How to Pack (Fashionably) Light for Cold Weather TravelAir, Europe, France, Italy, Packing & Wardrobe, Planning — By Mary T on April 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm
No one wants to stick out like a sore thumb in a yellow windbreaker in Europe, where style is as essential as a morning espresso, but what’s a budget traveler to do in the middle of winter? LG Asia-Pacific Editor Mary Tan shares some of her flash-packing tips.
Before my 2-month trip to France/Italy in December, I was having absolute packing nightmares. Figuring out what not to bring with me was my biggest problem!
Normally, I would recommend the ‘thermals-and-windbreaker’ option, but if you’re a bit of a (frugal) fashionista who doesn’t want to be slopping around the fashion capitals of the world in bright red polyester and stick out like a sore thumb along Champs-Elysees, you may want to read on!
The Best Laid Plans…
First, find out what the weather will be like. Snow, rain, humid, dry, hot in the day, freezing by night?
Next, make a list! Have any idea of the activities you will be doing — hiking and cocktail parties don’t really match. Try to have the list with you so that whenever you think of something else, you can scribble it down.
Next step? Edit ruthlessly. If you find yourself thinking just in case… don’t bring it! Similarly, forget things that are too avant-garde or edgy — stick with classic and versatile pieces that go with each other and can be used for night and day. If any of your items will only be used once, don’t bring it; find a versatile substitute instead.
What Should You Invest In?
Basic tops like sweaters, cardigans and thermals are easy to find anywhere, and are usually quite cheap, so throw a couple in your luggage (in primary colors) and don’t worry too much. The same goes for jeans, tights, sneakers and even little things like socks. There are other items that are worth investing a little more money in for that extra mileage.
A Little Black Dress (LBD) in a jersey/knit fabric will be your best friend in the evening. Just change it up with different accessories that you could purchase while traveling. Avoid anything made from hard-to-manage fabric or is too fragile.
Invest in at least one good coat , in a bright color, interesting style and warm fabric. This is the fastest and best way to dress up a simple sweater-and-jeans combo without much effort.
Sturdy, comfortable leather boots are a must-have and a good pair will last through multiple travels.
One seriously reliable bag that is just big enough for daily necessities, yet small enough that you won’t be knocking people over in a bus.
Find one you can carry comfortably for hours and has pockets so you can compartmentalize and find things easily.
Two-in-one products may not optimize your skin and hair, but basic hygiene is more convenient than luxury. Find products that you can use for body and face, body and hair, etc.
And Away We Go!
Figuring out what to take with you is one thing; getting it all in your bag is quite another.So what’s the trick? Roll it up! I swear by this technique. Do it right and your luggage capacity will double before your eyes. Stuff socks, tights and other ‘small’ fabrics down your shoes and boots to save space as well as maintain the shape of your footwear.
(And there isn’t a rule against sitting on your suitcase. Do it if you need to!)
Another pack-smart tip? Pack by ‘look’ instead of item. For instance, pack a tank top, long sweater, tights and scarf together, or a turtleneck and jeans. Pair the right underwear with them. This makes it easier to grab out of your bag without having to sift through all your clothes!
When you arrive at your destination, just have fun! Remember that ultimately, no one really cares what you wear as long as you have the right attitude and spirit. You will quickly realize that you are far more resourceful than you had ever imagined.
Read more of Mary’s travels at http://maryaroundtheworld.blogspot.com.