You picked the climate, the time zone and finalized the travel itinerary. Becoming a regular on Tripadvisor and weather.com. Check. Deep breath. Packing time. Your sartorial mission: how to look less tourist and more troubadour.
While studying abroad, I developed a knack for packing, which I’ve come to find as something of an art form. I’ll never forget my Parisian host Hubert’s face when he first spotted me at the Gard du Nord dressed like a typical American in denim and “trainers” and carrying only a backpack. His first remark: “I hope you brought something smart.”
As I pulled my belongings out of my bag one item at a time – including a black, shimmery evening ensemble – it had somewhat of a Mary Poppins effect resulting in a satisfied smile from Hubert.
Although I’ve always traveled with only a carry-on bag (including my 2-week honeymoon!), the new regulations have made it even more critical to pack creatively. Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
1) Less is more. Edit your choices and don’t bring more than you have time to wear. Lightening your load will leave you space to bring home some local culture fashion finds.
2) Choose a color scheme. If you decide on jewel tones, select accessories, shoes and jewelry that work best. By sticking with a color scheme, you’ll be able to rewear the same shoes and accessories.
3) Make sure to bring at least one pair of “sensible” shoes for sightseeing. If heels are a must, bring sole pads and band-aids!
4) Reinvent: Get creative and visualize a few mix-and-match looks.
5) Must-Have Accessory: a shawl that can transition as a blanket on the plane, a wrap to ward off the chill at night and a sarong for the beach!
6) Stay away from luxury luggage. Big brands + bling = more likely to disappear.
7) Keep your sealed toiletry bag in the same bag as your laptop since you’ll have to bring both out for the security scan.
8) Remember, creative layering is the key.