10 STEPS TO PACKING FOR MIXED WEATHER
To help simplify the packing process, we’ve created this 10 step packing guide for a trip with mixed weather. Make this
your first stop when planning your next trip. And don’t forget to download your free packing checklist!
How do I Pack for a Trip with Hot and Cold Weather?
One of the most popular topics on the Travel Fashion Girl Facebook Group is about traveling in mixed weather. How does someone pack for both hot AND cold destinations on the same trip?
Traveling in between two climates on the same trip happens more frequently than we think. Sometimes we visit two different countries or even varying elevations in the same destination. Another example is when your home country is warm but the destination where you’re traveling is cold.
To help you with this challenging topic, I’ve put together a few tricks on how to pack for unpredictable weather. Follow my steps:
Keep fabrics in mind – they’re key to helping you stay warm or fresh while also packing light.
Avoid choosing clothing items with bulky fabric. For example, you don’t want to pack a heavy maxi dress with layers of fabric for your warm weather clothing because you’ll take up much needed space. Instead, choose a lightweight airy dress or maxi skirt.
Likewise, for cold climates avoid thick sweaters and purchase light long sleeves in merino wool and synthetic blends that offer maximum warmth yet take up minimal space. By choosing quality items for cold climates, you can avoid packing bulky clothing and pack light. Avoid bringing a thick heavy coat when possible and opt for a packable down jacket instead.
For warm climates, choose light and airy materials that dry easily and will keep you cool. Check out the easy packing solution for trips with both cold and hot climates and plan to layer your clothing as needed.
You can always layer your clothing in mid-season locations which is another reason why it’s a good idea to make sure each item can mix and match with the rest. Add leggings and long sleeve tops under shorts and dresses. This also works well when traveling in conservative areas that require that you cover up.
Knowing how to pack for cold weather travel can be quite daunting especially if you want to pack light. To help you make the most of your winter gear and limited luggage space, I’ve created this easy three part guide on how to pack for cold weather.
There is one major difference between being at home in the winter and traveling when it’s cold: the amount of time you’ll spend outdoors. When you’re traveling, you’ll likely spend extended periods of time outdoors sightseeing. Don’t be unprepared. Consider layering lightweight clothing such as the ones featured in this winter packing list to minimize the need for bulky sweaters and coats.
Thermals are also key to keeping you warm without having to pack thick sweaters. Don’t skip these! You can even wear leggings or tights under jeans or pants for extra warmth. If you’re not used to the climate, add additional layers until you feel warm. Don’t forget essential winter accessories like a scarf, hat, and gloves!
No matter what, always carry two quality outerwear items that can be worn together in the cold. Depending on your trip, this should consist of one piece that acts as an outer layer to offer protection from wind and rain and one middle layer to insulate and provide warmth.
Merino wool thermals are the perfect inner layer – they’re light, thin, and pack in maximum warmth. If you choose selectively, you can find styles that don’t look like thermals and can be worn on their own as leggings and long sleeves. These are thermals our readers recommend the most!
Tip: If you find that will need warmer clothing as you travel, you can just buy a few pieces at your destination including hat and gloves. For example, it’s common to see many backpackers in Peru wearing traditional Alpaca sweaters/hoodies/gloves/hats because they may not have had enough warm clothing. However, it’s inexpensive to buy a few items that you’ll use daily and will also make a great souvenir!
The key to packing for multi-season trips is to pack a travel wardrobe that coordinates so you can layer as needed. Review this Round the World Packing List and this Travel Wardrobe for Mixed Weather for an interchangeable capsule wardrobe that will take you from cold to hot with ease.
To learn more about how to create a capsule wardrobe, read this packing ebook, which explains everything. If you find that you still need help, review this packing course which shows you specific packing modules on traveling in different climates.
Don’t overpack shoes. Choose ones that match all your clothing sticking to one pair of shoes for sightseeing in the cold and then one pair of shoes for sightseeing in the heat. Ankle boots like these are particularly good for this type of trip since they take up less space than tall boots.
For more ideas, these are the most cute and comfortable walking shoes as recommended by our readers!
Read this 10 step guide to packing the best travel shoes for any trip.
Check weather.com’s extended forecast in advance and 3 days before you leave. Think about how many days you will be in warm vs cold weather.
If you have a 10 day trip to Europe and will be spending 7 days in the cold and 3 days in warm weather, plan for 70% of your travel wardrobe to be for the cold and 30% to be for the heat.
If you are only spending a short amount of time in cold weather or if you’re unsure if you will encounter cold weather on your trip, pack only the essentials: two outerwear PLUS two additional items: long sleeve top and leggings.
Use one of these international packing lists to find clothing ideas to dress appropriately for your destination then use the guidelines from TFG’s Signature Packing Lists to help you customize your travel wardrobe.
If you don’t see your destination listed, post a question on TFG’s Facebook Group.
One of the most important aspects about packing efficiently is using luggage organizers.
Start with luggage. If you don’t already own a suitcase, choose one wisely. Read these tips on how to pick a suitcase and consider one of these top brands. Make your life easy with our best suitcase recommendations.
Use packing organizers. Do you want to know the ultimate tool to travel in a carryon? PACKING CUBES! They changed everything for me and thousands of other travelers. See my packing tutorial on how to use them! Trust me, they are a must!
Use tried and tested packing strategies. For a summary, read our top 75 packing tips.
I’ve recently taken on a few extreme packing challenges to show you that packing carry-on only is possible for any trip. If I can pack like an ultra-minimalist (with style of course) then you can pack more comfortably in a regular carry-on. Watch these packing videos to learn more:
Watch all my packing videos here!
The biggest mistake travelers make with toiletries is not considering how much product they actually use. There are five key steps when it comes to downsizing your toiletries properly for a trip:
- Find combination items. You can find two-in-one shampoos and conditioners, body cleanser that can double as shave gel, a foldable brush with a mirror attached on the handle, and multi-use makeup products.
- Purchase empty containers of various shapes and sizes and DO NOT default to choosing “travel size 100ml or 3oz” options. These are the best travel containers.
- Stick to the basics. Simplify your skincare and pampering routine and bring a capsule makeup collection. It’s only temporary.
- Replace liquid beauty products with solids. While solid toiletries may not help you downsize they will help you meet the carryon 3-1-1 liquids rule.
- Choose the right toiletry bag. These are the best toiletry bags and these are the best hanging toiletry bags.
For useful tips such as downsizing toiletries and choosing the best travel makeup, read our Ultimate Guide to Packing Toiletries. It includes a free printable checklist!
Don’t forget about safety: Be cautious about where you stash your cash. The safest place for your passport is locked in your accommodation. Carry a photocopy or other ID when you’re sightseeing or are out at night.
Keep your valuables safe with these anti-theft products:
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Accessories
- Best Anti-theft Bags for Women
- Are these Safe Travel Items Worth Taking
- 10 Tried and Tested Tips to Avoid Theft While Traveling
Read these tips on how to keep your passport safe when you travel!
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