How to travel light and chic
Travel light and chic with just a carry-on and a backpack – pp (canva)

Showcasing your personal style while traveling can be challenging. You can bring hundreds of clothing options and have to lug around a heavy suitcase or pack next to nothing and travel light. Not to mention when you have a heavy suitcase, you run the risk of an overweight baggage charge, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This handy article explains how to travel light and stay stylish. 

1. Define Your Style

Your personal style is one of the many ways you can express yourself at home and while traveling. Not everyone has a defined personal style, or their style is changing. Whether you love a dark and moody or a cottage core aesthetic, you need to start by defining your style. 

Defining your style can be done by looking at friends’ wardrobes, in magazines, or online to further understand what kind of clothes you like. To determine what kind of clothes look and feel good on you, take a trip to the store of your choice for window shopping and try on clothes. Take pictures and notes to create a collage at home to get a good visual of your personal style.

Take some time to analyze what types of clothes you are adding to your board. Are they all trendy pieces? Do they have lots of bright colors? The key to traveling light is picking pieces that are a nod to your personal style and are timeless pieces. Keep an eye out for items of clothing that can be mixed and matched with items you already have or can be styled with more than three items in your wardrobe. 

Once you define what style and types of clothes you like, you can learn to pack clothes you will love and want to wear while you’re on vacation. 

2. Research Online

Doing some online research will help you create your collage or mood board to give you the best visual of your style. Check the websites of stores you usually visit or use Pinterest to help gather images. Creating a Pinterest board or printing the photos will help you gather all the images you find in one place. 

When researching online, try to find classic pieces like t-shirts, jeans, black trousers, tank tops, and skirts in neutral colors; that way, they can be paired with a colored item you already have or one you can purchase. These classic pieces will help you build a timeless wardrobe that is easy to refresh or replace.

3. Start In The Closet

You’ll already find many items you know and love in your closet. When building a capsule wardrobe, try to find items that match multiple pieces of clothing in your wardrobe. For example, if you have a band tee you absolutely love, try and see how many bottoms you can match it with. 

The goal is to have items that are easily matched with others to create many outfit combinations. This is an excellent time to donate some items that won’t fit into your capsule wardrobe or items you don’t reach for or are out of style. See what pieces you need and make a note for when you are shopping to only purchase those.

Try to steer clear of trendy pieces that will only be in fashion for a few months. This contributes to fast fashion and doesn’t serve you when it comes to creating a long-lasting wardrobe.

4. Create Your Wardrobe

This is the fun part! Now that you know what you have at home and you know what is missing, you can head to the mall! Bring your list of missing pieces and try to stick to it. If you see a piece you really love, try and see if it will match with 3-4 other items of clothing; if it doesn’t, it’s best to leave it on the rack.

Create your outfit combinations
Create your outfit combinations – canva

5. Consider Your Destination

Now that your capsule wardrobe is ready to go, it’s time to start packing. When packing, the most important tip is to consider your destination. You won’t need flip-flops or a bathing suit if you’re hiking in the Andes, will you? 

Take some time to consider the climate of the destination you’re traveling to and what activities you’ll be doing there. If you’ll be swimming, hiking, or in a cold climate, bringing the necessary gear is important. If you’re still unsure what you should be bringing, check out this article on the top 37 travel essentials to give you a good idea of the things you’ll need 

6. Pack Efficiently 

Only pack clothes that are necessary for the activities you’re doing and how many days you are going. Roughly plan out what you will do each day, and plan an outfit for it. If you go for 5 days, you might only need 5 outfits. Remember that clothes like heavy sweaters and denim jeans don’t need to be washed after one wear. Popular brands like Levis actually advise against it! 

Here are a few good advice on what to bring depending on your trip durations:

There’s much debate about whether rolling or folding your clothes is the best way to pack them, and the jury’s still out on it. If you’re a roller or a folder, it doesn’t matter if you purchase some vacuum seal bags. These bags take all the air out, making your clothes more compact. Try to find bags on Amazon or big department stores that don’t require a vacuum to seal them for maximum efficiency.

7. Choose The Right Bag For Travel

The right bag is crucial to the packing game. Do you prefer a backpack or a carry-on suitcase? Choose an option that best fits you and the destination. If you’re sightseeing in Rome, you won’t want to roll a suitcase over the cobblestone streets, or if you’re at a resort, a backpack might make you stick out. A good traveler has both a backpack and a carry-on in their closet to fit any situation.

If you’re traveling with a carry-on, it’s best to choose a sturdy brand like Samsonite or Monos that is reputable and has a warranty. Choosing a hard-side suitcase is the best option to protect your belongings while flying.

If you’re traveling with a backpack, choosing a sturdy hiking backpack with an internal frame for stability and back support is a good idea. It’s a good idea to choose a backpack that has straps that can be easily tucked away. Great brands to choose from would be Osprey or Arc’teryx.

8. Protect Your Clothes

Protecting your clothes from packing to unpacking is super important. If you already have your clothes tucked away in vacuum seal bags, that’s excellent, but if you choose not to use them, it’s a good idea to purchase some quality packing cubes. Make sure you have an extra to keep dirty clothes in. Packing cubes will help protect your clothes from damage or dirt caused by shoes or other gear. 

Dresses are especially important (you don’t want wrinkles on them!). Here’s our list of the best methods to pack your dresses into a suitcase.

9. Laundry Day Abroad

If you’re planning long-term travel, it’s still possible to pack light and stay stylish. Most seasoned travelers swear by handwashing and have horror stories of being unable to find a laundromat or having a laundry service ruin their clothes. 

If you’re traveling long term, try and find a laundromat to wash your clothes, but always keep a Scrubba wash bag and Tru Earth laundry strips on hand to make handwashing a breeze. A small travel clothesline can help you line-dry your clothes. This method takes a little work but ensures your clothes stay safe and fresh. 

10. Go Shopping

It’s always fun to go shopping while traveling. It’s also a great way to pack light on your way to your destination. When you arrive, you can go shopping for a new dress or top to complete your wardrobe, and it makes a fun souvenir to take home. 

Shop at your destination and expand your wardrobe more
Shop at your destination and expand your wardrobe more – cottonbro studio (pexels)


What is the best clothing for traveling light?

The best clothing for traveling light is anti-wrinkle and moisture-wicking materials like Polyester, nylon, and bamboo. These fabrics are also quick-drying, making them great for washing on the go. 

What color clothes are great for traveling? 

Colors like black, navy, tan, white, and grey are great for traveling as they are neutral colors and can be paired well with other items. 

What is the 6,5,4,3,2,1 method of packing?

This packing method streamlines your wardrobe and works best for a week-long trip. Pack 6 pears of underwear, 5 socks, 4 shirts, 3 pants, 2 pairs of shoes, and 1 hat.

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