I’ve been traveling over the weekend to a small island in the south of Korea (posts and pictures coming soon!) and planning our summer travel to Ireland, so I’ve been thinking about what I’ll need to pack. I like to pack light, being able to carry everything easily and without hassle, yet every time we travel I find myself hauling around items only to find I didn’t want or need them. I’ve learned I really only need 10 essentials for traveling light, even for long trips. Packing light makes my back and my husband happy.
1. Power Y Tank at Lululemon – Layering is key to traveling lightly, so a simple tank is a great place to begin. I wear these tanks from Lululemon – they’re lightweight, supportive, and quick-drying, and look cute alone or as an under-layer. I also practice yoga so this doubles as my workout clothing and saves me space.
2. Vinaysa Scarf at Lululemon – Even in the summer I find myself freezing in airports, trains, and coffee shops under the blast of air-conditioning, so a scarf has come in handy no matter what the season. I love this scarf because it’s rather bulky, but in a good way. It can unclip to become a blanket, be pulled up over your head to create a hoodie, or be folded up to create a bolster for some airport yoga.
3. Maeve Pintuck Peasant Blouse at Anthropologie – I used to pack a cardigan no matter the season, but have found a button-up shirt to be more versatile. It can be worn buttoned-up as a shirt or buttoned down as a cardigan-like cover-up. I am thinking about this new one from Anthropologie to replace my old stand-by that’s gotten pilly.
4. Nadia Dress at Prana – A simple dress that can be covered or worn alone is always useful. This Prana dress is a favorite of mine. It’s wool but I’ve worn it in the winter over leggings and this spring as it’s been getting warmer. It is a very light wool and is sheer enough to be all-season. It doesn’t get smelly, dries quickly, and is extremely comfortable. I love this dress and want to buy it in every color. But I will only bring one with me on trips!
5. Tabby Belt at Anthroplogie – Packing light means leaving a lot of accessories behind, but I find that including one belt helps me feel like some outfits are new, or that I’m a little more dressed up. A simple belt goes nicely over the blouse, dress, and skirt and makes me feel like I’m dressed nicely without hauling around a separate “dressy” outfit.
6. Convertible Maxi Skirt at Nordstrom – It was a big surprise to me when I found out I wanted to live in a maxi skirt when we were traveling around Korea in 2013. I found myself wearing it with my blouse, pulling it up to create a strapless dress (pinned by my belt), or, you know, sleeping in it like a makeshift sleeping bag in gross hostels. Either way, it’s a favorite and goes with me everywhere now.
7. Chaturanga Tight at Athleta – Even in the summer I find having a pair of simple tights handy. Tights keep me warm on airport days. I also tend to sprawl when traveling – legs wide, legs up, legs draped over my husband, so it’s good to have leggings. They also double as workout clothes. I’ve had a pair of the Chaturanga tights from Athleta for two years without stretching or pilling.
8. Chino Shorts at Uniqlo – Simple pair of shorts that can be comfortable for walking, hiking, sitting, eating, etc.
9. Teva Zirra Sandles at REI – Footwear. Sigh. I find footwear to be the hardest part about packing light. It’s hard to find shoes that are comfortable and all-weather and can double as walking, hiking, shower, and going-out shoes. I fell in love with a pair of Clark’s Unstructured shoes that fit the bill a few years ago, but now I won’t purchase leather shoes. After a lot of digging I’ve found a Teva sandle that fits the requirements – cute enough to pair with the maxi skirt or dress for a night out while structured enough for walking and light hiking.
10. Soleil Sachel at Prana – Bags are another dilemma. I want to be reasonable and carry all I need for a day out while still not looking entirely like a tourist carrying around a big backpack. I bought a sachel like this one a few years ago that I love – it goes over the shoulder and can fit a sweater and my DSLR easily while still feeling like a cute purse. After five years I’m needing a replacement. Not sure about this specific Prana sachel (the reviews aren’t so great on the quality), so if you have any recommendations of reasonable travel bags out there let me know.
What about you? Any light-packing essentials you can’t travel without?