Planning to go on vacation?

Great!

Now all you have to do is pack your bags!

Don’t know what clothes to take?

No problem. The best planners get stumped at what – and what not to take. After all, picking a limited stash of clothes from your entire closet can get overwhelming.

To guide you through this dilemma, I’ve compiled a checklist of essential clothes you need to take on every trip. And it’s best if you read this now. It’ll give you enough time to buy any items you don’t currently own so that you’re not scrambling to get your bags packed at the last minute.

I know you’re eager to get started, so let’s dive right in.

Before You Start Packing

I know you think you’ll need everything, but let’s get realistic. You probably won’t need your bathing suit if you’re planning to go to Istanbul in the dead of winter. Check the sea temperature in Turkey at the time of year in which you are travelling and make your decision accordingly.

The Weather At Your Destination

Needless to say, the clothes you pack will vary depending on the weather of the place you plan to visit.

For instance, if you plan on traveling to a warm place, the clothes you pick should be light, breathable, and sweat-wicking pieces that can be comfortably worn at night or during the day. On the other hand, a trip to a colder place means you’ll need heavier clothes in order to stay warm.

What You Plan to Do

The purpose of your trip can also influence your choice of clothes. For instance, if you’re on a business trip, you’ll need more formal attire than if you were going on a holiday with your family.

Having said that, one family trip can be different from the next. So if you’re going camping or hiking, you’ll need to pack quick-drying, wrinkle-free clothes and sturdy hiking boots, while vacation on the beach will require lightweight cotton pieces paired off with flip flops.

The Length of Your Trip

Once you know what type of clothes you’ll need for the trip, now it’s time to decide on the quantity. A short trip lasting two days will require fewer items than one that spans a week. So you’ll be fine with one or two casual outfits, one or two formal outfits, a pair of pajamas, and a pair of shoes on your weekend trip.

Of course, you’ll need to pack a lot more for a longer trip- unless you have access to laundry services.

Essential Travel Wardrobe

Remember, you’re traveling. The aim is to travel light. That means you need to carry a minimal amount of clothing (also known as a capsule wardrobe). Simply mix and match the various pieces to create a new outfit each time.

The question is, what basic, functional clothing should you pack so that you look stylish and stay comfortable on all your trips?

That’s what we’ll address next. Here is a list of essential clothes that should have a spot in your bag:

1. Underwear

Yes, I know, this doesn’t have to be mentioned. But no list would be complete without this important item.

Comfortable undies should be the first thing to put in your suitcase. Whether it’s an outdoor adventure or a business trip, you need quick-drying, moisture-wicking material that’s comfortable to wear and easy to wash. And since you know your comfort zone better than anyone, choose your pieces with care.

How many: My rule is one pair of underwear and socks per day.

2. Pajamas

Lightweight, stylish, and cozy -that’s the kind of PJs you need for every trip. Sure, you’re on vacay mode, but that doesn’t mean you need to be sloppy. Make yourself feel good.

The key is to choose the right fabric. It needs to be comfortable and help regulate your temperature so that you have a good night’s sleep.

How many: Ideally, you need at least one. But for longer stays, keep an extra. However, focus on versatility. So pick a pajama that you can use besides sleeping in. For instance, you can use the camisole of your cami/shorts PJ set as a tank top during the day.

3. Tops

Buy Pack a variety of summer tops for women to pull off both a formal and casual look. So you’ll need to pack tees, long-sleeved button-up shirts, blouses, etc. The purpose of your trip will dictate what type you will need more of.

How many: Three tops are enough for a short trip, while 5-6 should be fine for longer ones. But if you plan on doing laundry, you can easily reduce the amount.

4. Bottoms

Choose the bottoms you need for your trip – jeans, pants, joggers, shorts, skirts, etc. Go with your traveling needs – and favorite style.

While jeans are tough and travel-ready, they can feel heavy and hot. A better option may be khaki since they’re lighter and not so bulky. Plus, they can easily transform your outfit for a more formal occasion.

Similarly, skirts are a good choice. They’re breezy, modest, and easy to dress up or down.

How many: Two bottoms for a weekend trip or 3-4 for longer ones. Don’t worry, you can wear it more than once. Trust me, no one will notice.

5. Outerwear

What’s your favorite jacket – coat, blazer, varsity jacket, hooded sweatshirt, knit, or overcoat? Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, you should always take a jacket in case the evenings are slightly chilly, or you feel cold during the flight.

How many: One lightweight jacket is essential. However, if you’re planning to visit a colder place, you’ll definitely need more stuff, such as a muffler, gloves, earmuffs, and more.

6. Shoes

Always pack comfortable and functional shoes for every trip. If you’re going hiking or someplace cold, pack boots. Otherwise, sneakers and sandals are great choices for comfort and style.

Remember, your shoes complete your fit. And take up A LOT of space and weight in your suitcase, so choose wisely.

How many: Two pairs of shoes are enough, but three is the max.

Tips to Choose the Right Essentials

  • Be selective when packing. Limit it to 10 durable, quality items or less.
  • Select a color palette and build a travel wardrobe around it. Some safe colors to consider include grays, blues, blacks, and beige. But don’t forget to add a little personal flair with a statement piece.
  • Opt for versatile pieces that offer more than one function and allow you to use them in different outfits.
  • Everyone needs to accessorize, but the key is to limit your pieces. One scarf or hat, along with 3-4 items of jewelry, is great.

Over to You

Preparing for a trip in advance is an efficient strategy. Planning what clothes you may need for a future trip and buying those essentials can significantly speed up the packing process.

Plus, if you happen to go somewhere at the spur of the moment, you’ll have everything you need already at home – no matter what your destination is.

It’s time to become a smart packer. Select the right clothes and learn to mix ‘n match or layer them. It’ll help you create a versatile wardrobe while on the go.

Ready to start packing?

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