Who knows when we'll next be travelling, but you know I'm all about planning, right?!
Planning for travel in the shoulder-season, or those in-between seasons of autumn and spring are often the trickiest to pack for because the weather can be so fickle.
And this is where a really common light packing fear can really appear - "I won't have enough to wear!"
But if you choose your spring or autumn wardrobe carefully and add some essential key pieces that add warmth to any look, you'll be fine.
Base layers are key items in your travel capsule wardrobe
Any light packing wardrobe really needs a good quality set of merino/smartwool base layers (leggings and long sleeved top) that you can:
- wear multiple times before washing,
- layer up with other clothes,
- be worn under everything.
Leggings can be worn as an extra layer under trousers or as stockings.
The long sleeved top adds the essential warm layer that you can build your wardrobe over top.
Even if you think they are ugly, you don't have to show off your base layers.
Many use them as sleepwear.
The last thing you want when travelling is to be not prepared for a cold change in the weather, or even just chiller evenings. Packing a base layer will really stop the chills.
Perfectly kitted out for early spring weather in Yosemite National Park, USA.
Warm outer layers are essential for spring and autumn travel wardrobes.
The best outer layer is a down or synthetic filled puffer jacket.
They are the absolute bomb for when the temperature really drops.
Being incredibly lightweight and packing down to a really small size, make these jackets worth their weight in gold.
Scarf, gloves and hat - really are the icing on the cake when it comes to keeping warm. But rather than carrying bulky gloves or chunky scarves and hats - pack something that takes up less room, like a neck gaiter/buff.
I've even used my spare pair of socks as mittens (AKA - handsocks!! )when I didn't think I would need to pack gloves - they did the job perfectly and for extra warmth I stuck them in my puffer jacket pocket.
In Yosemite, I didn't take a hat either - not out of choice - I simply didn't think to pack it. But my puffer jacket had a hood so I just wore that.
You'll be surprised at what you have in your wardrobe that can be used in a number of ways.
The other option is to buy something when you get to your destination. It can then be put to good use and become a souvenir or you could donate it to a charity shop when you are moving on to a warmer climate.
I never go anywhere without this! Well, maybe not the Pacific Islands!
Layering is essential for autumn and spring travel.
Starting with your base layer of merino or smartwool or polyprops really keeps the cold air out. From there you can layer your clothes up as much or as little as you need for the current climate.
I've often ended up wearing most of my wardrobe on cold days. So that would be my merino leggings and jeans or travel trousers, then my long-sleeved top with a tee shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a jersey and then my jacket.
And just because you wear all these clothes - doesn't mean you need to wash everything after one wear. There's simply no need to wash everything.
Airing your merino base layers at night can see you wearing these for a week of longer between washes! Hard to believe I know - but while in lcokdown I gave it a go. My merino tee shirt was still smelling fine on day 7.
I'd be lost without my merino layers.
Shoes and boots for autumn and spring travel.
I love boots. Ankle boots, longer boots, hiking boots. I love them all.
One trick when travelling light is to wear your heaviest shoes/boots on the flight. They take up a lot of room in your bag - so wearing them onto the plane is key. You can always swap to more comfy shoes on the plane if you are carrying all your gear as carry-on only.
I wear my boots alot at home when I'm out and about - so I know that they last the distance on days of exploring and sightseeing.
They look smart around towns and cities, and feel comfortable and stylish when going out at night.
My other shoes I take for this season are leather trainers/sneakers. I like the waterproof ones, which makes them easy to clean. And I like that I can do shorter hikes in them too. And my white sneakers look great with most of my gear for a casual look.
Decisions, decisions! All great choices.
No more, " I won't have enough to wear."
Travelling in autumn and spring - and even winter for that matter - doesn't mean you have to load up your bag with extra clothing.
With some thoughtful packing, really having a good look at how things work together, and making sure you can layer things up - you'll be set for a great vacation with just a carry-on bag and your travel capsule wardrobe.
If you want some more tips about traveling light and why I think it's the bees knees - check out my blog - "Why packing light is the best way to travel."
Happy travel planning,