europe travel tips | packing light
just the other day a rep i work with commented: “you don’t travel very much, do you?” to which i sat for a moment in stunned silence. “moi?” the one who navigated not one but five djalali’s around the world at any given moment? for over a decade?! okay, to be truthful, mr. style always had a top-notch assistant who booked any (and almost all) travel arrangements, but i was the one who knew ‘who’ was on first and ‘what’ was on second and made certain all the ducklings were where they needed to be, safely. including myself. because at any given moment one of us was competing at a soccer tournament in Thailand or attending a MUN conference in South Korea or mr. style jetted off to Japan or Australia on a business junket. or maybe it was spring break, and we decided to head to Bali for a little R&R. or it was freshman year at university and mom flew home, drove said child to school, unpacked belongings, cried then boarded a plane bound for our home away from home.
after i got over the shock of my current travel status (or lack thereof) i had to chuckle. it’s true! we don’t head off on foreign adventures anymore. as a matter of fact, mr. style thinks the best va-cay is the one where we pile in the car and drive (not fly) no more than five hours and call it a day. this is a man, mind you, that has lived on four out of five continents, and speaks three languages fluently. thank goodness Hilton Head, Ashville, Charleston, and Savannah all fall within his travel moratorium! lucky for me, he’s happy to book a ticket to visit one of our kiddos. praise the lord they live in world-class cities – NYC and San Francisco. don’t forget Atlanta is a mere hop, skip, and a jump from Athens. but these days, we’re the happy campers who love to pitch their tent at home and dine al fresco on the screened porch.
guess what? that’s all about to change as my main squeeze, and i are packing our kit bags and zipping off to europe on tuesday for two weeks. that’s right! europe. if you’re so inclined to follow along there will be plenty of ‘behind the scenes’ footage on Instagram Stories. don’t worry, there will be several blog posts set in Paris, Florence, Rome or Vienna as i’ve gathered together a capsule travel wardrobe which you’ll see put to good use. the temps range from the low sixties to mid-eighties, so i have my work cut out for me.
today, we’ll kick off this mini-series in the making with five must-have travel wardrobe staples. the key to packing smart is finding key pieces you can wear virtually anywhere. luggage space is precious. if i’m packing light, only versatile garments make the cut – ones that can be mixed and matched for two weeks straight. and still, keep me at the top of my style game while traipsing over cobblestone streets. can i do it? i’ll give it the old college try and share my tips along the way.
style tip: pick a neutral color palette. for this trip, i chose black, white, and navy. yes, i love color and wear it often. but remember, ladies, a 25″ suitcase is what i’m working with. for a pop of color pack a scarf.
speaking of suitcases, any stress-free, successful trip needs organization. especially since we carry more devices than we can count. so mr. style and i made a mad dash to the Georgia Mall located in Buford to check out a snazzy under seat suitcase that eliminates the hassle of finding bin space. it also has a front pocket that accommodates a 14″ laptop and all of his camera gear. mr. style liked the Helium Shadow from Delsey so much that he decided to buy the matching 25″ spinner with a TSA accepted lock, overweight indicator handle, and convenient front pocket opening. now he thinks i’m jealous since i have to weigh my tried-and-true Samsonite with a luggage scale. he might be right…
black pants – choose a comfortable fabric. ponte, stretch crepe, seasonless wool, and jersey are all great choices. for this trip, Ann Taylor ankle pant in seasonless stretch made the cut.
denim – what can i say about blue jeans except they are durable, versatile, comfortable and dark enough to hide stains. a classic dark rinse denim from J.Crew found its way into my travel lineup.
tee shirt – constructed from soft materials like cotton, linen or rayon the perfect tee is endlessly comfy, versatile, and takes up little space. i love to wear one on the plane, pack an extra one in my carry-on, and a few rolled up in my suitcase.
sweater – sweaters take up more suitcase space so choose wisely. weather-permitting cardigans can replace a bulky jacket. cashmere is tissue soft and perfect for chilly temps. take a look at J.Crew’s ballet inspired wrap cardigan. eileen fisher and chico’s have terrific travel options too. don’t forget lightweight v-necks or crew necks.
all season blazer – this is an item that performs on the plane, windy walks to the coffee shop, or pop one over a tee and blue jeans and you have instant glam and access to any cafe. i chose a Regent Stand Collar Blazer that’s sleek with a slightly longer length.
tomorrow i’ll share my travel wardrobe capsule. happy mother’s day!
is the Founder and CEO of Style at a Certain Age. She writes Sundays-Fridays on all topics ranging from fashion, health, wellness, home design and more.
She’s 63, 5’8, and size 8.
I just returned from two weeks in northern Europe. It was spring (actively snowing at home, about 10 days after snow there), which meant bulkier, warmer jackets, scarves and ankle boots were needed. Tulip and cherry blossom season does tend to be cool.
I stuck to black and grey. Most days i wore jeans and my black suede Sketchers on those cobblestones. Cardigans over tank tops or short-sleeved knit tops did the trick. I carried it all in a 25″ Delsey.
Spring is a wonderful time to travel to Europe. Have fun!
One of the key things to remember that helps to minimize the number of items you bring is that you’re not seeing the same people every day (other than travel partners) so you can wear the same outfit several times in a short period of time.
Soak wash (www.soakwash.com) comes in single use packs that are great for washing undies in the sink, or 90 ml/3 oz bottles for multiple use.
I am excited to see how you make this happen. I have a lot to learn about packing light!
Have a great trip! I have always been a peripatetic person–travel is my middle name! And yes–neutrals and colorful scarves, a colorful sweater,–all good for being on the road. It’s amazing how many outfits you can create out of just a few basics. And I also usually wear a jacket on the plane and take a wrap. I can always buy a pretty scarf or item on the road as a keepsake from a trip.
I will look forward to your travels–enjoy!! I love heading out on an adventure.
Beth is there any chance you could show us how to tie the black and white scarf like you did?? It looks fabulous.
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