Winter, spring, summer or fall…all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yes I will…
That’s me and travel. Anytime, anywhere, I’ll pack my bags and go…
But, what to pack in those bags?
Packing can be a challenge, and my friends and I just happen to travel almost every fall (on my Facebook timeline, there is always something there to remind me of fun trips past). It really is my favorite time of the year to jump on a plane; the crowds are thinner, the air is crisper and the price is usually smaller. The problem with traveling in the fall, at least to the parts to where I head, is that the weather is unpredictable, oscillating from 40F and rainy one day to 75F and sunny the next. Throw in multiple destinations and random excursions, and the suitcase fills up and approaches that 50 pound weight limit really fast.
Despite the challenges, there is a tried and true list from which I start each 10+ day trip, and add in extras as needed. Fall packing to somewhere other than tropical destinations can be tricky, so I’m going to share with you my base what to pack list, one that got me through biking the Alps back in 2009, marching through the rain in Iceland last year, and most recently last week, cruising the Klondike. Adjust as you will, but with this list as a guide, I’ve yet to vacation when I’ve not had something I’ve needed, nor not worn what I’ve packed.
In those in-between seasons, it’s all about the layers; you’ve heard it before about a thousand times, I know, but it’s true! I like to start with the basics: long sleeve t-shirts, as many shirts as half the amount of days (i.e.- 8 days, 4 shirts). Neutral colors are best and I’d throw in 1-2 scarves to dress those shirts up or down or give you a cozy and portable warm up.
Trousers or jeans are next. Now, you know I have a summertime aversion to anything that is not short or breezy, but I’ve learned that other areas/countries have different opinions on skirt lengths (leading to some awkward stares). Plus, packing all dresses doesn’t lend itself as easily to the mix-and-match, and may greatly limit how creative you can get when posting for pictures. Two pairs of pants does the trick, and I mix up the styles: one more everyday, and one that can dress up a bit with the right accessories. However, I usually throw in one dress for good measure, one that can swing from fancier to casual.
One sweater. That’s right, only one. A thin one that can be layered with one of those handy long sleeved shirts, or worn with a tank top underneath. Plus, a bulky ones take up too much valuable space.
Speaking of adjusting under layers, I LOVE knee socks. First, they are great because they go up and down and can easily be adjusted as you heat and cool. Second, they provide some warmth without having to squeeze long johns under those skinny jeans, or bedtime coziness without having to necessarily pack thick jammies. Third, they come in LOADS of fun colors (and those of you that know me know that I am all about the fun socks like these, matching or not).
Depending on where you are heading, some sort of rain jacket is likely necessary (especially if you’re in a windy city where an umbrella alone won’t cut it). Again, because temperatures are unpredictable, I prefer a rain shell and a removable fleece layer that can double as a sweatshirt over an all-in-one.
That rain jacket comes in handy amongst my crew that also like to find some hiking nearby. If that’s also your thing, a moisture wicking base layer, hiking pants and wool socks are a must. In the same vein, if you’re like me and try to work out on vacation to offset allthefood, one workout kit is enough (if it’s dry-fit, you can wash it in the sink and let it dry in between workouts). If you’re more of the relaxing-on-vacation sort, then you luckily have more room for souvenirs!
If you plan on roughing it a little, but are also likely to have a night on the town, one pair of fashionable yet practical wedges or flats dress up a pair of jeans without necessitating that you bring that extra dress that you may only wear once. As for other footwear, my clown-feet size shoes take up so much room in my suitcase, I go for less-is-more. So, flats or wedges to dress up, sneakers to work out, and a casual shoe for walking (and the airplane!). Flip flops only if a pool or community showers are a possibility and dressy dress shoes only if absolutely necessary.
And finally, don’t forget to pack a little bling-it’ll make all the difference in making you not feel like you’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days (and a jewelry roll does wonders for transport-no more tangles!).
So that’s that! This clothing list is paired down for shorter trips, but the essence remains the same. Unless there is some ultra specific activity that we have planned, I rarely veer from it. Now, pack your bags and get to seeing the world!
Like this list? I thought you would, so here’s a printable for you.
First and last photos courtesy of Lettuce.