A Female Traveler's Guide to Packing Light & Fashionably

Posted on Posted in Fashion, Fashion Tips, Female travelers, International Travel, Packing Tips, Travel, Travel Tips, WomenTravelers, World Travel, World Traveler

I used to live 2 hours away from my family’s home in Texas. About once a month I’d make a trip home and since I had removed all of my clothes from my parent’s house, I had to prepare a bag of clothes for the weekend. Granted I usually only stayed 2 nights during these visits, however, I found myself bringing my largest bags with 10 shirts, 7 pairs of pants or shorts, a few dresses, and about six pairs of shoes. This is not a joke–I am absolutely serious. I should also mention that my family lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, a mid-sized city with limited nightlife options and whose popular daytime activities included the movies, the (somewhat small) mall, going out to eat, or maybe visiting a friend’s party. Why did I need all of these clothes for one weekend?

As a very fashionable person, I never want to be without options. Who knows what could happen on a vacation–I could be invited to a last-minute swanky event which means I’ll need that classically beautiful dress, right? Or maybe I’ll want to spend time in the hotel spa? Won’t I need a bathing suit for that? Each time I took a trip, I would rationalize my decision to bring so many clothes and convince myself that paying the checked baggage fee was worth it, as long as I had fashionable clothing options.

Well, I recently took an international trip to Ireland and I was determined not to do this. I knew that I would not want to lug a huge suitcase around the entire country (since I planned on driving around for part of my trip). I also did not want to risk the possibility of having my luggage lost due to connecting flights. Being without any clothes would have been a more insufferable fate. So how was I going to pack 10 days worth of clothes in one backpack and small personal item duffle bag?

As corny as this sounds and as much as I hate to admit it…I researched and practiced. I researched creative ways to pack lots of outfits for an extended vacation on Pinterest and then I practiced these packing tips one week before I left for Ireland. I picked out the clothes that I would need and I packed them in a backpack to see if what I wanted to bring would fit. I even bought packing bags, hoping that those might make my bag more organized and open more free space. Unfortunately, I absolutely failed trying to pack for the first time–I was trying to put too many clothes in a bag that wouldn’t take it.

Eventually, I rearranged and reevaluated what I wanted to bring and the day before I left, I was able to pack the bare essentials I would need for the trip. I found that rolling up my clothes and fastening them with rubber bands worked the best for me.

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My aim for packing was to pack clothing pieces that I would be able to mix and match so that I wouldn’t feel like I was wearing the same clothes or outfits the whole time, very fashionable pieces that I would feel attractive in, and warm items because it would be very cold during my trip. So here are the clothing items that I brought on my trip:

  • 2 scarves
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 2 bras
  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 pairs of tights
  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 short sleeve tees
  • 1 sweater
  • 3 sweater cardigans
  • 5 long sleeve shirts
  • Leggings and a 3 quarter sleeve shirt to sleep in
  • A leather jacket
  • 1 large coat

Keep in mind that I also had to pack other things such as a brush, face wipes, blow dryer, makeup, a straightner, a few toiletries, and travel related items such as my iPad, guide books, and journal.

As you can see, I was able to fit a lot into my two small bags and I did feel very fashionable on my trip although most of the time my clothes were covered up by my large coat and a scarf. Regardless here are few tips to keep in mind when packing light and fashionably for your next trip:

  • Pack items that you can mix and match. So if you are going to a place that is a bit chilly, pack tops that you can mix and match. For example, pack different short sleeve tees or tank tops that could go with different cardigans.
  • Pack items that have a color scheme. I chose a neutral color scheme so most of my clothes were “dark” colors such as gray, black, forest green, jean blue, and a few white items.
  • Pack tops and pants that don’t have logos. This will allow you to mix and match them more freely without feeling like you are wearing the same thing. (Note: I did bring two shirts with logos just to mix it up)
  • I would suggest packing different shades and types of bottoms. For instance, I packed one black pair of jeans, one blue jeans in a medium blue, a dark blue pair of high-waisted jeans, and one pair of black leggings.
  • Wear your bulkiest items on the plane so they don’t take up space in your bag. I wore my large coat, my biggest cardigan sweater, a grey short sleeve tee, and my biggest pair of shoes on the plane ride. This was the only way that I could fit most of my warm items in my backpack. (Note: I did wear my black tights on the plane ride because I wanted to be comfortable although I could have had more space if I had worn a pair of jeans–the sacrifice).
  • Airless bags, packing bags, rolling clothes, and rubber bands can be helpful in maximizing space in your bag. Use whatever works best for you!
  • If you tend to be an overpacker like I am, try to remove 2 items and return those 2 items to your closet.
  • Ask yourself, “Do I really need this item?” with every clothing piece you pack.

I hope these tips were helpful and just for your benefit, I’ve included some of the outfits that I wore on my trip to Ireland. Please feel free to check them out and see just how fashionable you really can be when packing light for an international trip!

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The Bags

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My outfit for my 1st night out and about in Dublin. I paired this with a black leather jacket. I was pretty cold at 11 pm but I was fine before that. Notice my boots? They are so cute but were also very practical for a city like Dublin where most people walk around rather than drive.

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My first day time outfit for Dublin. I wore my big warm jacket this day. I actually got hot from so much walking.

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I took off the blue jean top and put on a tan sweater for a different look when I went out that evening for dinner and drinks.

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This day I was heading into the countryside so I wore something warm, a double layered top. Since I was going to trek in the outdoors that day, I wore my Sorel waterproof hiking boots. These were so worth the $140 that I paid! I am so glad that I will have them for future trips and tell me these are not cute waterproof boots! I loved that they are inconspicuous as water boots. I’m not a fan of those tall bright, flat-footed rain boots that most places sell.

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There’s that tan sweater again. However, it’s with a different white top than before and the first time I wore it, I wore it for only 3 hours. Safe to say, no one noticed that I wore it again during my trip. Haha. Also, they were paired with my rain boots this time.

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Although I packed a lot of cute items, this is how most people saw me during the trip: bundled up in a warm jacket and paired with a scarf. This is the only day that I really wore my beanie. It was very cold that day!

And below, you will find my last outfit of the trip–my birthday outfit! Yes, my birthday occurred while I was in Ireland so the evening that I went out for my birthday, I planned on dressing really cute! I even pulled out a pair of short-heeled booties! I must note that this is the only time I wore these shoes the entire trip so it wasn’t very practical to bring them along but who says I have to always be practical? I paired this outfit with my leather jacket and froze my butt off–but, hey, you can’t say I didn’t look cute!

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