The Summer Wanderer Series: Packing Advice for Warm-Weather Travel, Part 1
One of my closest friends (also named Emily) is spending her summer in Europe with her husband and family. When she called me in the midst of packing panic, I was reminded that, while spending months in Europe is a dream, packing efficiently for the trip can be a bit of a nightmare. Having just come back from traveling around 4 countries for 3 months with only one small backpack, I can empathize.
Because I’m such a very good friend (and because I really didn’t want to translate anymore poetry) I calmed her fears with all kinds of packing advice via my brain, my blog, Polyvore and Pinterest. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing that advice in a series entitled, “Summer Wanderer,” featuring packing tips and outfits designed to maxime key pieces (and suitcase space!) without minimizing style.
SUMMER WANDERER, Part 1: Planning Your Travel Wardrobe
1: Color Palette. Choose one basic color palette and stick to it. I’m a big fan of neutrals for their wide range, but if you’re a die-hard color lover, choose one color family (red, orange, and pink, for instance). After you’ve selected your colors, find solid, versatile pieces in that palette. For summer travel, I tend toward dresses and skirts, with usually only one pair of pants and a pair or two of shorts. A good variety of separates is always a good idea, in that it helps maximize your mix and match potential.
2: Prints!: Expand your repertoire by selecting prints made-up of your core colors. They’ll go with your key pieces, but they’ll keep you from looking too Nihilist-style monochromatic. Here neutrals get a kick in the pants (hah!) with stripes, plaid, polka dots, leopard, and ikat. Who says neutrals are boring?!
3: Fun!: It may be boring, but it’s best to stick primarily to pieces you know you’ll wear multiple times. To that end, choose pieces that you can mix and match and be realistic about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. If you’ll be walking kilometer after kilometer, set aside those 4-inch heels. If you’re going to a laid back beach village, black slinky dresses not be the best choice. That said, don’t be afraid to add in a few “just in case!” items, like a fun dress or a sequined cardigan. You never know when you’ll end up at an art party in Paris where everyone looks cooler than Vogue thinks it is (this actually happened to me, and I thank the fashion gods I tossed in a few magic things at the last minute). Add to those pieces a couple in a ”statement” color. Here I’ve chosen citron, mustard, and gold, which remind me France and Italy.
4: Be Smart. Pack sensible, versatile outerwear and shoes. These are the things that take up the most space and end up being the most crucial. There’s nothing worse than getting blisters from bad shoes, except maybe not having enough space for all your souvenirs because of that fancy coat you brought but never used.
5: Accesorize! Use accessories to bring life to basic outfits. Jewelry and scarves pack well into small spaces and make all the difference in a simple look. Scarves have the added bonus of keeping you warm when needed and acting as a beach blanket, gag, or tug-of-war rope in a pinch.
RECAP: All told we’ve got 34 pieces of clothing, 4 pairs of shoes, a backpack, a tote, a hat, and a pile of other accessories. I’d say that puts us squarely between “Obsessively Light Packer” and “3 Suitcases Clotheshorse.” It’s a good place to be. I forgot to add belts, but I’m too lazy to change all these polyvore sets, so just pretend they’re there. I’d also add in a gold clutch.
Check back soon for Part 2 of this series, in which I’ll put together some outfits from these pieces, each inspired by a European city, and learn how to cull pieces you could probably do without.
How do you pack for long trips? What are your must-have travel items? Any great packing secrets?
If you want more visuals and sneaky strategies, check out this guest post from The Other Emily (I know, another one!) in which she shared packing tips gained from a year of traveling around Europe.