This is everyone’s problem… What do I need, don’t???
And basically, even when you are satisfied with your starting bag, then during the travel, at least once in life, everyone experienced the dramas “where do I put it???”, “Oh, my gosh! My bag is exploded!!!”, “Damn!!! No way to pack it again…”, “Where is the lost & found???”
Remember: What you really need is what you could never buy once at destination!
Pack “Must Have”, not “Just in case”
As a woman, I can say that this is really a challenge… Whenever I had to or I wanted to travel, I always felt the “need” to have all my clothes and my shoes with me… It’s a sort of Linus blanket, but hey! do I really need it?
This is what you should ask for every single stuff you would like to put in your bag!
There are many items that you pack “just in case”, but please remember that most of your “what if” will never happen and also in those case, you could find a solution with the clothes you packed!
Bring your core wardrobe that you wear over and over and keep in mind that “in case” you could even buy what you need.
Never bring something never or seldom used!
Even if it’s incredible to believe, wherever and for whatever reason you travel, you will not need to wear more than one item at time… So please remember it!!!
The Laundry schedule
After having made a great itinerary, what you really need is to understand how often, how and where you could wash and dry your clothes… yes, dry is also an important matter.
A general rule is to wash (and dry) your stuff every time you will spend at least 1 full day +1 nights in the same place; it doesn’t matter if you will use the laundry service or you will wash it by your own, to be sure that your clothes will be really dry, you need at least 1 day. For sure if you could have a fan and you use quick dry fabrics, the time could be reduced at 6/8 hours.
Plan it in advance, so you will know that in that day, the first thing you should do is to wash and start to dry your stuff.
You may use the web just to understand if in a city there is a wash&dry shop and the opening hours.
Pack for a week (and accordingly to your “laundry schedule”)
Even if you are abroad for a longer period (a months, a quarter, a year), you could pack for an average week; then use the laundry schedule to have always enough clothes!
You could not pack for every possible contingency, because you don’t know it in advance, “just in case”, stay flexible, and if needed, keep in mind that you could buy something if needed.
Match your clothes and color in advance
By doing your packing list for the average week, try to match in advance what to wear with what.
If possible, try to use neutral and universal colors (black, white, gray and different shades of brown), they match with all colors and color combination, they are trend-proof, flexible, style-saver and outfit multipliers!
Packing multiple thin layers takes up less space and offers more flexibility.
A thermal shirt will keep you warm and can easily be combined with other items or taken off as the weather changes.
When you are packing, always imagine a city with variable, spring, or fall weather. Cold mornings, warm afternoons, and cold nights. Pack for that day.
If it’s really cold, wear an ultralight down jacket; it’s light, it’s warm and do not waste so much space. Most importantly, don’t pack your jacket. Wear it if your whole trip will be cold or keep it with you
Choose the right Fabrics
To pack light for any weather, it’s really important to choose the right fabrics.
Some items could cost a hell of money, but think always about the cost per wear, and not the cost for item.
Cotton is a common but poor choice on the road. It’s heavy, slow to dry, and doesn’t breathe as well as wool.
In case of cold weather, I recommend wool and synthetic performance fabrics. It could be expensive to have an high-quality wool clothing, but would be your investment. You can wear it under anything and wash it as often as you need to on the road. Wool fights off odors much longer than sweat-wicking performance fabrics.
Thermal shirt and pants are ideal in case of freezing weather, are light and have great performances. I use the Mizuno for running, there are in several warm grades. Comfortable, easy drying.
When you are travelling in really hot and wet places, extremely rapid drying fabrics are the best solutions.
Slips and bras in lightweight stretch tulle. You can find an example just here.
I use synthetics socks for running or hiking. Also in cold conditions
Wear as much as heavier items as you can
If you need something bulky wear it. Don’t pack it.
In case you need 2 pair of shoes, for example hiking shoes and a sneakers.
Wear the hiking shoes, pack the sneakers.
You need a down jacket? Wear it for the flight.
And so on…
In my next article I will give more information about:
- How to pack everything together