Rob and I have embarked on a month or so of travel before we settle down in London. Packing lightly for travel, particularly extended travel, is quite an art. And it’s not something I can claim to have mastered, just yet. This holiday, I’ve still packed far more than I would have liked and resemble, when armed with my green pack on my back and day backpack over my chest, more a green turtle than the intended chic fashion blogger vibes I’d envisaged. That said, I’m all about progress over perfection and this trip I have packed much more cohesively and practically. I’ve worn most items and the outfits have been generally appropriate for the weather and our daily activities. This to me feels like a win and so I thought I’d share a few tips which have helped boost my travel capsule wardrobe status from amateur to perhaps intermediate level.
1. Check the weather at the destination before flying
Simple yes, but this little tip makes such a difference. You see, I’ve learned the hard way that travel is a lot more enjoyable when you pack for appropriately for the weather (particularly a European winter or spring) and gauging the average temperatures for the season and destination prevents me from throwing in that dress which I *might* (but know I probably won’t) wear. Our trip was slightly complicated by the fact that we were originally flying out in February but were delayed for a month so our travels ended up being early spring over late winter. However, in the end it didn’t make too much difference – particularly for a cold frog like me who tends to wear jumpers even into a Sydney summer.
2. Invest in packing cubes
A very sage Christmas present from my parents were these packing cases (pictured above) which helped keep my clothes, underwear and additional items ordered and contained within my pack and making it easier to just reach for one cube rather than sifting through the entire suitcase to find a stray item.
3. Create a mini travel capsule wardrobe:
How many times have you found yourself throwing in that extra item “just in case”? Or wearing less than half of what you brought? Sound all too familiar? The solution I’ve found is to create a travel capsule wardrobe. By choosing items which are cohesive and effectively mix and match it doubles the number of outfit options (particularly when adding accessories) but reduces the overall number of clothes you’ve packed but ensures that you have items that you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion, activity or weather.
4. Pack light
Ok, as indicated in the introduction, this is an area where I still have room for improvement*. However, all the travel blogs I’ve read all agree on one thing; pack light. Based on this, I thought it was worth mentioning, even if reducing my suit case to hand luggage for trips longer than a week is, for the present time, goals, I have learned the best policy is to pack what I think I’ll use and then cull, cull, cull until I take the bare minimum.
*I did have a few essential items which couldn’t be shipped to the UK separately and so had to come along for the ride, even if not relevant for our actual trip.
5. Consider a steamer (but don't forget to pack a small bottle of demineralised water)
I’ve read of a few bloggers travelling with steamers and thought it was a clever way to keep clothes un-crushed when travelling (particularly, if like me, you have an affinity for natural fibres). Influenced myself, I bought a steamer just before this trip. However, the caveat is that I am yet to use it as I forgot to pack a travel sized container of de-mineralised water. I’ve learned the hard way that regular water can cause scale build up on the surface which can reduce the life of the iron or steamer and has sometimes transferred onto my clothes and so I am yet to try out the steamer this trip. However, I like the concept so will report back on how I find it in future.
6. Invest in a good suit case or back pack
Given that I spent a good portion of my last trip to Europe dragging a suitcase with a belt strapped around it in lieu of the handle, which had broken, I know that a good suitcase or back pack is key. There are many great options out there – just choose something sturdy, good quality and the right size (ie, not too large or too small).
7. Roll your clothes or use a Marie Kondo folding method
Rolling clothes or using a Marie Kondo folding method helps you to maximise the amount of clothes you can fit in a small space, helps reduce creasing and also helps you see, at a glance, what you’ve brought.
8. Use space efficiently
When packing your suitcase you want to maximise the amount of space. For example, certain items like socks can be stuffed into shoes. If you’re packing a bag, you can put other items in it to maximise the amount of room and help it keeps its shape while in your luggage.
9. Consider draw string calico dust bags for shoes, dirty clothes or handbags (if not worn).
Recently many of the shoes, handbags or items of clothing I’ve purchased have come in calico dust bags which I keep, because they’re perfect for travel. I use them to put my shoes into to keep them separate from clothes, as dust cover for handbag (to keep it free from scratches while in my luggage) or to put dirty clothes into.
Do you have any exciting trips coming up soon? What are your favourite packing tips and tricks for longer travel?