Packing Strategy 4: Accessorize, Prioritize

Updated June 22, 2020.

Today’s Packing Week post is all about accessories! An essential part of packing light involves the possibility of wearing the same clothes more than once. But don’t panic! The best clothing items to pack are the ones that can change their whole look with an added piece of jewelry or a scarf. Here’s how! 

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Packing Strategy 4: Accessorize, Prioritize


Men? What?! Not to worry, ladies. We’re saving the best for last—that’s you!

Gentlemen, your accessories are pretty easy, mostly just a watch and perhaps a wedding ring. I picked my husband’s brain to get some tips for you, too, though! Here’s your guide for what to take with you, what to leave behind, and some ideas to help you get creative when you need to.


Leave the Rolex at home! And maybe the same for your nice, non-waterproof GPS watch, too. Some places you go are fine for that sort of thing (Monaco, for instance), but others are maybe not as safe for those things. In countries with a noted high crime rate, such as Morocco, Mexico, or Italy, wear a watch that is non-descript. Also, when you leave expensive watches at home, you won’t lose them in the airplane’s overhead bin or scratch them up on rugged hike—it’s happened!


Hopefully your wedding ring won’t be coming off at any time during your trip. However, it’s a good idea to have a less expensive “decoy” ring that you wear while traveling so you can leave your expensive ring at home. You can get inexpensive wedding rings on Amazon for less than $20, and if it goes missing off the shores of Kauai like my husband’s did, it’s not a big deal! We both wear silicone wedding rings when we travel, or just when we work out at the gym. Tungsten rings are inexpensive and indestructible, but just remember that it cannot be sized down! Click the photos below to get yours.


Ladies, we get to have a little more fun with our accessories. This is where you can change the whole look of your outfit to go from day to night, or from the pool to the luau!

Fine Jewelry

To piggy-back on that last point for men, ladies should also consider leaving their expensive jewelry at home–especially that flashy engagement ring or those diamond earrings you got for college graduation. Better safe than sorry! I have a silicone “placeholder” ring that I wear for trips and at the gym to make sure nothing happens to the good stuff! Here are a couple of nice, inexpensive options from Amazon. Click the photos to get yours!

Costume and Statement Jewelry

These are pieces that can change an entire outfit! I am tremendously in favor of re-wearing clothes when I travel because I like to travel light. A colorful necklace, earrings, or bracelet can make a black outfit look completely different than if you wore the black outfit on its own.

Turquoise goes with almost everything, and so do pearls. Or if there’s a color you particularly love or one that looks best on you, plan to wear a couple of outfits that are different from each other, but that both go with that color and piece of jewelry. Instead of two outfits, you now have four combinations!


Scarves are so handy. A good scarf can be a cover-up for temples or other conservative places, a light blanket on a chilly plane, an accessory like the jewelry mentioned above, a wrap-around top, a bathing suit coverup, or perhaps for its intended purpose… a scarf! I almost never leave for a trip without a scarf, no matter what season or what the weather will be at my destination. Try to choose one that goes with most or all of the clothes you’ll be taking with you.

“Stuff” Carriers

In recent years, the travel industry has come up with what I call “stuff carriers” that are leaps and bounds ahead of the fanny packs and money holders of yesteryear (even though fanny packs are unfortunately coming back into vogue)!

Here’s one that goes around your waist. I mostly use it when I run to carry my ID, keys, and maybe cash or a credit card if I plan to stop for coffee somewhere. But it can also be used when you’re just walking around a new city and want a little extra security for your money. It has a clip for your keys, and it fits well under your clothes. Click the photo below to get yours!

This one goes on your wrist if you prefer something smaller. Click the photo below to get yours!

What other accessories do you use when you travel? What other tips do you have? Check out my Packing Page for more packing strategies!

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