It’s the time of the year to consider holiday travels (after working hard for the entire year) but a common complaint is that packing clothes for a trip can be an incredible hassle. With many airlines charging growing fees for checked baggage, packing has become not just an issue of space but of economics too. When I was younger, the only thing I cared about was how I looked everyday during my holiday (regardless of how heavy my luggage was – or how many pairs of shoes I packed), but now, holiday travels includes the whole shebang - hubby, kids and grandparents, so I’ve learnt to carefully consider what goes into my suitcase — so I can save luggage space, remain stylish and comfortable while leading the family tour!
So in today’s blog, I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks that I’ve acquired along the way to look stylish and effortlessly chic even while traveling.
1. Get The Right Luggage
First things firs - a right suitcase is a must. Wasn't it T.S. Eliot who said, "The journey, not the arrival, matters." Indeed, it is. Consider your journey. If you're going away for three weeks, a hard-sided industrial-size suitcase is appropriate. But bring that on a weekend getaway and you'll look ridiculous. A rolling carry-on will suffice for short trips that involve airline travel or the train.
Its worth your while to invest in a good quality light-weight suitcase. I recently purchased a medium-sized suitcase but instead of spending an extra $50 on a lighter case I decided to go for a cheaper/heavier option. Big mistake, because now every time I travel with that case I think to myself: "The other case would have been easier to move around with" or "I could have brought back a couple of local wines with that extra weight." Mega boo-boo!
2. Pack Light
The quickest way to ruin a holiday is to over-pack your suitcase. I know it’s tempting to plan for any possibility when you’re packing - What if it rains? What if I decide to go hiking (even though you’ve never hiked before in your life)? What if we join a cruise and decide to go scuba diving in the ocean, then I’ll need my swimsuit, my towel, my sunhat, sunblock and scuba diving gear!? Trust me, by the time you hop from planes to trains and buses you’ll hate all those clothes you packed "just in case". Also, if you over pack then you’ll have no space left for souvenirs and local fashion finds!
3. Downsize Your Cosmetics Bag
By the way, while we’re on the subject, you can always downsize your beauty bag. Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, its likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your luggage when you arrive at your destination. A good way to cut down on makeup products is to carry a small all-in-one palette with you or to opt for multitasking products (i.e. products that you can use on your face, eye lids and lips). I love those drug store mini travel sized bottles because I can pack small quantities of beauty products that I need for the trip to bring with me instead of the full-sized bottles.
4. Pack A Limited Colour Palette
A great way to ensure that your clothes will be easy to mix and match is to stick to a limited color palette. I’m a big fan of neutrals when I’m traveling so I generally stick with black, navy or beige clothing which I then spice up with interesting accessories. If you like brighter clothes and prints then simply make sure that they are in a similar color palette. I’m a practical gal and travelling with kids have taught me to avoid whites and creams as they will be a pain to keep clean whilst traveling.
5. Pack Mostly Basics And A Few Statement Items
About 70 – 80% of the clothes you pack should be basics. Dark blue jeans, a black skirt, a lovely dress, shorts or a warm coat, depending on the local climate, and a few blouses or knit tops that can all be mixed and matched to fit any occasion. By stocking the majority of your suitcase with basics, you remove the need to pack a different set of clothes for each activity. For example, wearing a plain black or white tank top with some dark jeans or shorts can be perfect for physical activities like hiking, biking, or just exploring a city by foot. That same tank top, when tucked into a black skirt and covered with a cardigan and a scarf, becomes a cute and flirty outfit for a dinner in town.
6. Work With Layers
Even if you’re heading to the tropics, make sure you pack a cardigan for cooler nights and strong air conditioning. Scarves (cardigans or shawls) are another great way to not only face cold conditions but jazz up a neutral outfit. If you’re headed to a very cold country, make sure to bring thermals with you! Style-wise, layering is the key to dressing your outfits up or down. A little black dress for that night on the town, for example, becomes a lot more appropriate for day wear when it’s topped with a cardigan or sweater and worn over dark stockings. Similarly, dark jeans with a plain blouse can quickly become dressed up with a stylish jacket or a cashmere wrap, so pack your vacation wardrobe with layering ideas in mind.
7. Style Up Your Outfits With Accessories
I like to bring less clothes and more jewelry when I’m travelling. Accessories like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and belts are much easier to pack, they wear less and they provide more options. If you prefer the minimal, fuss-free style, pack a pair of gold or silver studs, a nice pendant necklace or your favourite charm bracelet or an oversized man’s watch. These should cover most of your needs, whether you’re going dressy or casual. You would be surprised how easy it is to do a lot with just a few accessories!
Anyway, if you ever need something flashier or realize you have forgotten something at home, there’s always the opportunity to shop for souvenirs at your destination. Whether it’s a necklace, sunglasses, or a new scarf, chances are that the place you’re going has its own unique style. Purchasing your accessories at your destination can be a fun way of incorporating that local style into your wardrobe, as well as getting a nice memento to bring home with you.
8. Pack NO MORE Than Three Pairs of Shoes
Unless you’ll be travelling for more than a month, across different continents or you’re planning to walk the red carpet during your trip, you do not need to pack more than three pairs of shoes. Instead, pack one pair of flats for walking, one pair of sandals or wedges to dress up and one pair of black pumps for going out. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane and stuff your socks in the rest to save even more space in your luggage. Furthermore, if you find you really can’t live without another pair then make it your mission to find a great pair of shoes on site. Wherever I go, I usually manage to check out a shoe shop ;) I personally couldn’t think of a better souvenir.
9. Pack Plastic Bags
They may not be great for the environment but plastic bags can be life savers when it comes to traveling. You can use them for all sorts of things such as: separating wet or smelly shoes from the rest of your suitcase, creating a makeshift laundry bag, packing your liquid products to make sure they don’t spill in your bag etc. I always bring spare ziplock plastic bags and nine out of ten trips, I always end up finding new ways of using them.
10. Pack Valuables And A Change of Clothes In The Handcarry
I don’t want to jinx you or anything but suitcases do go missing from time to time. Thankfully airlines find them most of the times but it generally takes a couple of days which is why having a change of clothes in your carry-on is always a good idea. I also like to change half-way through my trip if I’m traveling for more than 12 hours. It feels so nice to put on clean clothes and underwear after a long flight, as I ready myself to meet my holiday.
OK. Those are my top 10 tips for a more stylish holiday. Hope they will be useful as you prepare for your vacations. Have fun, be safe and happy holidays to all!
PS: Don’t forget the first aid kit. Make sure you bring a small bag with the most necessary pills and meds you might need. Nobody should be suffering a severe headache, migrane, fever, upset stomach etc during a holiday. It might be easy to pick up a domestic remedy for your various ailments at home, but medicine in the foreign country may be limited to prescription only. Same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies, make sure you bring them on board.