A difficult but necessary part of every travel experience is packing your suitcase.
It’s a little easier in summer, when bathing suits, lightweight shirts, shorts, sun dresses and flip flops don’t take up much room in your luggage. Winter travel wardrobes are much bulkier, but still pretty straightforward — jeans, sweaters, thick socks, boots.
It’s those times in between seasons, like now, that can trip us up. What do you take when the temperature can be 60 degrees one day and 90 degrees the next, or when it fluctuates constantly as the day progresses? It’s important to bring the right type of clothing in the right amounts so you stay comfortable on your trip. However, you could be out of luck if you bring too much or too little.
The most important tip is to learn how to layer. This can help eliminate too many unnecessary outfits. Bring a few key outerwear pieces to wear when the weather is cool, like jackets, sweatshirts and long pants. These items you’ll likely wear multiple times, depending on the need. Pack lightweight long-sleeved shirts, T-shirts and tank tops to wear underneath or on their own throughout the week.
Bring at least one pair of open-toed shoes for warmer days and one pair of protective close-toed shoes, plus enough socks (and underwear, of course) to last the duration of the trip. RealSimple.com suggests wearing your heaviest pair of shoes in the car or plane so they don’t take up room in your luggage.
“I always check the weather (before leaving),” Brittany Bremer says.
This is smart not only in between seasons like summer and fall, but when traveling to places where the climate is different than the one you live in. Mountainous areas usually are cool, and the weather gets colder the higher you go. Deserts tend to be hot and dry during the day but the temperature can plunge when the sun goes down. Familiarize yourself with your destination’s weather patterns so you know if you’ll need hats, sunglasses, an umbrella or other weather-related gear.
Keep in mind your own personal comfort, as well. Even if you can expect warm temperatures at your destination, that doesn’t always mean you’ll feel warm all the time.
”I also know that I tend to get cold easily, so I’ll pack jackets for indoors and evening,” Ms. Bremer says.
If you’re worried about fitting all your items in your suitcase, there are many tips and tutorials online that show you how to fold, roll and consolidate clothes for a more compact fit. Be aware of your airline’s baggage fees and weight requirements, since most companies charge for checked bags. If price or space isn’t an issue, some people like to bring an extra empty bag to cart home dirty laundry, new clothes or souvenirs at the end of the trip so not everything is crammed in one.