In a 2017 study by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, 49% of vacationers said that packing caused them to stress. 51% of respondents said that they would give up alcohol for a month or social media for a week if it meant they didn’t have to pack. We are going to have to do something about this! Keep reading for my simple, carry-on luggage only travel capsule wardrobe formula.
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Before we start, I have three foundation rules when it comes to packing for any destination, for any amount of time.
- Choose a colour palette and stick to it, because you want everything to mix and match as much as possible. This will reduce the overall volume you need to pack.
- Select natural fabrics as much as possible, because they are breathable and therefore need washing less often—think cotton, linen, silk, merino wool, cashmere and alpaca. The only exception is for rainwear, swimwear and items you need to be waterproof.
- If you want to be a true carry-on connoisseur you need to pack for a one-week block maximum, and be prepared to wash and re-wear for subsequent weeks. This means you’ll need to throw in some laundry soap, or at pinch you can use the shampoo or bar soap in your hotel room. I’ve been carrying around the same 125g bar of Sard Eucalyptus Wonder Soap Stain Remover for years now, and I mean something like 7 years. I use it to clean underwear, socks and sometimes larger items in the hotel sink. It’s also great for spot cleaning spills or small marks on an item that is otherwise good to re-wear.
The 3-2-1 travel capsule wardrobe formula
Three tops – I like to mix it up with one long sleeve, one short sleeve and one tank to give me options for varying weather or even layering the pieces together if need be. All your tops need to work with all your bottoms. (Tops thrifted through Thredup)
Two bottoms – Remember we are packing for a seven-day block only, so if all three tops can be mixed and matched with your two bottoms, you have six days-worth of outfits already. I like to have one long and one short bottom, for example a pair of shorts and long linen pants or jeans. (Jeans pictured from Patagonia. Silk shorts and capris from Grana)
One dress or jumpsuit – A one-piece outfit that you can take from day to evening by changing up your accessories – shoes, bag and jewellery. (Dress pictured above is Marc by Marc Jacobs thrifted through Thredup)
One swimsuit, sarong, sunglasses and hat – Select one swimsuit and a sarong or coverup, along with one pair of sunglasses and a hat. (Swimsuit and sarong pictured from Jets by Jessika Allen)
Two bags – A casual day bag such as small backpack or tote, and a clutch or evening bag. (Tote picture by Beach’d and clutch thrifted through TheRealReal)
Three shoes – You can usually get by on just two pairs, a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair of dressy sandals/wedges for the evening but depending on your destination and/or activities you may need flip flops or a pair of water shoes. (Shoes pictured by Vans, Aleader and Sseko)
Unlimited – Underwear, socks and small accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses and lightweight scarves are unlimited but remember you are only packing for 7-days.
Keep an eye out for my winter/cold climate travel capsule wardrobe formula which will be out soon. For more packing inspiration, see the clothing essentials that I pack trip-after-trip.
Peace, love & inspiring travel,