A reader named Mimi was interested in my thoughts on this topic, and writes: “The only time I’ve traveled without checking luggage was an overnight trip 25 years ago. I’ll be in Scotland and Dublin for 2+ weeks in late September and am determined to pack less than I ever have.” You can do this, Mimi: I once traveled to Central America for two weeks with just a carry-on (I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m still unreasonably proud of it). This might be a bit tougher for you because I was traveling to a hot climate, and packed only lightweight clothes, and the weather where you’re headed will be a bit cooler. Still, I think it’s achievable. For starters, pick a very tight color palette: for this exercise, I’ve stuck to grey, black, and white. Second, accept that you will be wearing the same items a LOT (which really isn’t so tough given that at least in my experience, I tend to wear the same thing over and over when I’m traveling anyway). Third, wear your bulkiest items on the plane. I might choose a hoodie like this one for the flight.
Or I might go for this gorgeous chunky sweater.
I’d pair either of the above with a pair of jeans; I like these Levi’s because the wash is good and the price is right.
My second pair of pants (I’d only bring the two) would be something simple and black, and I like these because they have a comfortable fit and pull on. These trousers from Everlane are good too, and much cheaper.
I rarely travel without bringing along a long-sleeved black and white striped tee, and it is inevitably the piece I get the most wear out of.
I like silk shirts like this one because they’re eminently layer-able and pack down to nothing. If you get hung up on wrinkles, bring along an eensy travel steamer. This one is amazingly effective for its size.
I’d also toss a cashmere V-neck into the suitcase; the silk shirt and striped tee will layer nicely under it.
This down jacket from Uniqlo was designed to work as an inner or outer layer, and also packs down to nothing.
I have written multiple times about my absolute reliance on Chan Luu Scarves for travel: they’re warm enough to keep you cozy, but really lightweight, and this charcoal grey is quite appealing.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, I’d consider a pair of classic Blundstone boots, which I’d wear on the plane. They’re super-comfortable, and very well-priced.
And I’d pack a pair of Seavees slip-on sneakers, because they’re nice and compact. They don’t provide the best support if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so I might invest in a pair of insoles.