6 Tips for Packing Light in Fall and Winter
Your Packing Problems Solved
If you’re not used to packing light, even packing for a beach trip in a carry-on bag can be a little tricky. Carry-on travel has become more and more popular as baggage fees have become the norm on most airlines.
Not only does packing light save money, but it also saves time, because travelers don’t have to stand around the baggage carousel waiting for their luggage to (hopefully) make it off the plane. Having minimal baggage can save your back, too.
But the mystery of how to pack for winter travel seems impossible to solve. Here are some tips to keep your carry-on light, but still have a large wardrobe.
1. Mix and Match
When you carry fewer items, you need all your clothing to work together. Throw out the idea of packing a whole outfit for each day and instead look to mix and match everything you bring. Pick a color palette and stick with it, or make sure either all your tops or all your bottoms are a neutral color. If all your tops go with all your bottoms, you’ll find you have plenty of choices.
2. Scale Down
The only one who will know that you’ve worn the same clothing items more than once on vacation is you and your travel companions. It’s unlikely you will see the same people more than once on a trip, and if you do, they probably won’t notice that your outfit is similar to what they saw you in before.
The magic numbers for what to bring: Five tops and three bottoms. These, coupled with the outfit you’ve traveled in, net you over three weeks of unique outfit combinations.
3. Layer, Layer, Layer
Just because it’s cold today, doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. Plan for days that can vary in temperature by packing layers. You might have an unseasonably warm day in the middle of winter or an unexpected cold snap in fall. Be prepared. Pack a few sweaters, a scarf and a mix of tanks and tees.
When it’s warmer out, you can opt for a t-shirt. When it’s really cold, you can add two or more layers together to keep chill out. If you’ve brought a dress, toss a pair of tights into your bag to protect your legs.
Don’t forget your favorite jacket, which you should leave out of your bag to save space for other necessities. It can double as a pillow on the plane or can be stashed under the seat in front of you.
4. Choose Two
Shoes are the biggest challenge of everyone’s travel bag, it seems. A pair of flip flops is a staple to any carry-on, as they take up little room and are perfect for quick jaunts to the lobby or to the hotel pool. Other than those, two pair of shoes is all you need.
When your destination is projected to be cool, a pair of comfortable boots and another pair of walking shoes are going to be your best bet. Don’t bring anything you haven’t worn before or that you can’t walk in for long periods of time comfortably.
Wear your walking shoes on the plane and leave your dress up shoes at home. You’re not going to want to wear high heels after a day of sightseeing. If you really want to wear a pair of nice shoes out, look for a fun pair of ballet flats or wedge booties that will go with other outfits as well.
If you feel that what you’ve brought is kind of drab and not really exciting for a night out, then accessories will elevate those plain Jane items. A scarf, a belt and some statement jewelry can pack small and make a big impact. Jazz up your little black dress or a simple tank with a funky necklace.
Even if you’re planning to go to an upscale restaurant or clubbing, you probably won’t feel like leaving your fancier clothes at home was a bad idea. If you aren’t going to wear something two or more times, it is just taking up valuable real estate in your carry-on.
6. Do Laundry
There’s no way around it. If you pack light and you’re gone for more than a week, you’re going to have to do laundry. Schedule some downtime (which you should do anyway) to clean your clothes. It doesn’t sound fun, but you can take the time to hit the pool, watch a show or catch a nap. Just need to freshen up a piece? Spray some vodka on it. It deodorizes, and since it doesn’t have its own smell, you won’t reek of booze.
Carry-on packing can be difficult at first, but with some practice you can become a pro and save baggage fees. With fewer bags to deal with, you’ll feel freer as you waltz off the plane and get on with your vacation right away while everyone else is still waiting for their suitcases.