “over-packer”. I say once because eventually I got wise to the packing sins I was committing and made a change. It’s not hard, you can do it too, all you need is your style senses, a piece of paper and a little bit of planning.
You may now be wondering why it would be valuable to pre-plan your outfits for a vacation. Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing? Who really cares what you look like on vacation anyway? You’re absolutely right, the point of a vacation is to relax and enjoy yourself. Worrying about what to wear should be the furthest thing from your mind. Which is why I would strongly encourage outfit planning because you don’t want to get to your destination and be stumped on what to wear. Perhaps you’re not the type to worry about how your trip photos will look on Instagram but like most of us, you do want to be comfortable and feel good while you travel and this translates into you LOOKING good.
So I’ve twisted your arm now and your’re open to the idea of planning a travel wardrobe. Great! So now you wonder, what do I do next? This is the fun part (unless you hate planning, in which case it probably won’t be much fun) so grab your notebook, a pen, you’re imagination and let’s get started.
Step 1: Start with your location. Where are you going? Is it Europe, Bali, Melbourne, Beijing? Write that down. What will you be doing? Hiking, biking, walking, fine dining, boating, shopping? Write that down too. What will the weather be like? You can look at the seasonal norms and then check your weather app for current weather conditions closer to the date. Write that down. If the local weather is typically warm and humid you can bring mostly summer attire but don’t forget at least one pair of pants or leggings and a jacket or sweater in case there is cooler weather. Likewise, if the weather tends to be rainy and cooler you can still bring a skirt or pair of shorts in case of a random heatwave. Next consideration is how long you will be away. The duration of the trip and the presence or absence of washing facilities will dictate how many items of clothing you need to bring. Write that down too!
Step 2: So now we know the location, the duration of the trip, the activities and the weather. What’s next? Next we plan the looks. Turn to a fresh page in your notebook, at the top of the page you can write a title if you like, then list Outfit #1, 2, 3, etc. until the last day of your trip. For the first outfit you will likely be “in-transit” which means you will want to dress comfortably for the plane, train, car, bus, boat. Another helpful pointer is to layer up on all your heaviest items when you are travelling, this will free up space in your luggage and you can remove or add layers based on the temperature on the plane to suit your needs.
Step 3: Begin to imagine looks you would like to wear while you are away. This can be done by either by searching through online outfit inspiration and creating similar outfits based on what you have in your wardrobe or just imagining looks and writing down what you come up with. Be sure to write down footwear, handbags, hats, scarves and accessories so you can plan to bring those as well. The less you leave to chance, the better your outfit will look. Try to reuse items in more than one outfit to save space. Another option, for those of you who are more technically inclined, would be to use an outfit planning app. I am currently test driving Stylicious, Cladwell and . All offer the opportunity to catelogue your wardrobe by snapping pictures and using those photos to put together outfits.
Step 4: Once you have all your looks planned out, turn to a fresh page in your notebook and create a packing list based on the items you chose. I like to do this by category so tops, pants, skirts, dresses, sweaters, workout clothing, sleepwear, shoes, bags and accessories. Once I have this list compiled I would wash, dry and lay out all these items a few days prior to travelling. Then you can go through each outfit, laying out the pieces for each look and snapping a photo. This will help you to remember the looks you created, especially if you planned them well in advance of the actual trip.
Step 5: The next thing I would suggest doing is to try packing it all in advance. Rolling your clothing items or using packing cubes are a great way to maximize space, particularly when you are trying to travel light (with only a carry-on). What if you pack everything as tight as possible and you still have too much? Not to worry, just lay everything out on the bed and go through each item, ask yourself if you really, truly need it. Similar items can be eliminated (how many black tops do you really need?) and if you happen to forget a crucial item, all the more reason to shop for it my darling!
Step 6: Do the final pack and go through your checklist to make sure nothing has been missed. Then all that’s left to do is go on your trip, have a great time and look fabulous while you’re there!
I hope this post was helpful and that it is easy to follow. Travelling is amazing and by doing a bit of planning ahead of time it can be as stylish and stress-free as possible. Stay tuned for my video where I show you my exact travel wardrobe packing in action!
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