WHAT TO PACK…
I have to admit, even I’m surprised that I’m able to pack for a week traveling to Europe, especially when I need warm clothing, layers and rain gear. But, I did it last week and it worked out fine. I think the key is to be extremely practical and make sure every piece can be worn a couple different ways.
There’s actually plenty here to work with and mixing up the various layers for a day or nighttime activity was easy. One caveat…this was a casual trip to Switzerland, visiting my son who is studying abroad. I didn’t need anything dressy. The days were spent exploring the city and trekking in the hills. Comfort, warmth and waterproof were the top priority. If I wanted to feel a bit more dressed for dinner, I pulled an all black look together or black pants with a pretty blouse. Here’s my thought process on what I packed:
Shoes: I like to have a few options in case my feet get tired or sore from one pair. Boots and sneakers for all day touring are a must. A loafer of some sort is a nice switch for dinner. I also like to tuck a pair of soft, slipper type shoes in my bag for quick trips within the hotel to the lobby or breakfast. I wear my bulkiest shoes on the flight to allow for plenty of space in the suitcase. For this trip, a pair of Rag & Bone boots did the job of keeping me comfortable and warm and got the most use.
(boots; loafers; slippers; sneakers)
Outerwear: I know it might look extreme to have this many options, but like I said, comfort is key. A warm, long puffer coat was necessary with temps dipping into the 30’s and 40’s at night. Again, this being the bulkiest piece, I carried it on the plane with me. The other three pieces – a vest, lightweight shell, and short lightweight puffer – were compressed and tucked into the corners of my suitcase. Ultimately, I didn’t need the lightweight shell because it was too cold, but the short puffer was good on hikes.
(coat; vest; shell; short puffer)
Clothing: With layering in mind, I packed a variety of long-sleeved shirts that stood on their own as well as layered under knits. Stripes and checks add a little something with collars and tails peeking out from under a sweater. I included a pretty white blouse that filled the need for a dressier top for dinner. A range of sweaters in varying weights were good to have on hand. I rolled them and tightly tucked them in a neat row in my bag. The bulkiest one I carried/wore on the flight. I’ll wore comfortable jeans and packed two others to rotate throughout the week. A pair of black pants were nice to have as a switch for dinners.
(Shirts: plaid; floral; striped; gingham; white)
(Knits: black; white; tan; wine; grey)
(Pants: dark jeans; med jeans; light jeans; black pants)
Essentials: I love cashmere beanies for traveling. They fit in a pocket or my crossbody bag taking up no space at all. I rotated through three even though I only pictured two above. Cashmere scarves are another must and instantly changed the look of my outfits. I’ve collected several over the years and am so happy to have a selection when I take cold weather trips. I packed wool socks in a variety of weights, heights and colors and found that laying them flat in the interior zippered part of my suitcase is very efficient and less bulky then folding them. Tee-shirts and turtlenecks are useful as layering pieces or on their own.
(Hats and socks: black hat; gray hat; socks)
(Scarves: red scarf; tan scarf; blue/gray scarf)
(Tops: turtleneck; striped tee; black tee)
The tote: All toiletries, chargers, electronics, an umbrella, and gloves go in the tote. I like keeping them separate from my packed clothing; it helps me feel more organized knowing exactly where everything is. I have a permanent, clear toiletry bag that comes in handy on flights outside the U.S. where TSA Pre doesn’t exist. It’s strong and easy to find. I brought one handbag on this trip with the requirement being lightweight, waterproof and nondescript. I wore it under my jacket to board the flight so it doesn’t look like I’m carrying too much. I’ve had a couple of instances where airlines count my crossbody bag as a 3rd bag, so I always make sure I leave enough room in my tote to place it inside if needed.
(suitcase; tote; handbag; TSA Pre bag)