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Today’s Travel Fashion Girl is Lucy from On the Luce. Her travel blog is filled with fun travel tales and pictures; useful tips and thoughtful reviews; and also plenty of travel info itself including city guides. Lucy shares with you how she fits in her passion for travel with her work, love, and life.
She’s transitioned from backpacker to semi-grown up flashpacker. Find out how her travel style has changed over the years and learn some tips about balancing travel between a backpack and a suitcase.
Interview with Lucy
Q: Grown up backpacking” I love the concept! How does that differ from not-so grown up backpacking when it comes to packing?
I’m still not sure I’d class myself as a grown up, but my travel style has certainly changed since I started travelling. It’s more apartment rentals than hostel bunks, glasses of wine over buckets of cocktails, and cookery classes over instant noodles these days.
I have a bit more money to spend and tend to fit more into a shorter travel time. And that change of style has definitely affected my packing.
It’s easy to get by in bikinis, vests and hippie pants when you’re just bumming on the beach, but if you’re going to be doing a mix of different things, you need a wider range of clothes. So I look for things that can be dressed up and down and worn in different ways, so you can dress for the occasion without carrying loads of clothes or getting fed up of wearing the same things. (Check out my Twelve Ways Twelve Days of Travel Outfits with one dress!)
Q: How does your packing style change between weekend jaunts in Europe to longer holiday travel?
Normally you don’t need to take much more for a month-long trip than you do for a long weekend – you just need to do more laundry. I’ll pack more underwear though as it doesn’t take up too much space and means you don’t have to do laundry so often.
Also on longer trips I usually have to take clothes for a wider range of activities and weathers – like packing hiking boots or waterproofs – and sometimes carry a laptop with me so I can work (and blog) while I’m away. The toughest trips to pack for are ones where you’ll be in a mix of different climates and need to fit in everything from bikinis to gloves.
Q: What do you think is a good quantity of clothing for a weekend city break?
Generally for a three-night trip I’d wear a pair of jeans, color\red top and cardigan to travel. Then I’d pack a skirt in summer (I have a knee-length navy blue one that goes with everything) or a pair of trousers in winter, and a dress (cotton in summer or a sweater dress with leggings in winter).
Then add two more casual tops (long-sleeved in winter) and one smarter evening top. And finally a pair of ballet pumps and sandals in summer or boots in winter. I could probably get away with less but I like to have a few different things to wear. (Awesome options!)
Q: Are there any weekender bags that you prefer or recommend?
I still own a small backpack (I downgraded from a 70-litre monster after my RTW trip to a 40-litre one) but mostly travel with a suitcase these days. I have a small suitcase I use a lot which can be taken as carry on – I made sure it fit within the size guides for the European budget airlines as the cost of checking in a bag is as expensive as the flight itself sometimes.
I’m also always hunting for the perfect camera bag that’ll fit my DSLR but doesn’t look like it has an expensive camera in it. I’ve currently got one from Etsy by Janine King Designs which is great – it’s a padded fabric bag with a patterned cover that’s big enough to fit my purse and keys in too.
Q: Because you like to wine and dine, do you pack more upscale clothing? Do you carry a, nicer shoes, or accessories?
Because I try to keep the amount of clothes I take down, everything I pack needs to get a decent amount of wear, so don’t usually pack anything that’s just for evenings. I do pack some ballet pump style shoes I can wear in the evenings that look smarter than trainers or flip flops, and take at least one smart top that can also be dressed down for daytime with jeans and a cardigan. Accessories also really help to make an outfit look smarter and don’t take up much space.
Q: Any recommendations for clothing items or accessories that can help balance the look of a backpacker with that of a slightly more sophisticated traveler? How do you pack for both on longer trips?
Jewellery really helps to dress things. I always pack a few cheap, chunky, coloured necklaces that make a plain top look more interesting – and the same goes for scarves.
Dresses are another good one to take that look smart but can be worn in different ways – casual in the daytime, with jewellery and a cardigan in the evening, or with leggings if it’s cold.
Q: Looking back at your past travels, how do you feel about your original clothing and toiletry selections versus your choices now?
When I first did a RTW trip 10 years ago I was a terrible packer. My rucksack was way too big and I ended up filling it with all sorts of random things just because I had the space until I could barely lift it – I even carried a set of paints and paper around for about six months and only used it twice (I’m a terrible painter).
Now I try and take as little as I can as I want to be able to get around easily and not be lumbered with a heavy bag. I also take slightly smarter clothes now and less tiny shorts and miniskirts – though that’s probably an age thing as much as a change to my packing style!
Q: What footwear do you choose for your travels? Any recommendations?
It depends on the type of trip and weather, but in general for a long trip I’d go for a pair of Converse-style shoes and some ballet pumps that are a bit smarter but comfortable enough to walk around in. Then in summer I bring sandals (mine are from Clarks in the UK as they’ve got comfortable moulded insoles and have beading on the top so they look pretty too) and in the winter I take ankle boots to keep me warm and waterproof. (Check out these practical and fashionable travel shoes.)
Q: Are there any travel specific beauty products that you use on your trips?
If I’m travelling with carry on only I’ll buy small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel and use make up removing wipes so I stay within the liquid allowance.
I pare my makeup bag right down when I travel, but always take moisturiser, concealer, pressed powder and eyeliner. I also get through loads of Frizz Ease serum if it’s hot to stop my hair from turning into a complete frizzy mess. (To relieve frizz, I love the Abba Leave In Conditioner!)
Q: Finally, any travel packing tips for new travelers?
If you’re doing a long-term trip, don’t worry too much about packing for every possible eventuality – you can buy almost everything you need on the road, and a lot of the time it’s better to do that than lug it around just in case and not use it.
Also don’t take anything you’re too attached to – I ended up with almost none of my original clothes left at the end of my RTW trip after a combination of over-enthusiastic washing in laundries in Asia and losing them en route!
Thank you Lucy for sharing your tips with us: pack less clothes and more travel underwear; accessories help you turn a casual travel outfit from chill to classy; and pack the same amount of travel clothing for short trips and long – just do more laundry! Great advice.