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One of the biggest questions about packing is “How do I pack for multi-season trips?” Find out my strategy in Part 1 of this series!
Is the cost of convenience worth it to you?
During my RTW trip in 2010, I went to 3 continents and 17 countries in 9 months. I started in Fiji and ended my trip in Africa. Weather-wise, it was a multi-season trip but the direction and time of year which I traveled allowed me to chase the sun almost the entire way except for the very end. Talk about a packing nightmare.
Since I was doing a 21-day overland tour around Africa in the middle of winter, not only would I need cold weather clothing at the end of the trip but also camping gear including a sleeping bag and mat.
Based on a few packing tips I read, instead of dragging everything around for 8 months, I opted to leave my camping and cold weather gear at home and decided I would buy the items I needed right before arriving in Africa.
Besides spending $200 on gear at the end, this packing strategy worked out great for me because it allowed me to travel with only the items I needed, and I avoided carrying bulky, cumbersome items the duration of the trip.
Will my packing strategy work for you?
How to Pack for Multi-Season Trips based on Your Travel Itinerary
Using TFG’s RTW Packing List as an example, here are three packing strategies you can use based on your travel itinerary or the direction in which you travel:
If you’re traveling from cold to hot climates
If you start your trip in the Winter season or in destinations with a cool climate, you can base the majority of your travel clothing on cold weather focusing on warm layers and quality outerwear.
Once you make your way to the warmer part of your trip, you can ditch your heavier or knit items and replace with a few extra summer essentials along the way. Send your clothing back home or donate to someone else.
You won’t need to buy much because you don’t need as much clothing in the heat. Summer clothing is usually cheaper, too, and won’t do as much damage to your travel budget.
Travel Tip: No matter what, you always want to hold on to your two quality outerwear pieces. Make the investment and choose items that are moisture-wicking and pack light. The weather may cool unexpectedly or you might want to participate in treks because even in tropical destinations temperatures can drop at higher elevations.
If you’re traveling from cold to hot climates
On the contrary, if you start your trip in the heat and then go to the cold; it might be more expensive to buy quality winter gear on the road so, again, it’s always wise to invest money on two solid pieces of outerwear that pack light such as a Rain Jacket and Wool/Fleece Jacket. Look for deals on Amazon or shop during sales.
If you are traveling for longer than a month; depending on the length of your trip it may also be a drag to carry around heavy, unused clothing in your packing cubes. Research the budget clothing options in your destinations when starting the cold part of your trip so you can stock up on wallet friendly cold weather threads.
Travel Tip: Purchasing clothing along the way can also act as a souvenir. In Peru, for example, you can pick up beautiful and inexpensive alpaca layers to warm you up during your trip that you can wear at home during the winter.
If you’re traveling varied seasons throughout your trip
If your trip has you going back and forth between seasons, plan clothing that mixes and matches in light, quality fabrics such as merino wool and synthetics that you can layer. Read this post for more details: How to Choose the Best Fabrics for Travel.
It may also be a good idea to invest in gear with specialty materials that provide insulation in light fabrics. There are always options around a little weather imbalance without weighing down your bag. You just have to be creative!
Travel Tip: Create two mini capsule wardrobes following the guidelines in TFG’s Minimalist Packing List.
The above RTW Packing List features 15 clothing items that can mix and match and offers the ideal balance of clothing options for multi-climate trips.
The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
What are your best tips to pack for travel between climates?
Please read the other tips in this series:
- Long Term Travel Packing List
- 10 Step Packing Guide for Trips with Different Weather
- Packing Tips and Travel Clothing for Multi-Season Trips
- How to Choose Travel Clothing