The holidays are approaching, which means you’ll likely be traveling a bit. A good thing, obviously, but also stressful. Summer trips are a breeze (no pun intended) because all you have to do is throw on a dress, add some flat sandals, and pack a few bathing suits, some sunscreen and a trusty pair of jean shorts (which are all small and easy to pack.) Summer’s signature look is effortless and easy, which makes packing for a summer vacation effortless and easy as well.
Traveling during the fall/winter months present a challenge. How do you manage to look put together everyday when you only have one suitcase to stuff with boots, hats and full-length pants? And how the hell are you supposed to fit chunky sweaters into the mix?
If you’re going from a colder climate to a warmer one (and I hope you are,) there’s another layer of difficulty. I mean, think about it: You want to be warm enough when you leave your cold city but cool enough when you reach your warm destination – and in my experience airplanes are either freezing or sweltering. Nothing in between, no way to predict which end of the straw you’ll draw until you’re actually on that plane.
I’ve been thinking about this because I just made a trip from Chicago to LA. Add the fact that it was Halloweekend and factor in the wig and wedge sneakers I needed to wear for my costume – packing was a bit of a struggle. My flight was a longish one so being comfortable on flight was essential as well. Here are a few tips I have to share for this kind of travel.
Get some comfy/cute pants: Sure, sweats would feel great, but you probably won’t want to wear them during the actual vacation. By wearing sweats for your flight you’re just adding another unnecessary item to the list of things you’re bringing with you. Instead opt for some comfortable pants that can take you from flight to the first social event of your trip, no change needed. I’m loving printed silk pants right now. They’re insanely comfortable, they look great and they’re breezy enough for warmer weather. They won’t keep you super warm if you’re travelling from a cooler place….unless you layer leggings underneath. Also, this helps reduce the number of items you need to pack. Win/win. Speaking of leggings, opt for the leather variety for travel to maximize wear. They feel great on the body and can easily be dressed up for night.
Wear your bulkiest shoes: It seems intuitive, but I always see people going through security in flip flops or sneakers even though they’re likely carrying shoes that take more space in their luggage. Look, I know comfortable shoes are essentials for travel, but wearing a chunkier pair while you walk through security frees up room your suitcase for more clothes and accessories. Also, sneakers aren’t exactly the most versatile choice so if you don’t need them for you vacation, don’t pack them. Unless you plan on exercising or hiking on your trip, leave the sneaks at home. I always pack rubber flip flops because they are so compact and do double duty: I can use them as shower shoes (I am a freak about not stepping into a bathroom barefoot) or as comfortable walking shoes when I’m out in a new city. Opt for an embellished pair so you don’t look…like you’re wearing the shoes you showered in (no one has to know.) A great travel shoe? A pair of camel-colored booties. They’re comortable but still look polished, they work in cool weather or in warm weather when worn with a dress, and go with everything. The fact that the skin-toned shade flatters legs is just a great bonus. I just got these Rag & Bones and am obsessed with them. They’re easy to walk in, so well-made, and really easy to slip on and off when going through security.
Layers are key: We’ve already discussed that airplanes almost always have temperature issues. Let’s get to really simple, obvious way to deal with this. Say it with me: “layers.” There are two extremely handy, space-efficient items I like to keep in my go-to carryon bag at all times – a plain black microfiber cami and a soft, open-faced sweater. You may even be able to nix the jacket if you invest in one these, which happen to be much easier to pack and more comfortable. I like the wear these backwards when I’m en route so they double as blankets. I just got this number from Splendid and am in love. Other layering tips – you can’t go wrong with a black or white tee under whatever you choose to wear for the flight. You can peel off other layers if you get hot during the trip, and you can pair it with any of the other pieces you’ve packed for an entirely new outfit. Wear a scarf while traveling if you wish. Wind it around your neck when you’re cold, let it drape over your front when you’re warm and always use it as it as an on-flight pillow.
When it comes to bags…: Clutches are your best bet for travel. Pack as many of them as you can. I suggest using these little bags to update your look each night as opposed to relying on statement shoes (one versatile heel is enough. Shoes take up way too much room.) If you have a large everyday bag, stash a book, magazine and snack in there and use it as your carryon and as the bag you’ll carry for day during your trip. I like to stash a toothbrush and set of contacts in there as well so that if I sleep on flight I can give my teeth a good brush and swap my glasses for contacts before deplaning. Zip locks are also great – I use them to store small accessories, toiletries and makeup.
I know a lot of people like to roll up clothes in order to free up suitcase space, but I say why not just pack smarter? Editing your selection makes it easier to keep track of everything and so much less overwhelming when you’re trying to put together each look during your vacay.
Photo by James Atkins