As I mentioned in my post about finding women’s travel pants, I’ve had a hard time packing light for my favorite style of travel — the multi-activity trip. I like doing lots of outdoor activities, where I’ll likely need hiking boots and a ton of sunscreen, but I also want to stay in nice hotels and go to good restaurants and mix in some cultural activities along with the great outdoors stuff. I’ve basically had two separate wardrobes: one for the nice stuff, and another much less attractive one for the outdoor stuff. But with a lot of research, I’ve been able to find clothes that work for both — performance fabrics that are lightweight, quick dry, and moisture-wicking but also attractive and stylish. Although having a stylish travel wardrobe isn’t as important when we go to Costa Rica where everything is pretty casual, it does make me feel better to pack some nicer clothes when traveling to Europe or large U.S. cities. But dragging around heavy luggage full of hiking clothes, yoga clothes, and dressy clothes is exhausting and puts a damper on traveling.
For our upcoming trip to Spain, I’m determined to pack carry-on only. I’ve been working on this for two months, and I’ve finally got the clothes thing down. Now if I can cut back on the huge amount of liquids that I usually travel with, I’ve got it! (I’ve been trying out all sorts of non-liquid toiletries, and a video review is coming soon.)
This video shows what I’ve packed for a 12-day trip and how I packed 13 pieces + underwear into one packing cube that ended up weighing a total of 5 pounds. You could also split this into two packing cubes if you want to put one in your luggage and one in your tote bag.
This is an extensive wardrobe that I may cut back on before I leave, but it only takes up a fraction of my carry-on, leaving plenty of room for those dang hiking boots that I can’t seem to leave home. (They take up so much room in a suitcase, but I can’t stand wearing them on long flights. In fact, my husband and I joke about renting a small storage space in L.A. just to keep a pair of hiking boots in it so we don’t have to travel back and forth with them!) I have to give credit to Travel Fashion Girl for the packing cube idea. I thought these cubes were just for organizing, but she had a video on her website showing how to use them to compress your clothes. Thank you, Travel Fashion Girl!! (She has lots of ideas for a younger, back-packing-oriented wardrobe, so if that’s more your style, visit her her website.)
Watch the video to see how it’s done, and please visit my shop page if you’d like to buy anything. I couldn’t find links to a few of my older pieces, but I picked items that were similar. Some of these clothes are expensive, but good quality clothing will last you a long time, and performance fabrics are always more costly. I particularly love things from Anatomie and Icebreaker (the boxes on the lower right side of this page will take you to their shops.). I wear them for everyday use as well as travel, so I get my money’s worth — and they look so much nicer than my travel clothes from REI. Happy Travels!