A travel capsule wardrobe gives you a much simpler way of travelling. It takes away a lot of the indecision, the unpreparedness, and the weight of overpacked luggage.
We've all got stories of lugging heavy, jam-packed bags - you know, the ones where you had to sit on the suitcase lid to do the zip up!!! I see you!
My favourite was stuffing in as much as possible into my backpack, fearful that the seams would rip. And then being asked by the customs officer to "Open your bag, Maam."
"Will you help me put it all back in?" I foolishly asked. He glowered at me. I reluctantly opened the pack and just like a jack-in-the-box, everything spilled out over the counter. It was mayhem. I was close to tears. And it took me a good 10 minutes to jam it all back in again.
Ah, those were the days!
Yes, those were the days, once upon a time. But thankfully I learned to pack light and my travels lived happily ever after.
So let's dive in to the 3 reasons for packing a travel capsule wardrobe.
1. A travel capsule wardrobe helps you carry less.
You can decide how big or small YOUR travel capsule wardrobe - I'm all about things working for YOU! There's no comparative-itis or competition here - just doing what's best for you and your style.
Carrying less is a lot easier on your body. It's a lot less stressful taking less.
No matter how big or small your luggage is there are some easy tips to follow when deciding what goes in your travel capsule wardrobe.
1. Make sure everything mixes and matches - start with your favourite base colour and build your wardrobe from there. My base colour is navy blue, so I make sure everything goes with blue.
2. What will you be doing and where? Think about what activities you'll be doing, the weather, and the culture you are visiting. Make sure pack things that will meet your needs and keep you comfortable and respectful.
3. Pack versatile clothing that can be worn in multiple ways. You might pack a blouse that goes with your jeans, your skirt and as a knotted jacket with a dress. Or you might pack thermal leggings that can be worn under jeans, with boots and a skirt, or as your sleepwear.
4. Pack lighter versions of clothing. A bulky sweater may look gorgeous, but could take up a third of your bag. A smaller one, and an extra thermal layer underneath, may be a better option.
5. Pack clothing you wear normally. The clothing you wear normally, you know well. You know how it can be worn and what it goes with. It helps you feel confident with what you are packing.
6. Layering is your magic weapon! Get warm with layers. Packing light layer-able, mix and match items will have you looking incredible and feeling comfortable.
A clever, versatile top that can be worn in multiple ways is huge asset to a travel capsule wardrobe.
2. A travel capsule wardrobe reduces indecision and stress.
Travel is full of decision making. Where to go, what to see, how to get there, what to eat, what to buy. So many decisions.
One decision you can do something about is, what to wear.
With a smaller selection of clothing choices you are limited with what you can wear. But you are not limited by the number of ways and combinations you can put these outfits together.
I encourage you to really spend time looking at your travel wardrobe and make sure that everything goes with each other, that you can layer-up easily, and that with a simple change of an item - you have a completely different look.
Take the time before you travel to observe your wardrobe over a week or two. You can switch things out when you realise that they don't go with everything. Or that a particular scarf or necklace would add a touch of style to an outfit. Or you might think, "actually that's not going to work, I'll add this top instead."
You only have my word, but waking up and only having a few things to choose from, really does make life a lot more simpler when travelling.
Another version of my travel capsule wardrobe - it changes with every trip.
3. A travel capsule wardrobe saves you money.
A travel capsule wardrobe saves you money and time with...
- no luggage fees,
- no waiting at luggage carousels, and
- no lost bags.
It also saves you money by only buying key clothing pieces rather than going on a shopping spree before you start your trip. Meaning you have more money to spend on travel experiences. Who doesn't want more money to spend on travel?
Depending on how you travel it can also save you money by allowing you to walk places or take local transport rather than more expensive options like taxis or flying.
The picture below is when I walked back to my accommodation around the corner from Amalfi. I would never have got this picture in a taxi. Walking is free, and a small bag gives you that freedom of choice!
You must have confidence in your travel capsule wardrobe.
It is really important that you are confident that your travel capsule wardrobe will cover all occasions.
In order for you to be confident though, you really do need to spend time looking at and thinking about your wardrobe. By hanging your outfits in a group (say, in your wardrobe or on a spare bed) you will be able to think about different places you're going and think, "What do I need for that place? Would I be dressed tidily enough? What if it got cold - could I adapt?"
There is no last minute packing here!!!
Having a well put-together travel capsule wardrobe has you covering the issues of:
- Dressing up or down
- Keeping warm or cool
- Being comfortable
- Being appropriately dressed
- Being happy with your outfits.
Your travel capsule wardrobe will change depending on the season and the reason for your travels.
There is no ONE travel capsule wardrobe.
At the centre of any travel capsule wardrobe is YOU! Your style, your trip, your activities, your comfort levels.
My travel capsule wardrobe is just that - mine - and it changes with each trip!
But the principles of any travel capsule wardrobe are the same.
- Make sure things mix and match.
- Make sure you can layer.
From here - it's all up to you and what works for you.
So no matter if you are hiking in Nepal, sunbathing on the Amalfi Coast, sailing in Croatia, or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef - your travel capsule wardrobe is created for you. It will fit your activities, your climate, your comfort, and your style.
A winter travel capsule wardrobe in New York - quite different to a holiday in The Cook Islands.
Want to be inspired?
I've written a travel memoir,
Dare to Travel Solo: Exploring Croatia and Italy with a light carry-on bag and a ton of determination.
It's about stepping outside of your comfort zone, believing in yourself, and making dreams happen.
It's way more than just a travel book. It's a self-discovery journey, a midlife peptalk, and you'll feel like you're on holiday with me!
Start your own packing light journey.
If you want your travels to live happily ever after, you can read a lot more about packing light in my other blogposts.
To get you started, here's a few topics to inspire you more...
How to travel light with toiletries - no bathroom cabinet or sink required!
How to travel light with style. I don't prescribe to what's in-fashion style. Style is individual, fun, and whatever you are comfortable in.
My first travelling light story - where it all began.
You can also follow me on Instagram @the5kilotraveller and over on Facebook.
And if you want to sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of this page, you'll get my free packing checklist pdf.
Happy travels and travel planning,