After living out of a suitcase for the past nine months, you definitely learn a thing or two about what you need to pack. Traveling for an extended period in different countries, continents, and most importantly climates makes it difficult to anticipate what to bring. Even more so if you are traveling in between seasons, particularly as climate change has made the weather more unpredictable than the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Women typically have a tendency to overpack – me definitely included. Of course, not all, but many. So here are my tips on what to pack for all types of weather, locations, and cultures.
For starters, you will need a good piece of luggage. I prefer to travel with a carry-on size (such as the bigger carry-on from Away) just because it is more manageable. I still check my bag because of liquids, but I find it substantially easier to get around new places myself with a smaller suitcase.
The Clothing Essentials:
1.An all-weather jacket. Preferably waterproof or resistant and long so you can pair it with a dress. My preference is always black because it goes with everything and is less likely to look like it’s been worn a million times.
2. Even if you don’t anticipate on going swimming, you just never know and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Invest in a nice one piece that is simple, easy to pack, and that you will feel comfortable anywhere you go.
3. Every day and everything sneakers. Finding a good pair of sneakers that work to go on light treks, walking for hours in a city or even to match with a dress is a must. This is in no way an ad, but I have successfully hiked around Yosemite in Converse and trekked on the Perito Moreno Glacier in Superga sneakers. Point is unless you are Cheryl Strayed-ing it (the author of “Wild”), you likely don’t need to purchase the whole hiking section in REI.
4. The perfect scarf. A big lightweight scarf that can be wrapped around your neck, thrown over your shoulders (which is great if you’re visiting a religious monument in the summer) and even used as a blanket on a plane; a scarf is possibly the best thing you can pack. Cashmere pashmina’s work best!
5. Shirts to layer. From tank tops, short and long sleeves, pick shirts that don’t take up too much space and can easily be layered depending on where you are. Take a lot and a variety. Neutral colors work best as they go with anything in your suitcase.
6. Jeans. And not just any pair of jeans but a good pair that will survive everything you do from walking up to Machu Picchu, trekking on a glacier or simply sight-seeing in a city.
7. Something warm. Even if you are going to a warm destination bring at least one jumper for the evenings or overly air-conditioned rooms and planes.
8. Something nice. For me, this is a dress, for others it may not be, but pack something elegant and simple that can easily be dressed up (no pun intended).
If you have a routine, bring them! You never know what will be available in what country, so I always take full bottles of my favorite shampoos, conditioners, face creams and even sunscreens! And let’s not forget my favorite packing essential – travel size packets of Tide laundry detergent in case your laundry bag starts to get bigger than your suitcase.