How do you plan your travel clothing?

Overstuffed suitcaseI ask, because the first few times I traveled by myself, I completely over-packed.

I’d put everything I might need in the suitcase – including stuff I never wore at home – then I’d often have 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.

I also save a ton of money on baggage fees, which I can then spend on fun things like souvenirs and site-seeing tours.

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Travel Clothing Tips

Here’s how I do it:

1. Make a Travel Clothing Plan

When you cross the equator, the seasons change. Crossing the 30° parallel?  The climate changes. Going across the country?  The 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, you’ll look good in everything and open up a world of mixing and matching possibilities – while also limiting the number of pieces you take.

Last minute invitations? Another round of interviews?  Stay for another day?

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 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 free up space in your suitcase and your luggage will weigh a lot less.

How can you get by with so few, you ask?

See tips #1 and #2.

Determine what you need, settle on a color scheme, and bring shoes that cover all your bases, like flats, heels, and sandals.  Choose wisely.


4. Take a Coat…Even in Summer

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” Mark Twain supposedly said.

That’s because the cold air coming off the ocean will have you reaching for a jacket in July as quickly as summer sunset in the mountains.  This is true all over the temperate zone, so if you’ll be in the mountains or near water, take a jacket to ward off the chill.

A neutral color that goes with your color scheme will keep you warm and cozy.

Take a coat!

Better yet?

A trench coat with zip-out liner.

It will keep you warm and dry almost anywhere in the world three seasons a year – and it folds up compactly.

That’s because it was designed by outdoorsman Thomas Burberry for the British Army during World War I to keep soldiers warm and dry “in the trenches,” and it’s been popular with travelers ever since.


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, eyeglasses, 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 your itinerary and plan accordingly with your travel clothing, you’ll not only look great, you’ll have TONS more fun.

Getaway MagicWant to get organized for your trip?

Getaway Magic can help.

From what to wear to how to pack to how to travel with kids (and do laundry!), this course shows you how to look good, travel light, and enjoy yourself – with LOTS of travel outfit ideas.




Travel Outfit Ideas

    8 replies to "My Top 5 Travel Clothing Tips"

    • Jo

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

      • Diana

        Hi Jo,

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

    • Kas Sommers

      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

      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

        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

      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

        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

      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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