Travel Wardrobes For A Variety Of Climates

outfits from 12-piece travel wardrobe

We’re back home, and I’m catching up today. I’ll have a recap of our Napa Valley trip up next week.

We’ll be heading to Italy in about 6 weeks (!!!) so I’ll begin planning that travel wardrobe soon. In the meantime, I’m often asked about travel wardrobes for warm climates or other specific conditions or activities. You can see all of my travel wardrobes HERE (check out those for Japan and Hong Kong to see what I packed and wore for warm and humid weather).

À bientôt!

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  1. MarcyLuna
    March 7, 2017 / 7:42 am

    I spend at least a month on a Greek island once a year, usually in June, and I go to Mexico in March for 3 weeks. Especially on Greece, I find sundresses my favourite thing to wear. Dark colours just don’t feel right, nor does regular weight cotton or anything with long sleeves. Knits, even lightweight, are out. I have some sleeveless tees, very light cotton, that I wear often. Shoes – well, since I end up getting blisters from walking a lot on rough terrain, I usually end up wearing black flip flops (sturdy ones, Fit Flops or something like that)all the time. At night, they are fine – you can wear a long silk sundress with the flip flops to dinner no problem.
    The one issue I have with all of the options shown not only for hot weather, but also for all other climates. My workout routine does not stop when I travel. I always bring something to do yoga in – there are yoga studios all over the place – and appropriate shoes and long shorts for fast exercise walking. I even did fast walking in Singapore, and it was lovely by the river early in the morning.

    • March 8, 2017 / 6:47 pm

      Just wondering about Greece, though – I always thought it was a rather conservative place to go to, and (long) sleeves would be advisable? No?

      • Anonymous
        March 8, 2017 / 11:50 pm

        It depends where you’re going in Greece. For entry to most monasteries/convents and some churches dress must be very modest. Sometimes they have a stock of longish full skirts on elastic waistbands that women just slip over trousers or mini – if that’s what you’re wearing – before you enter and then return these before you leave. On most of the islands in summer and in Athens light weight cotton dresses are fine. But I always have a silk scarf in the tote to slip on if necessary – and a light weight pashmina. My husband and I normally wear long sleeves in summer anyway as we both have very fair skin and have already had skin cancers removed. But when it’s hot visitors often seem to go sleeveless or in short sleeves. For a woman travelling alone though – I’d suggest fairly modest clothes (and certainly not short shorts on the street in Athens) otherwise you might be the subject of possibly unwelcome male attention. Best wishes, Pamela

  2. Lyn Mowles
    March 7, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Hi Susan, I am planning a trip to Japan in October and wonder how useful you found your waterproof boots. Were they too warm in the humidity?

    • Susan B
      March 9, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      Hi Lyn, they were fine on cooler days, but when it really warmed up I switched over to sandals. I’d also say it depends on what hosiery you wear with them.

  3. Kathryn
    March 7, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Hi Susan,
    I too will be in Italy in about 6 weeks after doing some hiking in Innsbruck, Austria and then canal hopping in Venice then onto Rome. Talk about wardrobe schizophrenia! I am not sure how to manage what could be three different temperature requirements, very different footwear requirements and events that run from hiker cool to dressy Roman dinner.
    I wonder if I should hire a porter for the bags that I would like to take…but wait! I haven’t been following you for the past year to cave so quickly. I am going to try to manage everything into a small case. I hope.
    Can you wear comfy running shoes with a black dress? Maybe pearls and hiking boots?
    Que dois-je faire?!

    • Susan B
      March 8, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Hi Kathryn, my philosophy is that our luggage should serve us, and not the other way around. Meaning: sometimes activities that require special clothing and/or equipment may necessitate larger luggage and checking bags. But I always try to pack as efficiently as possible, and travel as light as I reasonably can. It’s possible that some of the clothes you’d wear hiking will also serve as casual daywear, for example. Lightweight pieces that you can layer will help with some of the temperature differentials. Your trip sounds wonderful, enjoy!!

    • Anonymous
      March 8, 2017 / 11:57 pm

      Best to try to avoid wearing sneakers if dressing for dinner at a good restaurant in Rome. If you look around you’ll see that Roman women (and men!) are quite dressy, specially for the evening stroll (the passegiata) and dinners at good restaurants. Otherwise go somewhere very casual and sit out in a piazza somewhere. Lots of tourists do this. Pamela

  4. March 8, 2017 / 5:24 am

    Where will you be in Italy? We were in the Abruzzo last fall, and found warm days turned into FREEZING nights…. but so much beauty… sigh…

    • Susan B
      March 8, 2017 / 2:20 pm

      Hi Janice, we’ll be there late April to mid-May. Rome, Lake Como and Venice. Last time we were there Europe was experiencing record heat, and most days were 100+!

  5. March 8, 2017 / 6:19 am

    It’s always the shoes that get me! When I was younger, I could hike in heels practically, but now that my feet have become more finicky, I’ve found that the easiest thing to do is surrender and check a bag if I have to plan for various activities/climates. In the last 2 years the only time I’ve felt “stranded” without proper footwear was when I had prided myself in only taking a carryon.

  6. Debbie S.
    March 8, 2017 / 9:33 am

    My girlfriends and I are heading to Italy/Sicily for three weeks at the end of May. We are committed to just a carry-on suitcase and personal item combination. I would like recommendations for what has worked for all as a personal item for inflight items. This item will be separate from my purse, which will be packed in my suitcase until we arrive. All suggestions are much appreciated. Additionally, anyone have experience with Longchamps tote? Pros/cons?

    • Susan B
      March 8, 2017 / 2:17 pm

      Hi Debbie, my favorite “personal item” so far has been a Lipault 19″ Weekender. It holds a ton and still fits underneath the seat in front.

      • Kellee
        March 9, 2017 / 3:37 am

        I love my Longchamp tote -use it almost daily and a great plus is that I can throw it in the wash! I just let it air dry. I bought one in orange and am hoping to pick up one in navy when I head to Mexico next week. Much cheaper in duty free.

      • Debbie S.
        March 17, 2017 / 7:28 am

        Hello Susan, thank you for your response. I purchased the Lipault 20″ Spinner to use as my carry on suitcase but still deciding on the personal item. I love the Lipault 19″ Weekender as you recommended. Have you ever experienced a problem with the size of this bag as your personal item in addition to your carry on suitcase? We are flying on Delta, Air France, Alitalia and Volotea airlines which all have different baggage allowances. Very frustrating but I am determined to make this work and fly strictly carry on this trip. I appreciate your thoughts.

        • Susan B
          March 17, 2017 / 7:39 am

          Hi Debbie, you’re welcome! I’ve never had any airline challenge the size of the 19″ as a carry-on, but we haven’t flown on the airlines you mention above.

  7. Barbara
    March 8, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    I love reading your blog especially travel adventures. I live in NZ and so use merino products for layering. Icebreaker brand is very good.
    We are going to Spain April 25th until mid May via Dubai. Visiting Barcelona, Madrid and then a two tour South to Allambra, Seville etc. Also Lisbon and Portugal. Would love advice on footwear, outerwear and whatever else! I do study and enjoy your suggested travel capsule wardrobes and have purchased several cashmere items as a result!
    Take care. Thanks for your inspirational blogs.

    • Anonymous
      March 9, 2017 / 12:15 am

      Essential to have good walking shoes for this trip. Also a good mix of warm and cool weather clothes. You’re covering a wide area of Spain (which can be very hot) and quite hilly terrains in a lot of places. I remember once when staying in Madrid we were driving back to the city in mid May when we ran into a snow storm in the mountains – almost a blizzard – it was a relief when we entered the road tunnel through part of the mountains and came out in quite temperate weather and no snow on the outskirts of Madrid.
      Some of the massive old cathedrals/basilicas can be still freezing inside during April (guess it depends on the winter and location) even though it’s quite warm outside. Always a good idea to have a light warm pashmina (cashmere!) in the tote to slip over your shoulders. In Madrid and Barcelona you’ll see that women (and men) in the cities are usually quite dressy. Though the young of course, as in most places, tend to wear jeans as street wear in day time. They mostly have good footwear and handbags – leather items can be quite good buys in Spain. Best wishes, Pamela

  8. Judy
    March 8, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    Noat sandals great for walking and looks. Tried many. These have worked through miles in Italy , France, and more. I decided on a bit of a wedge the last time. . Works for me but may not work for some. The velcro straps make it easy, if need be at the airport. They are just comfortable walking shoes which are a must when traveling. The wedge makes me feel taller but still good for rough roads. I use a Pacsafe purse when traveling . These have a safe place for $$ and cards and a lock zipper. Nylon and metal strap that cannot be cut. Perfect. Not too bad looking.

    • Judy
      March 8, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      It is Naot. Almost asleep sorry

  9. Sheri Baker
    March 9, 2017 / 7:02 am

    We leave for Italy in 2 weeks! I over-packed last year when we went. I blame that on being gone for 16 days and on an 11-night cruise (gotta pack nice cruise-wear). But I have followed your blog (and many others) searching for the keys to light packing. This time we are going for 9 days, and packing only carry-on. Wish me luck!!

  10. Maria
    March 9, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Absolutely LOVE seeing what you pack in the suitcase and refer to those quite often to keep myself “in check” while packing!

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