Whether you are traveling abroad, or simply exploring your own country, there are a few wardrobe essentials that I recommend you never leave home without. I'll admit, one of the hardest parts about packing is deciding what outfits to bring. You have to consider climate, culture, comfort, etc. I know many people who really only need four outfits for a trip, yet they end up bringing 25 which always means lugging around a huge suitcase (yuck!). If you're like me, and you like to travel light, then this list will cover everything that you'll possibly need to look stylish and feel comfortable while you're traveling.
Now before I get too far ahead of myself, I always ask myself these four questions prior to packing for any trip. Taking these questions into consideration will help you save precious space in your luggage for souvenirs and other things you wish to take home (I'm pretty sure my backpack gains a good 20 pounds after a trip.).
1. How often will I wear it?
If it's something you know you'll only wear once, leave it home. Remember that if you're heading on an extended trip, you don't need to pack an outfit for all 20 days that you'll be traveling, there is certainly no shame in wearing the same thing several times (this works especially well if you are able to wash your clothes).
2. Is this a just in case item?
You know those items where you bring them along "just in case it snows, rains, etc.". Unless you can think of a specific time when you'll need that item, then chances are you'll never use it. Don't bother bringing it.
3. What do the locals wear?
If the locals don't wear shorts, then don't pack yours. But, if they wear scarves, throw in one or two! Research what the locals wear before your trip, so you don't stick out like a sore thumb in your "I Love NY" tee and sneakers.
4. What is the weather going to be like?
No matter where you are traveling, you'll want to make sure you pack appropriately for the climate. There is literally nothing more miserable than heading to a cold climate with only a light jacket in tow. The same goes for not having a pair of shorts when it's a sauna outside.
Once you know your answers to these questions, then you can start packing! Packing for a trip can be pretty overwhelming at first, but you'll be a pro at packing before you know it.
1. Comfortable pair of walking shoes
I can't stress this one enough! If you're going to be doing a lot of walking, save your feet the pain by purchasing a comfortable pair of shoes. Leave those cute heels at home! I love bringing along a pair of Toms on every single one of my trips. I'm not sure what it is about these shoes, but they are extremely comfortable. I wouldn't go anywhere without these shoes.
I literally could not survive a 10-hour plane ride without a pair of leggings. These are my bottoms of choice when I am going to be doing a lot of walking, flying or train travel. I highly recommend taking a pair with you on all of your trips. I promise this is is one thing you will not regret packing.
3. Basic tees
Basic tees are a great option for travel as they don't take up a lot of room in your luggage. They can be paired with a number of different clothing items, and can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Plus, they are super comfortable for those painfully long plane rides.
4. Blouses and button-ups
I am all about comfort when it comes to travel, but I also love to dress nice. I usually throw in a few of my favorite blouses and button-up shirts for those days or evenings when I want to take my wardrobe up a notch.
5. Basic accessories
Of course you can't forget about the accessories. Throw in a basic necklace or two as well as a simple pair of earrings, I usually bring one set of earrings that I wear everyday of my trip. A nice scarf is also a great addition, especially if you are traveling in a European country.
I love cardigans! They can be worn with many different outfits. The options are basically endless. Cardigans especially come in handy on those crisp evenings when you don't want to wear a bulky jacket.
7. Skirt or dress
A loose skirt or dress is a great, and very comfortable, choice for warm climates. They can be worn during the day when you are out visiting tourist attractions or dressed up for an evening out.
8. Light jacket
A cardigan could technically take the place of a jacket, but I like to bring along both depending on the occasion. A jacket is certainly nice to have along on those chilly plane rides.
9. Comfortable pants
Leggings are great, but they aren't always appropriate for every setting. If you want to add a little more class to your wardrobe, consider packing a nice, comfortable pair of pants.
10. Small travel bag
And last but not least, don't forget to bring a small travel bag. I always have a bag that I can throw all of my necessary travel items in. Granola bars, camera, wallet, souvenirs, you name it!
*One last thing to note is that when traveling abroad, particularly in Europe, if you want to blend in a little more avoid wearing bright clothing or clothing with logos, slogans, or phrases on it.
Where are YOU headed off to next?