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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Are You Packed for Your Fall Travel?

Fall is coming and many people, including myself, will be traveling. The most annoying part of traveling in the Autumn is figuring out what to pack for the everchanging weather. We've gone where it's been much colder than expected and also when it has felt like the middle of summer. So, what have I learned? Layering is important and necessary.

The most annoying part of traveling in the Autumn is figuring out what to pack for the everchanging weather. Here's how to do it.
This is a staple outfit for my travels

When I travel during the fall, I choose mostly lightweight fabrics that breathe and then pack a few pieces that can be worn over the top if I need extra warmth. I choose a neutral palette for bottoms, so all the tops I wear will go with them. I also usually bring a dark cardigan for layering. It won't show most dirt and it won't matter if I wear it multiple days in a row and it won't look grungy if I end up just slinging it over my purse. 

Here are my suggestions for a mix and match wardrobe for feminine dressing travelers:

top to bottom left to right: Prana pants, Prana lightweight pants, Columbia PFG button-
moisture-wicking long-sleeve shirts, Prana sweater dress, Pact v-neck tees, chunky
, long packable rain jacket, Skechers ballet flats, Skechers walking sneakers 

You can look good on vacation, be practical, and still be comfortable, too. This is what I want for every trip, because walking all day long can be tiring and you don't want to feel restricted when you're in the middle of a city and can't run back to the room to change. I bring a pair of plain black pants, which are stretchy and can double as dress-up pants. These are normally the ones I wear on the plane. They're the lightweight pair that are perfect if it's warmer out. 

My second pair of pants will either be a heavier black pant or a pair of stretchy jeans. I'm partial to the Denizen or Signature skinnies from Levi, but if you prefer a straight leg, because you're not an old person like me, you do you. They're affordable, often come in darker washes or even black, and they have elastane, so if you eat a big meal, you won't feel like circulation to your legs has been cut off. (Tip for traveling with denim: they take a looooooong time to dry, so unless they are visibly dirty - another reason to go for dark wash or black - don't wash them. This is the same rule that applies at home.)

For tops, I opt for a couple t-shirts, one or two long sleeve tops that will work to layer over those t-shirts, and a nicer looking shirt that is still practical. I plan to do laundry when I go anywhere, so I try not to take more than 5 shirts in total (usually, including my travel day top). I like the long-sleeve shirts above, because they come in a pack of 4 for less than $30, so there's always a new color you can rotate in, depending on your trip. I add a cardigan for when it gets chilly. I love a chunky one, but if you aren't sure it's going to be that cold, a lighter one (like this) is a good alternative and isn't too bulky to wear under a coat.

If you're a dress person, throwing one (or more, if you don't really do pants) is an easy outfit for the day and can be dressed up for a more put together look with a few accessories, like a statement necklace. Prana makes great ones that are breathable and super comfy. I have several summer dresses from them that I could throw a jacket over and add some tights to make them more fall-ready.

You never know if it may rain or get colder than expected when you travel in the Fall, so I never leave home without a rain jacket. I look for one that's longer than your standard jacket, so it not only covers your butt if it's really coming down, but it looks nice with a dress, if you're wearing one. They are more user-friendly than an umbrella, because they serve more than one purpose (you can wear it as an outer layer for extra warmth), leave your hands free for things, and don't leave a drippy trail of water all over the place. 

When it comes to shoes, I try to get away with only two pair (though I will throw a pair of flip flops into my bag if I think I'll be able to hit up the pool or hot tub on my trip). You want them both to be good walking shoes, because there's nothing worse than your feet hurting halfway through the day and then changing into even worse shoes for the evening. I always bring a pair of sneakers, which I wear on the plane, and then either a pair of packable booties (I have these and they are wonderful) or ballet flats for when you need something less casual. All of these pieces can be packed into a small carry-on, or even a larger personal item like a backpack. 

top to bottom left to right: lightweight Columbia pants in two colors, a Columbia button-
down casual shirt
, a sweater hoodie, a light cardigan, a polo, 2 moisture-wicking t-shirts,
a rain jacketreversible beltSkechers sneakers, Skechers loafers 
 Are you a masculine dressing person? Then here is my packing list for you, and pretty much what I pack for Eric when we go anywhere during the cooler months: 

Two pairs of pants. He doesn't wear jeans, so I have him wear a pair of khakis, or similar lightweight pants, from Columbia or another company that makes moisture-wicking clothing. Then I pack a darker pair that can be worn as dress pants. Most men wear belts and I purchased a special travel belt that is reversible, so whatever your color palette, your belt can be black or flipped over to be brown, allowing it to match everything.

A casual button-down shirt is a must, as is a couple of t-shirts (the blue ones in the pic come in a pack of 2 and are quick-drying), then a nicer shirt, like a polo for a nicer dinner out or a theater performance. 

Eric loves a hoodie at home, and since I like everything to do double-duty, I have replaced his daily fleece ones with a nice knit black one. It's nice looking for an extra layer and is still comfortable. Another option, or a second option, is a cardigan. These look great on almost everyone and can give the illusion of being put together without much effort. 

A packable rain jacket is great for every traveler and this one is a bit longer than the usual rain coats for men, so your entire backside isn't soaked through while out sightseeing in the rain. 

Again, I limit shoe selection to two. I know most guys are happy with just one pair, but a backup is always good, plus a nicer pair are needed if you're going somewhere that you're dressing up a bit. Luckily, a lot of walking shoe companies make loafers for men, so if they really only want to bring one pair of shoes, this would be the ones to wear. Otherwise, I suggest a good sneaker for everyday walking.

All these pieces can also fit in a small carry-on or a backpack, giving you the option to just get off the plane and go. You can view the whole list in one place on Amazon.

I don't generally travel alone, but when I do, I always opt for packing into a personal-size item that can fit under my seat, because I'm short and I have anxiety with getting things in the overhead on my own when people are waiting for me to get in my seat. This has helped me to be a better lightweight packer overall. If I'm traveling with Eric, depending on where we go ,we've been known to pack in two small bags that can fit under our seats or one bigger carry-on and a personal item (so I can bring my laptop). The key to packing this way is to make a packing list, like the one above, make sure every top you pack goes with every bottom, and practice. 

The more you practice packing fewer things, the easier it gets. Each trip, you'll find you took things that you never wore and you can leave it out next time. This will go on until you have the perfect travel capsule wardrobe and you know how to swap out things for seasons and when things get too worn or you purchase new things. I always buy a few new things for each trip, but I also find that I gravitate towards some of the same pieces every time I pack, so I definitely know my own travel style now.

What are some of the things that you have trouble with packing light when you travel?

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