Less baggage means less time figuring out what to wear, greater ease moving from point to point – and more space to stash your holiday shopping.
I love travelling to temperate countries in early or late summer.
With up to 15 hours’ of daylight per day, strange new destinations appear safer and more welcoming, encouraging me to see and do more, and stay out later. My favourite stone fruit, nectarines and cherries, are at their luscious, perfumed best. Packing (and unpacking, and repacking, if you cover multiple cities) is way less tedious compared to travelling during winter, when there are clunky items such as down jackets, sturdy boots and all sorts of woolly bots and bobs to contend with.
During a month-long trip to Spain and Portugal last summer, I pretty much managed to fit everything I needed into one cabin-sized suitcase — which made catching various trains, planes and automobiles between cities that much easier.
1. Eight outfits is all you need
Whether you’re travelling for seven, 14, 21 or 28 days (or more), just do your laundry every seven days, and you’ll never run out of clean clothes.
2. Dresses are your BFF
Forget that oft-cited tip about mixing and matching a whole bunch of separates in a monochromatic or limited colour palette. You’ll be bored to tears, and isn’t summer dressing all about bright colours, cheerful prints and nautical stripes anyway? I found that cotton-spandex jersey dresses (in slip, tee, tank and halter styles) are by far the fastest and easiest way to effortlessly pulled together. Pack six in total (two each in knee-, calf- and maxi lengths). Choose from neutrals such as black, white and grey, prints such as stripes, florals, checks, and of course, any of your favourite happy hues.
3. Factor in a couple of “chilly weather” options
Temperatures can suddenly take a dip on rainy days, windy nights by the coast, when you’re up in the hills, and of course, when you’re on the plane. So make room for items that’ll help keep you cosy — a hoodie or chunky cardi, a silk-cashmere blend shawl, two to three tunic tees, a pair of jeggings, and a pair of yoga tights.
4. Halve the amount of lingerie you’d normally pack.
Microfibre undies dry really quickly. Your bikini tops can double up as bras — plus their straps look a lot cuter peeking out from beneath revealing summer tanks/halters.
5. Throw in three lightweight, loose-weave summer scarves.
These add more polish to your dresses or tunic/jeggings outfits, help you fake a different #ootd despite the fact you’re repeating outfits, and keep the sun and chilly breezes at bay. They also come in handy for visiting places of worship such as cathedrals.
6. Limit footwear to three pairs, none of which are heels.
Namely, one pair of flip flops or pool slides, one pair of dressy flat sandals (in a metallic shade such as silver, bronze or gold) and your most comfy pair of sneakers in a neutral shade such as white or grey.
7. Skip your heavy hardware-laden leather bag.
You’ll probably need to tote around sunnies, a hat, a water bottle, sunblock, a sweater/shawl, snacks, a trashy novel, and whatever you just bought while “window shopping”. You may be on your feet for hours on end, whether walking around town or queueing to see the sights. Swop out that fancy leather designer handbag that weighs a tonne even when empty, and opt for something lightweight, sturdy, with a zippered closure for extra security, but that’s stylish enough nonetheless. By far the best options I can think of are the Longchamp Pliage cross-body in nylon, and the Issey Miyake BaoBao tote.
8. Condense your toiletries.
Aside from having to comply with TSA regulations (a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes, each limited to 100 ml or less per item), carrying too many liquid toiletries adds weight to your luggage, and increases the risk of spillage. As far as possible, carry solids: bar soap instead of shower gel, solid deodorant instead of roll-on. They even make solid shampoo and conditioner bars. And of course, transfer appropriate amounts of skincare products into travel-sized pots. Don’t panic — these usually hold 2-3 weeks’ worth.
And you are all set.