People tend to underestimate how important packing properly for a trip is. The right combination of clothes will have you prepared for every activity from swimming to hiking. Proper preparation will also leave you best equipped to handle anything that comes up on your trip.
Here are the 9 tips on how to pack outfits for travel:
- Check the weather and consider the current season.
- Consider the duration of your trip.
- Think about the activities you are going to do.
- Choose clothes that can be easily matched together.
- Write a list before packing.
- Use the packing technique most suitable for your clothes.
- Avoid packing too many clothes of one type.
- Wear the biggest and heaviest pieces on the plane.
- Leave some space in your suitcase.
If you struggle with packing your outfits, this article will provide you with the essential packing rules and tips to help make the process easier, faster, and more efficient. Read until the end to get all the necessary information about organizing your clothes for travel.
1. Check the Weather and Consider the Current Season
Before you start, determine what weather conditions you can expect at your destination. You want to be comfortable and stay safe during your trip, so make sure you consider how to tailor your outfit to the climate while planning your holiday wardrobe.
For Spring and Summer
First, check the weather forecast to see what temperatures are to be expected. In some European regions, for instance, spring and summer can be very misleading and surprise you with cloudy skies and chilly days, while in most of Asia, you can expect it to be hot and sunny.
If you expect to be in the sun, ensure you pack some sunscreen and sunglasses. Pack more clothes for hot weather, such as shorts, skirts, sundresses, and thin, light-colored T-shirts or tank tops.
Don’t forget to add a cardigan or hoodie for cold or rainy evenings. However, avoid packing too many items that aren’t comfortable when it’s hot outside, such as dark jeans or sweaters. They will take up a lot of space in your suitcase, and you likely won’t need them.
For Fall and Winter
Again, find out what temperatures are typical for winter and fall in the region you’re traveling to. In some states, winter is cold and brutal, and snow can be expected starting from November or October, while in others, you will be well off with a sweater and a warm coat.
Do not pack many T-shirts or crop tops, even if they are really pretty and small. You will only have a chance to wear them indoors, and if you intend to travel around and actively explore the city or country, you need to be prepared for the cold.
Focus on packing cozy sweaters, hoodies, comfortable pants or jeans, and warm jackets. If the weather you’re expecting at the place of your destination is very different from what you’re used to, make sure to get appropriate clothes before you go, like a heavy jacket or winter pants.
For Rainy Days
Rain is common in some regions during all seasons, so it is crucial to be prepared for it. Even if you don’t see rain in your weather forecast, it is best to pack something suitable in case it happens.
Start with the boots. You will need a waterproof or water-resistant pair that can be worn in the rain without any damage to the shoes or leaking water so that your feet stay warm and dry.
Pack a coat or something else to throw on when it’s chilly. If you have enough space, definitely pack a raincoat to comfortably travel even if the weather is not great.
Finally, get a small traveling umbrella. You can find options as tiny as your hand that won’t take much space and are easy to carry around.
2. Consider the Duration of Your Trip
The number of clothes you need to pack is also determined by how long you expect to travel. If you’re only going for a few days, three outfits would be enough, but if it’s a fortnight or a month-long trip, you will have to put more effort into your planning.
You can use an easy rule to determine how much you will need. It goes like this:
- Take one warm hat or summer cap, depending on the weather.
- Two pairs of shoes: a comfortable one and a dine-out one for the evening.
- Three bottoms. Try to make them varied: for instance, take a pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, and a skirt.
- Four tops. Again, include different items to be prepared for any situation.
- Five pairs of socks and underwear.
This list is sufficient for a week of traveling. You can multiply by 1.5 for a two-week trip or take half the number of clothes if you’re only going for three days.
3. Think About the Activities You Are Going To Do
Consider the purpose of your trip and your plans for activities during the vacation. If you’re going to the seaside and plan on spending a lot of time on the beach, you will need at least two sets of swimwear, comfortable clothes to change out of or into, and a pair of flip-flops.
If you want to explore the mountains or go tracking, you will need to pack outfits accordingly. Start with a pair of comfortable sneakers that would be good for long walks and active traveling.
Make sure to check recommendations from the locals. If you’re going to the forest, for instance, many recommend covering up even if it’s hot to avoid being stung by insects, so a pair of shorts won’t be a good option.
On the other hand, going to the mountains even during summer can be unpredictable in terms of weather. In some regions, rains are common in the mountains during all seasons, and it can get very cold even if the weather is hot and sunny. Therefore, it is important to pack something warm as well as prepare for rain.
The list can be very long. If you are planning your activities ahead, or know that the region you’re visiting has specific exciting options for active traveling, look up what you will need and make notes about some essentials to pack.
4. Choose Clothes That Can Be Easily Matched Together
The most important part is the mix-and-match. To pack efficiently and get as many outfits as possible while minimizing the number of items you take, you need to coordinate your clothes.
Stick to a Color Scheme
A good place to start would be to decide on a color scheme and choose clothes accordingly. You can look through your wardrobe, determine what colors prevail among your clothing items, and then see what matches them best.
A good idea is to choose a basic neutral color, such as beige, gray, white, or black. These colors can be easily matched with almost anything, making it easy for you to pack some of your favorite bright clothes and have something to wear them with.
On the other hand, if you have many things of one color you particularly like, like green or purple, you can base the selection on it and then choose the rest of your vacation wardrobe among pieces that match it.
However, if you have one pair of green pants that cannot be paired with most of your clothes, it is not a good idea to base your choice on them and then take a bunch of other hard-to-match items.
Sometimes packing forces us to make hard decisions, but if you want to plan your outfits efficiently, do not take things that can’t be coordinated with your other go-to items.
Consider Outfit Options Beforehand
You want to choose the most comfortable and practical clothes and plan all possible outfits at the packing stage. Spread the items you have so far selected on a bed or a couch so you can see them all and start thinking about how they can be matched.
Ideally, you want all tops compatible with all of your bottoms and shoes that can be worn with any of the outfits. However, you don’t have to pack only neutral colors and basic designs. Whatever you choose, make sure to maximize the number of things it can be coordinated with, but if they are not all compatible, that is fine.
As you go through the clothes selected, remove the ones that don’t match the others and replace them with something more suitable. This is also a good chance to reconsider your choices and think about whether you really need what you are going to pack.
By the end, you should have the optimum number of items that can get you multiple good-looking and comfortable outfits.
If you have space left over, try to pack at least one dress, suit or dress shirt in case you need something slightly more formal in a pinch.
5. Write a List Before Packing
Writing a list is one of the best ways to organize your packing. It applies not only to clothes but also to all traveling essentials.
Start writing your list at the beginning of planning your vacation. As you get more precise about planned activities and events, write down what you need for each. For instance, put a nice evening dress on the list if you are planning a fancy dining-out, or put a note that you’ll need a hat for walking in the sun.
Once your list of essentials is ready, coordinate it with the rules described in tip 2. Try to minimize the number of clothes you’ll have to take by picking items suitable for multiple occasions.
Then, move on to planning the outfits. Once you’re done, specify the items you selected on the list. When you’re finished packing, go through the list a couple of times to ensure you don’t forget anything.
6. Use the Packing Technique Most Suitable for Your Clothes
There are three common packing techniques that help you most efficiently organize the space in your suitcase. Each of those techniques works best in different situations. To maximize your benefit, follow these simple tips:
- Roll the tops. Rolling tops, especially if they are ironed beforehand, can reduce wrinkles. It is also easy to roll shirts, so they take up considerably less space. If you want to know more about rolling clothes for travel, I have a few more pointers here.
- Fold bigger items. A coat, for instance, will end up in a huge thick roll but will take up less space if folded flat.
- Use packing cubes for thick layers. Sweaters and other warm clothes are hard to pack efficiently, so packing them in compression packing cubes can help you greatly. You can also use packing cubes to organize the space in your suitcase better.
7. Avoid Packing Too Many Clothes of One Type
As you plan your outfits and select clothes to take with you, make sure not to include multiple similar items. Preparing for all occasions and ensuring you have everything you need should be the top priority, so try to pack one or two pieces of the same type.
Ideally, try to include at least one item of each kind for every category specified in tip 2. Here are some more tips to guide you through the process, assuming you’re preparing for moderately warm weather.
- 2 T-shirts
- 2 tank tops or crop tops
- 1 long sleeve shirt
- 1 hoodie or sweater
- 1 coat or jacket
- 1 or 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 or 2 skirts
- 2 pairs of pants or jeans
- 1 evening and 1 casual dress
- 1 pair of comfortable sneakers
- 1 pair of pretty shoes for going out
8. Wear the Biggest and Heaviest Pieces on the Plane
While packing your suitcase, you should also decide what clothes you’ll wear on the plane. Choose among the items you selected for your trip; there is no need to carry any additional clothing.
Consider wearing the biggest items among what you’ve picked. This allows you to save room while also ensuring that the suitcase meets the airline’s weight limits.
Make sure to select clothes you’ll feel comfortable in during the flight. Sweaters and hoodies usually weigh the most, and wearing them would be a good idea, as it often gets cold on the plane.
9. Leave Some Space in Your Suitcase
Finally, ensure that there is still some room left in your suitcase when you finish packing. Most of the time, you will get souvenirs for friends and family during your trip or go shopping where local prices are reasonable and various brands are available.
It is typical for a suitcase to be much heavier on your way back. Sometimes people even have to buy an extra suitcase to fit all their belongings, while others leave some of their clothes behind.
You will significantly benefit from the free space you leave when packing. If you follow all the tips above, it will be quite easy to ensure the suitcase isn’t filled to its limit.
While packing your outfits, the goal is to minimize the number of items you take, yet be prepared for any occasion. Some of the essential tips include:
- Choosing clothes that can be easily matched
- Preparing for planned activities and weather conditions
- Not packing too many similar items
- Writing a list to organize your packing.
These tips and tricks can help you successfully plan your outfits for the trip and pack them quickly and efficiently.
- New York Times: How To Pack a Suitcase
- FTLO Travel: How Much Should You Pack for a 7 Day Vacation?
- Islands: How to Pack for a Seven-Day Vacation in Only One Carry-On
- YouTube: Travel Tips by Laurie: How to Pack Outfits (6 Steps)
- YouTube: Travel Tips by Laurie: Which Way to Pack is Best (Konmari, Folding, Army Roll, Cubes)
- Crafted Travel: Does Rolling Clothes for Travel Ruin Them?