My Top 5 Travel Clothing Tips

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

The first few times I traveled by myself, I completely over-packed. I put everything I thought I might need in the suitcase – including stuff I never wore at home – and often had to sit on it to get it closed. Then, because this was in the days before rolling suitcases, I’d have to lug that thing through airports, on to shuttle buses, and into hotels, and would be sore for days afterward from the unexpected workout.

My, how times have changed!

These days, my goal is to get by with as little as possible, yet still cover all my bases. If I can get everything in a carry on, I can get off the plane, hail a cab, and be checked into my hotel by the time my fellow passengers are pulling their luggage off the baggage claim carousel.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Make a Clothing Plan

When you cross the equator, the seasons change. When you cross the 30° parallel, the climate changes. When you go across country, formality levels change. In fact, the only place things are “just like home” is…at home. So if you want to be comfortable when you travel, do a little research before you go. What’s the weather like? The culture? The levels of formality? How does all of it impact your wardrobe? If you determine exactly what you need to wear each day and for each event, you’ll be able to pack appropriately.

2. Decide on a Color Scheme

If you limit the colors you wear to a handful of your very best, not only will you look good in everything, you’ll open up a world of mixing and matching possibilities – while also limiting the number of pieces you need. Last minute invitations? Another round of interviews? You can do it with what you brought. You also cut way down on the number of accessories you need.

Clothing Capsule

3. Limit the Shoes

I know this is a challenge for those of you who have “thing” for shoes, but if you limit the number of shoes you take to three – including the pair you wear when you travel – you’ll not only free up tons of space in your suitcase, your luggage will also weigh a lot less. How, you ask? See tip #2. You can easily make your shoes look different by adding shoe clips. Fun…and light!

4. Take a Coat…Even in Summer

If you travel to the tropics or subtropics, this may not be necessary. But as soon as you move into the temperate zone, it gets cold once the sun goes down – especially in the mountains or near water. A neutral color that goes with your color scheme will keep you warm and cozy.

Take a coat!

5. Wear Your Bulkiest Item When Traveling

Sweaters, coats, boots, etc., take up a lot of room in your suitcase. If you can, wear them on the plane if you’re flying, or put them in the trunk if you’ll be driving so you can access them easily once you get to your destination.

Finally, get organized with your carry on items. Keep things you need during the trip handy – like medication, eye glasses, or your passport – and store them in a secure but easily accessible place, like a zippered pocket of your purse or carry on. Have food allergies? Take along your own snacks.

So what’s the bottom line?

Think ahead, plan carefully, and get organized. Travel is stressful enough without arriving at your destination completely unprepared. So don’t do it. If you know what you’re going into and plan accordingly, you’ll not only look great, you’ll have TONS more fun.

Want to get organized for your trip?

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  • Jo

    Reply Reply June 5, 2014

    This is absolutely great -makes travelling so much easier. Thank you

    • Diana

      Reply Reply June 5, 2014

      Hi Jo,

      You’re welcome! That’s the plan… 😉

  • Kas Sommers

    Reply Reply July 3, 2014

    I’d love to see a capsule put together like the one above, but with softer colours. Maybe based around soft blue or green, with white and tan rather than black.

  • Valeria Martin

    Reply Reply July 27, 2014

    Thank you, Diana, for including the link for shoe clips. I clicked it and the website is awesome. I adore flats and these shoe accessories are perfect for giving my footwear pizzazz!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 29, 2014

      You’re welcome, Valeria! Most people don’t wear these anymore, but they’re a fun, easy way to spice up your footwear.

  • Audrey Meyer

    Reply Reply July 29, 2014

    Gradually over the years I have travelled I have limited the items I take. I have a standard list that I keep on my computer for everyday things for both my suitcase and cabin bag and I also have a list that puts outfits together separated into hot, warm and cooler days which I find works well..

    Another tip I was given by my late brother-in-law was to roll all the clothing that goes into the suitcase – your clothes come out less creased and you can pack much more in.

    Diana’s hints are great. I particularly like the idea of using a colour scheme.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 1, 2014

      Hi Audrey,

      Thanks for the tips! I’ve also learned over the years to streamline EVERYTHING. These days I just keep all my travel toiletries in my toiletry bag and restock as needed. As for the clothing capsule color scheme, it works beautifully! Lots of options from a handful of pieces and accessories. I love them!

  • Marian Rothschild

    Reply Reply August 13, 2014

    Great suggestions for travelers. We ladies often pack much more than we need to. Your #1 point is golden. Here’s an additional tip: the day before you leave check online for the weather forecast of the city you’ll be traveling to. That way you’ll know if you need a heavy sweater, umbrella, snow boots, or anything else that is climate-specific.

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