Pack Smart: Packing Tips For The Fashionable Traveler
The golden days of air travel and getting dressed up for a flight may be long gone, but it’s is no excuse to forget fashion! However, packing light while trying to remain fashionable can be a daunting task. In preparing for my RTW (round the world) trip, I scoured the web for advice. I found that much of the information was geared towards the most minimalist of travelers or the most opulent, and wasn’t relevant to the average traveler such as myself. Here, I’ll discuss simple tips for staying fashionable while packing light, including the types of clothing I packed, as well as what worked and what didn’t. Later this week, I’ll provide a more detailed list of everything I packed, and most importantly, how I fit it all inside a carry-on sized suitcase!
My packing philosophy is to travel in the style of clothing you typically wear at home. The clothes you wear in your day to day life are generally those in which you feel the most comfortable in, and represent you as a person. This is what you should pack! Stay clear of those travel clothing catalogues geared towards middle-aged people touring Europe for the first time, where everything is beige and oversized. In addition to sticking out like a sore thumb and spending money unnecessarily on overpriced clothing, you won’t be doing your self any sartorial favors. I also disagree with the advice to pack neutrals or only clothing of the same color. In my day to day life, I prefer bold colors and dresses, so that’s what I packed. Whether your prefer pastels and polos, or animal print and capris, stay true to yourself, and pack what you already have.
Another popular tip I disagree with involves jeans. Many people suggest leaving your jeans at home, especially when traveling to warm climates, arguing that they’ll be too warm. For starters, everyone wears jeans… even people who live in said warm climates! It gets pretty darn hot during summers here on the east coast, and yet everyone wears jeans, so I don’t see why it would be any different just because you’re away from home! I always take a pair or two with me when I travel, and I’ve never regretted it. They go with everything, they’re durable, and they hold up well over multiple wears. If you wear jeans at home, I suggest you put them on your packing list.
When it comes to shoes, I do not subscribe to the “Take only 1 pair of shoes” mentality. I’m certainly not saying you should go the Imelda Marcos route and take 50 pairs of stilettos. But you should take into consideration the types of activities you’ll be doing and pack accordingly. If your plans solely involve activities like camping and outdoor pursuits, you may only need sneakers and water shoes. On the other hand, if you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in cities, like I did, it might be nice to have a pair of dressy flats or sandals. Travel usually entails a lot of walking, and you’ll be happy to have different styles of shoes to prevent your feet from getting sore in one spot. I would suggest sneakers, rubber flip-flops, a pair of comfortable flats, and perhaps another “wild card” shoe of choice, if you’re so inclined. When traveling in Colombia, I took a pair of Teva athletic sandals. While they were nice to have, particularly when hiking on the beach and walking through water, I could have done without. For the second half of the trip, I swapped them out for a pair of high heels. While they were fabulous (and I mean fabulous!), I ended up wearing them only twice in the span of two months. Better options for the “wild card” shoe might be a comfortable loafter, a canvas walking shoe, or flat sandals.
In addition to the basics, remember to take along a few accessories. A hat is not only functional, but adds a little style to an outfit, like this fedora (and also hides a bad hair day!). Similarly, a scarf provides an additional layer of warmth while adding some pizzazz. Simple jewelry like earrings or a ring won’t take up much space, but can take an outfit from day to night.
Makeup is another simple tool for looking more fashionable while traveling. It might not be something traditionally equated with backpacking or RTW travel, but if you wear it in everyday life, I suggest bringing it along. Perhaps not your entire makeup arsenal (I know plenty of girls with enough makeup to open their own shop!), but at least the basics to help you feel polished and fresh.
Lastly, souvenirs are a great way to inject some new life into a traveler’s wardrobe. During my travels I picked up a handmade bracelet in Zambia, an embroidered shawl in Malaysia, and a pretty dress in Singapore. These items gave my wardrobe a much needed fashion boost! The best part? I’ve continued to use them since I’ve returned home, and I enjoy them more than I would have a souvenir “I heart HK” mug!
What other packing tips do you have for the fashionable traveler?