Knowing what goes in your travel capsule wardrobe takes time and planning. You need to get to know how items work in the field, so to speak. Having an understanding of your perfect travel wardrobe really helps to decide what goes on your trip, and what stays at home.
Once you have the general idea of what to pack and how it works together, it becomes second nature.
Testing different combinations of clothes.
Selecting clothes that go well together and can work for multiple occasions make traveling light a much more viable option.
Having a combination of three tees, three other tops, and three bottoms, can give you at least NINE different travel outfits.
One challenge you can try, is to gather this combination of travel clothes, and try to either wear a different combination each day, or group them as to what you might wear. Think about what you might be doing on this imaginary day on holiday - a museum trip, walking thru a village or countryside.
Does your "outfit" work for these activities?
Practising how you can mix things up will give you real insight into how you can get some real variation in your travel wardrobe.
Don't be afraid to say, "actually that top doesn't work as well as I thought it would" and swap it out for something better.
Are they a good match?
Very blue on blue theme here! My favourite linen capri pants - great for all seasons - and layered with merino leggings underneath for that extra warmth needed in winter.
Testing drying times of clothing.
Testing your travel capsule wardrobe is not just about looking at the different combinations, but how your clothing will actualy perform on the road.
Comparing drying times of clothing - while this might seem extremely tedious! - actaully has its benefits. Different underwear, bras, tee shirts, or socks can have varying drying times.
Different climates can alter drying times as well. So you could try drying in different rooms - a cooler, dark room versus an airy and sunny room.
When I was in China, the forecast was warm, wet and humid. I was all set for handwashing and with good temperatures I would have no issues.
I had no idea the role humidity played in drying times - and we were talking days!!!
My bamboo clothing took a lot longer than my merino gear - some days the bamboo felt as wet at night as they had when I had washed them that morning.
Fortunately we had one warm, sunny day where everyone in the school scurried to get their clothing dry. On the hot roof of the tai chi school we finally got everything dry.
Different fabrics require take longer to dry. Test them at home rather than find out the bad news on the road!
Testing your footwear (and socks!).
Knowing how your shoes perform at home will save you blisters and painful feet when travelling.
I bought a pair of ballet flats that I thought would be nice for evening wear but I wore them around a local garden with uneven surfaces and soon realised that I could feel every stone I walked on. Clearly these were not going to be adequate for walking around miles of cobblestones in Europe. However, if I was staying close to restaurants and only walking short distances at night, then these would be perfectly fine.
With training for the Camino de Santiago, my trail shoes are now getting a lot more training than even I imagined! They are performing extremely well on roads and tracks, and I'm really thrilled them. So I was horrified to be walking the other week and feel a hot spot on my heel. I'd chosen a different pair of socks that morning and it was with utter disbelief that I'd developed a blister. It just goes to show - practise with what you will be travelling with.
On my last trip in December 2019 to Chicago and New York, I knew I would be walking miles every day. But I also knew that it could be cold, and slushy snow underfoot.
My Teva boots were the best boots for winter travel. They are incredibly warm - although so warm that I can't actually wear them in warmer months. I wore them 16 hours a day and my feet never felt the effects of blisters or the cold.
Toasty toes in Central Park, New York!
Test your wardrobe locally.
Travelling to Chicago and New York with just 5 kilos was slightly nerve-wracking, so I decided to give it a test run.
In the New Zealand winter, we visited friends in Queenstown. I packed my wardrobe that I planned for the US. I wore on the plane what I planned to wear on the flights to the US and gave it all a test.
I was relieved to find it all worked! Interestingly, when you are out and about being a tourist in winter, the only thing most people see is your coat, hat, scarf and boots! And you don't change those at all.
So in the US it all worked perfectly. My merino layers worked brilliantly at keeping me warm and required very little handwashing.
Testing my 5 kilos of clothing options in Queenstown, NZ. The wardrobe worked fabulously in Chicago and New York in winter!
Now is the perfect time for testing your travel capsule wardrobe.
While we are unable to travel, now really is the perfect time to test your travel capsule wardrobe. It will give you something positive to focus on. And I'm a firm believer that "if you dream it - you believe it."
It keeps me focusing on future travels and adventures. I hope it can do the same for you.
Hiking locally in lockdown in New Zealand. Putting all my Camino de Santiago gear to the test.
Need more tips on how to get that perfect travel capsule wardrobe?
Check out my blog "Plan, test, and practice your travel wardrobe while in lockdown" for tips on how to create your own personalised travel capsule wardrobe that will have your traveling light in no time!...well, once we get the go-ahead, that is.