How to Pack for Extended Travel

I love a challenge. Especially a sartorial one. And I adore travel. My first job out of college was {pinch-me} on the Broadway tour of "42nd Street". Which meant I spent 16 months traveling the country living out of two red suitcases. Following that I'd head off every winter for 3 months with the Rockettes, again with my two red suitcases. Thus I have a fair amount of experience in packing for extended travel!

My recent 6 week sojourn to London -- {same two red suitcases!} -- included the following. As I shared in this post, my personal challenge for #StyleMeDecember was never to wear something twice, the same way. In my next two style posts I'll share the outfits I fashioned out of the below. 

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Tips for Packing for Extended Travel:

  1. Start by pairing all of your layers together. Make sure you're not taking something only to discover you "have nothing to wear it with".
  2. Take more tops than bottoms. Tops tend to have more color & pattern, & are what you see most often in photos. Focus on bottoms that go with most of your tops & think of the bottoms as functional, so you're not tempted to throw in one more fun pair just in case.
  3. Take one pair of shoes for each scenario. That includes general weather conditions or walking all day sight-seeing, going to a fancy restaurant. Choose the pairs that are going to go with most everything. If it's something you'll be doing a lot -- walking, going to events -- pack a second option. 
  4. Rely on accessories. If you're worried about getting bored with your wardrobe options for such a lengthy period of time, focus on your accessories, make-up & hair to mix things up without the weight & space of more clothing or shoes. 

My Stylish Math Equation:

9 tops divided by 42 days + add in the 3 dresses + 3 fancy tops, wearing each just 1x = wearing each top 4x. {Remember that can be paired with a different sweater, necklace or bottom every time!} Even as a stylist & style blogger who is used to the creativity of a full wardrobe, wearing something 4x was absolutely fine. I'd say for some of you the number could be as high as 6x, almost once a week. Then it just becomes a matter of whether they're pieces that need washing each time you wear them, or if you have laundry easily accessible.

Your Unique Component:

Going abroad during the holidays I wanted to have plenty of options for partys & dressy events. However, if I was packing for a theatre tour back in the day, instead of "fancy skirts, fancy tops + dresses" I would have packed one dress for opening night + made all those options clothes for rehearsals. If my trip to Puerto Rico had been an extended one those would have been suit suits & beach cover-ups.

The Stylish Travel Goal:

Pack as lightly & efficently as possible, without sacrificing your ability to show up as the best version of yourself, nor creating stressful moments when you realize you under-packed. 

Travel is too much fun to be lugging 200 lbs behind you, & too much of an adventure to show-up in sweatpants.

What are your tips to packing for extended travel? And since I've got the travel bug right now, where do you have plans to travel in 2013?

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P.S. Remember, your style can be more simple & more fulfilling everyday no matter where you're living. "Style & Styleability" starts January 20th. Join us for a month of clearing the clutter & getting clear on your style & who you're showing up as in the world! 

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