With Spring in the air I thought I’d do another series of visual posts with a focus on Fall and Spring packing. I feel the similar temperature ranges (anywhere from 40ºF/4ºC to 80ºF/26ºC) for both seasons makes the packing list just about the same. Of course this is just meant to serve as a guideline and you can tweak it based on your travel destination and personal style. The suggestions provided are for city getaways (foreign and domestic) doing the normal range of tourist activities.

The 11 articles of clothing I recommend (1 outerwear, 2 sweaters, 1 Blouse/Button down, 2 layering tanks, 2 tees/tops, 2 jeans/pants, and 1 dress) should get you through a week or several months worth of travel (if you are doing laundry on the road). If you are traveling for less than a week I would eliminate a few items. Refer to my packing light post if you need a few reminders on packing light guidelines.

Packing Essentials for Fall & Spring

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I’m a huge fan of packing a scarf for travel. In fact I consider it an essential. Now that you’ve packed your scarf, what do you with it? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite tutorials to help you get the most out of your scarf.

1. This wonderful graphic from The Fashion Spott helps illustrate loads of looks. Click on through and mouse over each photo to get explanations on how to achieve each look.


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If you’re looking to pack light and look chic while doing it, pack a scarf. A scarf gives you the ultimate in versatility because it takes up little luggage space yet adds to your basic travel wardrobe options. Scarves can go a long way in livening up a neutral travel wardrobe by providing a pop of color, pattern, or texture.

Here’s some other reasons to pack a scarf:

1. If you go to Europe I don’t think they let you into the country unless you are wearing one. Just kidding of course, but it’s amazing to see just about everyone sporting a scarf. If you want to blend in it’s important to wear one.


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Post image for Great Travel Raincoat on Sale!

Wherever I travel I always bring my trusty raincoat even if the weather doesn’t call for it. You just never know and I always would rather be safe than sorry. I always end up using it, even if it’s just as an extra insulating layer.

I bought The North Face Grace Rain Jacket for a 3 1/2 month stay in Argentina that included travel throughout the country. (My clothes for that entire trip fit in my backpack-but I’ll save that for another post). Even though the North Face is known for technical outdoor clothing this rain jacket is definitely more urban chic than camping geek. The fitted style and belted waist give you a flattering look. Best of all, it is lightweight. This makes it an essential piece if you want to pack light.

I paid a pretty penny for this rain jacket but it is now on sale at the REI-outlet online for $129. Still an investment, but it’s a useful outerwear item even if you don’t do a lot of traveling.

Here’s a pic of me wearing the jacket in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento


Post image for Travelista Toiletry Hack – GoToob from Humangear

By now we all know the TSA rules for carrying on toiletries. If you don’t here’s a refresher:

Remember 3-1-1. If you carry-on your toiletries each bottle must weight 3.4 oz (100ml) or less. This applies to liquids, aerosols, or gels. All toiletry items must fit in 1 clear quart size zip top bag. 1 bag per traveler.

If you don’t want to buy travel size toiletries you can transfer your own shampoo, soap, etc. into travel size bottles. I’ve tried many containers (that invariably leak) only to find my self with a ziploc bag full of goop soup upon arrival. If they don’t leak the small openings make them nearly impossible to clean out.

I’ve found my travel container solution with GoToob. These fun little squishy containers come in three different sizes: 1.25 oz., 2.0 oz., and 3 oz.. You can also choose from several different colors. I’ve used them on my last 3 trips and had no leaks.

There is a small dial that you turn to denote what’s inside: Soap, Lotion, Shampoo, etc. The wide mouth on each bottle make them easy to load and wash out when your done. Some even come with a suction cup that proves handy. They cost a little more than what you might find at the drugstore but you’ll find they are well worth it.

These make a great choice for short or long term trips. Remember for longer trips you can always replenish toiletries once you arrive at your destination. Pick up a few and test them out.



Post image for Foolproof Travel Outfit

I find it helpful in my daily and travel life to have a uniform of sorts. When planning my travel wardrobe I like having a few foolproof outfits. A simple formula for packing and planning travel outfits takes some of the agonizing out of the packing process. It also makes it quicker and easier to put together outfits while living out of your carry-on. The formula I’ve laid out isn’t anything groundbreaking but sometimes it just helps to break down outfits into their basic components.

Take my basic guidelines and make it your own by tailoring it to your own style. When assembling your own version of this choose items that fit well and look for travel friendly, lightweight fabrications. Use the examples I’ve shown as a guideline but again tweek the formula to suit your needs.

Skinny jeans work well with either ballet flats, sneakers, or tucked into boots.  Go with a straight-cut, slim boot-cut, or a trouser cut if a skinny fit doesn’t work for you.  A jean legging packs easily and if you find them comfortable by all means bring them.  Flared or bell-bottom jeans look best with a non travel friendly heeled or platform shoe so I wouldn’t suggest these cuts for travel.

Remember, it’s better to wear bulky jeans on travel days rather than to have them take up room in your suitcase. However, if you have packing room to spare wearing leggings on travel day can be a comfortable alternative to jeans. If you simply aren’t a jeans person then of course replace this with your pant (or skirt) of choice.

1. Joe’s Jeans always make it into my suitcase, they make cuts for all body types and are very comfortable.
2. Gap Skinny Bootcut modernizes a favorite fit. These particular ones come in a lightweight fabrication, perfect for travel.
3. Zara straight fit jeans give an effortless Parisian chic feel and you can now order Zara online.
4. Urban Outfitter’s BDG High Waisted Jeans don’t lose their stretch so these are my legging jean of choice and I personally like the high waist fit but they have a mid-waist fit as well.
5. The Loft’s Trouser Jean are a great choice if skinnies aren’t your thing.

A long drapey tee gives plenty of coverage during a travel day when you might find myself reaching into airplane overhead bins and just generally “on the go” more. A simple fitted thin knit tee works as a great base layer or can be dressed up with a scarf. If you want to go a little dressier, a blouse in a comfortable material and unfussy cut (ie. no voluminous bows or ruffles) makes for a chic travel look. Make sure the tee or blouse layers well under a sweater or blazer.

1. Zara Square Shaped T-shirt. I’m a sucker for striped tops, this one is roomy and gives plenty of coverage when worn over jean leggings. The viscose/rayon fabrication also makes this an excellent lightweight, quick drying choice for travel.
2. Stylemint Newbury Tee. I’m loving the three tees I’ve already ordered from Stylemint. The drape and fabrication of the tees go beyond their $29.99 price tag. This 50% supima cotton/ 50% modal blend tee in a classic fitted shape makes for the perfect lightweight layering piece in your travel wardrobe.
3. Zara Linen T-Shirt. One of my favorite tees to pack especially in warmer climates. This tee skims your body without clinging and looks good tucked in or out. (Only $19.90 too!)
4. Eze Sur Mer Trinity Top. This casual blouse would look great layered under a leather jacket or blazer.

The topper is the wildcard in this formula. Change it up to suit your needs and the weather conditions. I usually go for a lightweight cardigan on travel days. A pullover sweater layered over a tee works well in cooler weather. If you’re landing somewhere cold make sure to carry on a coat as well.  Another option is a day blazer (one with a less structured cut than a business suit blazer) or a leather jacket.

1. Splendid Cardigan serves as a casual and easy top layer. The 50% modal, 50% cotton fabric means it will be lightweight and dry quickly.
2. Gap V-Neck Jersey Pullover also comes in a lightweight fabrication and is a great layering piece.
3. A blazer like this Oona Blazer adds polish to travel outfits. I like an unstructured one that packs easily.
4. A classic coat shape like this one from Nordstrom keeps you warm in cold climates.

If there’s one must-have for travel it is a scarf. You must always travel with a scarf. A scarf brings together your travel wardrobe and elevates even the most basic of travel outfits. Even a simple tee-shirt and jeans ensemble looks deliberate with the addition of a scarf. You can go with a pattern that co-ordinates with your travel palette or go with a contrasting or matching solid. I like to pick up scarves from markets or street vendors wherever I visit as a souvenir. If you don’t want to wear it as part of your travel ensemble tuck it into your carry-on so that you have an extra layer handy in case temperatures drop.

1. Zara Leopard Print Scarf. This scarf works well with neutrals especially with black and the pattern isn’t overwhelming.
2. Halogen Mercerized Wool Wrap. A wrap style scarf is practical and stylish, this one comes in several colors.
3. Madewell Faraway Feathers Scarf. This pattern would add a nice dose of color to travel neutrals.
4. O by Oscar de la Renta Stole. A substantial scarf adds drama while keeping you warm.
5. Zara Polka Dot Scarf. Scarves give you a chance to introduce trends into your travel outfits.
6. Theodora & Callum Paintburst Scarf. A bold scarf livens up travel neutrals.

Choose any stylish comfortable shoe. I love my flat boots, ballet flats, and sandals for traveling. Alternative options include Converse sneakers, loafers, desert boots, and oxfords. Keep in mind the amount of walking you’ll be doing when selecting footwear. If you don’t choose a comfort brand of shoe, customize your shoes with gel pads and inserts to get the most comfortable blister-free fit possible.

1. Clarks. These classic desert boots pair well with skinny jeans, dresses and skirts. I’m not a huge fan of cropped pants but these would give a nice edge to fitted cropped cargo’s or with rolled up skinny jeans.
2. Short, slouchy boots accommodate skinny and straight cut pants in a casually cool way. They are easy to get on and off and with a cushiony sock you’re not as likely to get blisters.
3. Softspots Adell Boot. I love a flat boot for travel, they bring a stylish touch to skinny jeans, skirts, and dresses.
4. Naturalizer Yadira Flat. A simple pair of black flats with a nod towards comfort are well suited for travel.
5. Look for Cole Haan flats that come cushioned with Nike Air technology for added comfort. This basic ballet flat serves as a versatile shoe for travel.
6. Dansko Professional Clogs. Not a sexy shoe at all but for many of my European trips I wore these and after countless steps over cobblestoned streets I never got one single blister. The platform gives extra height and they are waterproof. They pair well with trouser cut pants and leggings but not skinny jeans (at least not on me).
7. Leopard print adds some interest to these simple thong sandals by Sam Edelman.
8. The Gizeh sandal from Birkenstock gives a little boho touch to a comfortable fit.
9. If you’re going to do a lot of walking the Dansko Sissy Sandal won’t let you down. Once again not the sexiest shoe I know, but my feet were a lot happier for wearing them on my last trip to Thailand.

Hope this helps next time you pack your bags. Do you have any favorite foolproof packing outfits? Feel free to share them in the comments section. Happy Packing!

* Header images from Totokaeolo Boutique based in Seattle.

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