Thanks to years of travel and hundreds of trips (52 last year and 11 so far this year), I’ve got packing down to a science – especially since I like to travel with only carry-on. However, my current trip to Europe was a little challenging due to several different climates, events, Terminal 5, and length of time so I had to really think about what to bring.
Dressing for comfort is essential followed by flexibility (how many times to how many places can I wear something) followed by is it appropriate (for weather, people, dinners, daily touring). Above is my essentials which was all nicely tucked into my Orla Kiely roll on bag (which worked as carry-on!).
So far, everything has worked really well and been very comfortable. I’ve been able to go to some big events but then walk on cobblestone streets in freezing temperatures. There were a couple of items that didn’t make it in (a bright orange dress and a shawl I wear – you can see those in some of my Flickr shots). The purple Rachel Pally dress has been heaven for flights because it’s easy to sleep in. My Born boots have been crucial to walking around. And the hat comes in perfect when rain hits and the hair frizzes. And big sunglasses cover up late nights and hours of travel.
There is the cliche saying that you can spot a tourist because of their running shoes, khaki pants and t-shirts. I find this is often true and it’s confusing to me how comfort is almost always equated to sweat pants and runners in North America. Or how when people travel they don’t “take the good stuff” because they fear it getting lost on a flight. This is my fear, too, which is why I do carry on. If I have too much to fit into a carry on (which is very, very rare) I take a second bag, packing all the things that could be easily replaced or I could afford to lose (often this is computer gadgets, chargers, shoes, books, toiletries). Things that I don’t want to lose (clothes, computer, personal things) I then put in the carry-on.
The other trick for me is to pick things that all work well together colour-wise. This way I can extend the life of my clothes by mixing and matching so that I don’t get so sick of wearing one thing over and over (especially after a month of travel!). I also stick to materials that don’t wrinkle or, if they do, I wrap the item in tissue paper (usually I ask for some extra pieces from Anthropologie and wrap it up – wrinkles are avoided!).