For my current adventure, a 7-month exploration of South East Asia and Europe, it meant packing a bag for both the sweltering heat of Asia, the European summer, and then the cooler pre-winter months in Eastern Europe. Packing for multiple seasons is no easy feat, and yet despite still experiencing slight anxiety about over each “in or out?” decision, I think I finally have it down-pat…
Pick a neutral colour palette
White, black, grey, navy and any other neutral colours are the way to go purely because they can all be mixed and matched with each other which means more outfit options out of less items. As much as I love a bright colour or a print, if it only goes with one or two other things in your suitcase it’s not worth the space it takes up in there (or the headache of the extra weight!). Add a little variety with colour or shade but always ensure each item can be worn with at least three other items in your bag.
Synthetic fabrics aren’t (always) evil
Although natural fabrics like cotton and linen are wonderful, breathable fabrics that have their place in every suitcase, when it comes to hassle-free travel wear you can’t go past synthetic fabrics. Why? Because they just don’t seem to crease like natural fabrics do. You can easily roll them up into long sausages and throw it on looking as it did the day you packed it. Have a number of synthetic options in your suitcase for those days that you just don’t have the time or the facilities to iron. And really, who wants to iron on holiday? For winter, if it doesn’t break the bank, cashmere is the warmest and also the lightest fabric you can wear, making it ideal for travel.
This is a fairly self-explanatory point, but pack items that can be layered and worn all together. A few singlets, tees, a knits and a jacket or two will go further than just one bulky and heavy coat when it starts to get cooler, and these items can all be worn separately too which means they will take you across different seasons.
If you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it on holiday
A common mistake people make when packing is thinking that they will finally wear that (insert outrageous impulse purchase here). Let me tell you, you won’t. If you haven’t worn said item for as long as it’s been hanging in the back of your wardrobe, while each season you rationalize that “one day the right occasion will come up”, trust me, you won’t wear it. Holidaying and travelling is the time for tried and tested outfits you feel comfortable in, and you’ll have more than enough diversions from the ordinary and your regular routine without needing to throw yet another spanner in the works and worry about your outfit.
Be finicky about your footwear
This is a tough one. Most women love shoes, and when a change of footwear can make you feel like you’re in a brand new outfit, it’s hard to justify leaving them out of your suitcase. But remember this: shoes take up a lot of space and many of them are also heavy (think boots, zips, metal detailing etc). Try and restrict your footwear count to the fewer the better, and make sure you’ve broken those new pairs in before packing or blisters will be the only thing on your mind as you walk around the beautiful streets of Paris .
You can never pack too much underwear
Underwear is pretty much the lightest thing in a suitcase, and you can’t wear them for more than a day like your other garments so go nuts and pack to your hearts content. If you can avoid paying to get your laundry done for as long as possible, I figure you’re onto a good thing.
This is a great space-saving tip: roll your clothes, don’t fold them. This also prevents creasing which is a traveller’s constant nightmare.
Beauty over fashion (for the ladies)
Ladies, if you’re anything like me your morning and evening beauty routine cannot be compromised. Therefore, lose a few of those extra pieces of clothing in favour of your skin and hair… it’s one of the few things that can keep you feeling sane on those long trips where all you’re craving is your own things.
Invest in a good suitcase
It’s worth buying a good suitcase that is light, and has 360-degree rotating wheels. Not only can you add more weight into your bag, it means you can push or pull your suitcase around with greater ease, which makes a big difference on trips where you will be commuting a lot.
The order is important
Pack the things you will wear and use the least at the bottom, and the items you will need access to the most on the top. It’s common sense stuff that goes a long way on the road.
Packing sleeves or cells work a treat for organising your suitcase. You can keep tops separated from bottoms, underwear separated from socks and split genres of items up however you like to organise your life. It will save you precious minutes of searching through your luggage and turning to pulling out everything in frustration. You can find some great ones at www.kathmandu.com.au .