Updated August 28, 2022.
Most travelers overpack… sometimes even me! (Although I have also been guilty of under-packing. Whoops!) Packing light can be a real challenge sometimes, especially in cold or “in-betweeny” temperature locations. But with a few strategic pieces, you can have multiple outfits that all look cute together. For those of us who love to pack light or just want to know how, here is my ultimate list of clothes that travel well!
A Midi Dress
Maybe it’s a “little black dress,” maybe it’s a solid color, maybe it has a pattern. Just make sure it can go with other colors and patterns that you’re packing. This dress should be able to stand on its own, plus be worn under or over at least one other thing in your luggage. A little black dress can go from day to night, from beach to office, from airplane to business conference with just a quick switch of accessories!
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Your scarf will be your best friend. A pashmina or other slinky-style scarf can be worn multiple ways (and keep you warm) throughout your trip. It can change the whole look of your outfit—and if you choose your color palette well, it can change the look of several outfits!
Read next: 5 Ways to Wear a Scarf
I love kimonos! They are so beautiful and flowy, but they also do double duty. You can usually wear them as intended—as a kimono—or as a scarf as well. This is a favorite new trick of mine when traveling between hot and cold climates. If I’m starting in a warm climate, I’ll wear black leggings and a black tank top or camisole, plus my kimono. I pack a light sweater in my personal item (which will be at my feet in-flight), and before we land I’ll take off the kimono, put on the sweater, and wear the kimono as a scarf! The opposite can be true when flying from a cold climate to a warm one.
More here: The Best Ways to Style a Kimono
As mentioned above, I love a light sweater that can pack down easily and take up little space, then pop into action and keep me warm as needed. I’ve worn sweaters with leggings and a tank top as in my previous example, but also over that little black midi dress I mentioned first! It looked like a sweater and a skirt instead of a dress. So easy.
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I love the versatility of a button-down shirt. They can be tied at the waist over that all-wonderful midi dress, worn tucked into jeans, or worn out or quarter-tucked with leggings (because, as we all know, leggings are pants). And don’t forget you can roll the sleeves up on days with chilly mornings and warm afternoons (then back down again for chilly nights).
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Speaking of leggings, they’re amazing! Wear them on the plane, to workout, with a tunic, button-down, or chunky sweater, with that midi dress at a chilly destination, or even as pajama pants! You just can’t beat the versatility of a pair of neutral leggings.
Read next: Unexpected Ways to Style Your Leggings
The right maxi dress can also be a skirt. When we went to Morocco last summer, I wore my violet maxi dress as a skirt, midi dress with a kimono, and as midi dress with a button-down tied at the waist. Tie a knot at the bottom for a fun and beachy look!
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If you’re headed to a beach town or an island, pack a tankini or two! I’ve found these to be great at the beach, paired with shorts for a hike (especially one that ends at a beach or waterfall), or with that tube dress worn as a skirt!
Keep reading: 5 Things You Forgot to Pack for the Beach
Leave your expensive pieces at home, but pack all the fun stuff! Accessories can totally change the look of an outfit. Think hair scarves, statement necklaces, chunky bracelets, fun sunglasses, and earrings of every kind! I love the necklaces I have that can be worn long or short, leather earrings that are light as a feather but so beautiful, and pearls—girls, you need a set of pearls because they will literally go with everything!
What pieces can you not travel without? Comment to let me know!
Need more packing inspiration? Check out my Packing Page!
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13 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of What Every Woman Should Pack for Every Trip”
I always ring some scarf with me. It is such a versatile piece. Dresses also, especially in warmer months, I prefer to wear dresses then shorts and tops. I like to bring light cardigan that can easily fit in my everyday backpack for when it gets chilly in the evening or on the bus or when I want some more sun protection.
I prefer dresses, too! And I LOVE having a scarf. They are perfect for practically any occasion!