Spring has always been my favourite season to travel but when it comes to packing, it poses its own challenges. Changeable weather and the need for layers are the enemies of the carry-on-only packer and it has taken me years to figure out how to travel light while being comfortable, weather (and kids’!) appropriate and somewhat fashionable.
These are my top tips for spring travel.
How to choose the best travel clothes
The key to packing light without compromising style is to choose clothes that work well together and are low maintenance.
Fabric: pick fabrics you can wash easily and don’t crease excessively. Favour items you can line-dry (no iron) or put in a dryer, so you can reuse and repack swiftly. I am a fan of materials with a slight stretch as they fit nicely and don’t loose shape
Colour: decide the colour palette of your trip and select clothes that go well together. Get some basics in a solid colour (I love denim and white trousers for instance) and add patterns following the same colour scheme so you can mix and match. In spring, you are likely to wear many layers: lay out on your bed the different items you want to pack and see if and how they go well together.
Style: only pick items that fit and suit your shape. When travelling, it is easy to go for comfort over style but if you are wearing the same thing over and over again, an ill-fitting wardrobe quickly becomes frustrating. When buying a new piece, make sure you’d be happy to see it in your holiday photos: if you don’t want to be photographed in it, save money and don’t buy it!
Top packing tip: the best way to save space when packing and keep creases at bay is using Packing Cubes. Roll up your items and assign different jobs to different cubes – try have one for tops and one for bottoms for instance and then use one for clean and one for dirty clothes. Packing and unpacking will get immensely easier!
5 rules for stylish spring travel
Only bring versatile items
The key to travelling light is to invest in a few very good and very versatile items. This is particularly important for spring travel when you are likely to be dressed in layers: changeable weather inevitably means bringing more clothes than you would for a beach holiday so making sure each item works hard for you is crucial.
For me, versatile spring items are a pair of good jeans and a simple dress, one that I can dress up or down with accessories and that can easily go from day to night.
Jeans may sound like a funny piece to have in terms of versatility but I find they go a long way. The key to the perfect pair of jeans is to look long and hard for one pair that fits and flatters your figure and go for a dark wash.
I am fond of skinny jeans as they go with my body shape and look nice with a cute pair of flats and even heels. One of my best investment was a pair of good, black jeans (not the washed out, grey ones, I mean ink black ones): I use them during the day and dress them up with nice shoes for the evening – travelling with kids, I don’t need anything really dressy and these strike the perfect balance between feeling cute and comfortable
Another go-to item for me is a dress. Pick a colour that suits you, a length you are comfortable with (I find knee length is the easier to wear) and made of quick-dry, light fabric. Make sure the dress looks good with both cute shoes and walking shoes and you will find yourself kitted out for most situations.
Carry a pair of cute and comfortable sandals
The right pair of shoes is your best travel companion: we walk a lot during our trips so my choice is always a good pair of sneakers with good sole and foot support. However, I have also learned to always bring with me a pair of cute sandals.
Spring is not always warm enough in Europe to allow for naked feet but especially in the middle of the day, it is nice to have the option of taking off your walking shoes without having to stop to allow yourself to cool down.
My favourite sandals are flat and colourful: they fit easily into my day handbag, are comfortable for walking and are very acceptable for an evening out.
Pick the right handbag
I have spent years carrying around the wrong bag: bags that were too big, too small, with too many pockets or way too few.
Finally, I understood that massive bags only turn into massive weights on your shoulder and settled on medium sized bags that can fit essentials (wallet, document organiser, tissues, keys, camera, phone, map) and that I can wear crossbody. For spring, select one in a material that can withstand a sudden shower of rain.
Accessorise accessorise accessorise
My biggest addiction when it comes to fashion is accessories. I love earrings and even more necklaces and I never travel without a good stack of them.
They are the easier and quickest way to brighten up neutral colours and can help make a simple outfit look different and summery. I normally travel with just a few tops and change them around with necklaces: depending on my destination, I go for chunky, colourful necklaces or minimalist pieces.
I usually select low price items so I can have a nice variety without breaking the bank.
Bring an outer layer
Last but not least, the mum in me has to include a recommendation to always bring a jacket. I am fond of leather (or faux leather to be precise) cute, short jackets that protect you from the breeze and look good when going out but I also have a denim jacket I have been wearing almost every spring for the last 12 years!
Like for jeans, make sure you take your time before buying and check that the jackets fits you and suits your shape: if buying online, always check return policies so you know you don’t have to settle for something you don’t like.
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