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The weather is turning and it’s making me think about packing for fall travel. So if you’re going on a fall/winter road trip or you’re just looking ahead to when traveling is a thing again. Even when you have to pack larger pieces than for your summer trips, you can still pack light. I’m a big proponent of layering when I travel, since you never know if the weather will be unseasonably warm or colder than you expect. Don’t fret though, because you can still pack light and bring everything you need for any kind of weather.
When we traveled to Edinburgh and London last year, the weather ranged from cool, crisp fall air to super cold windy days. It could have been miserable, but learning from our previous trips to the UK, the first of which all we had packed were winter clothes. The first 3-4 days were so warm out that I didn’t need a coat and seriously wondered if I’d have to buy some short sleeve tops in order to not get heat stroke. Needless to say, the next trip nobody wanted a repeat of that. So, taking all my knowledge into account when packing, I chose several lightweight sweaters that I could layer other things with and went from there.
So, if the weather tends toward cold, cold, cold, your pictures are basically all going to be you bundled up in your coat and you aren’t going to see anything you’ve got on underneath anyway (see title photo). With this in mind, it makes even more sense to bring as little as possible. You’ll just need enough to keep you from getting bored and to go between laundry - think of it an excuse to take a break and relax a few times on your trip. Watch a movie, catch up on email or play a game. I bring the same thing for one week as I do for two. Three lightweight sweaters, a cardigan, two tanks and two tees that match your sweaters. Throw in a dress, two pair of stretchy jeans or other comfortable pantsm and two pair of shoes.
Keep in mind your travel outfit. I usually wear my favorite pair of jeans (with stretch), a tee and a cardigan, one pair of the shoes I’m planning to wear throughout my trip and keep my jacket and a scarf within easy reach. This way if it’s cold, I can put more layers on, and if it’s hot, I can remove my cardigan.
A pair of black jeans can double as nice pants for a night out, but a breathable dress can also work. Make sure to pack a pair of heavy tights in case it’s really cold and you need some extra protection. Tights are multitaskers. When the weather is colder than expected, like a freak snowstorm, you can throw them on under your pants. I tend toward thinner skinny jeans, because the stretchy ones are comfortable, but may not be as warm as traditional jeans. For this reason, that extra layer might be necessary.
Make sure your tops all mix and match, so you don’t have items that only go with some things in your bag. I like neutrals, like black and gray that I can add a pop of color to. You may end up like me and have to wear three layers at once, so if you bring three different color sweaters and three different color/patterns of tanks and tees, you’re going to look like a bag lady. I like to go with solids for one layer and some patterns for the other. Above you have 3 long sleeve options and two patterned t-shirts. If you have to layer, these will all work together. The dress is also reversible (from Columbia), so you can make a total of 22 outfits with these pieces. You also have the added warmth of your cardigan and/or jacket.
yup, lots of photos of us just wearing coats and hats or scarves.
Look for shoes that will go with everything. I went to Europe with a pair of flats and tall packable boots, but I love the look of a short boot and a loafer. Make sure you have enough room for your foot to breathe in your boot and that both pair are comfortable to walk in all day long. I loved the boots I took, but they were a smidge too tight, or I overdid myself on the 478965322 stairs in Paris, because I left with a stress fracture in one of my feet. Boo. But at least I didn’t notice the pain until the night before we were going back home. Maybe suck it up and wear your flats when hiking up 40 jillion steps, just in case. This last trip I took my Arcopedico booties and had plenty of room for my feet, great insteps, and my feet never hurt. This was extra great, because Edinburgh was basically all uphill cobblestone streets and 45 million stairs. At least I got a lot of exercise.
Look at the weather before you leave, to be sure you’re dressed for your destination. A pair of gloves and a hat are always good companions, because you’ll be thrilled if you have them and need them, or miserable if you leave them at home and have to shell out money for them. We actually had to purchase another hat and scarf for Eric on one trip, who didn’t think he would need them. We didn’t make the same mistake this last time, though we didn’t really need them. Unless you’re hoping for a lame souvenir, throw some in for everyone traveling. It’ll make your life easier.
What is your best winter packing advice?
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Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!
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