It can be challenging to pack light at any time of the year and for any type of trip. But it gets a bit trickier when you have to figure out how to pack light for different climates in one trip. But it can be done!
Below are a few top recommendations for how to pack for multiple climates and what to wear when traveling from cold to hot weather – or vice-versa.
How to Pack for Multiple Destinations with Different Climates
Follow the tips below for what to pack for cold and warm weather and you’ll find packing for different climates is manageable after all.
Start with a packing list
Start with the items you must bring with you, such as prescriptions and reading glasses, as well as items that make you more comfortable along on your trip, like an e-reader.
Think in terms of what you can’t do without rather than what would be nice to have “just in case”. Just in case items are hardly ever used and, in the event you need one, you can get it at your destination.
Check the weather in advance
Check the extended forecast online and then 3 days before you leave. Think about how many days you will be in warm vs cold weather and pack accordingly.
If you’re spending a short amount of time in cold weather (or if you’re not sure if you’ll encounter cold weather on your trip), only pack a few essentials for the cold: two outerwear pieces, a long sleeve top and leggings.
Think layers and double duty
Wearing layers of clothing is the only way to effectively pack for both warm and cold weather climates and both dry and damp conditions. The inner layers trap heat against the body to keep you warm and the outer layers can be removed whenever you need to cool down.
Clothing items that work double-duty are ideal. For example:
- Ballet flats work for day and night and are comfortable for walking.
- Silk, merino, and cashmere sweaters are easy to layer with thin tank tops and t-shirts.
- Tights and leggings work well under pants and skirts to add a layer of warmth and are great for light wear too.
Always carry two quality outerwear items that can be worn together in the cold. Depending on your trip, this might include one outer layer that protects from wind and rain and one middle layer to provide warmth.
Additionally, thermals are essential to pack. They keep you warm and allow you to avoid packing thick sweaters. Don’t forget essential winter accessories like a scarf, hat, and gloves, if the weather calls for them.
Eliminate, then eliminate some more
Once you have your warm and cold weather clothing selected, it’s time to edit. Only items that can be used many times and with many other items go in the suitcase. If necessary, put the outfits together and see how they work with each other.
If you have any sweatshirts, jeans, hiking boots or sneakers, wear these on your travel days. They’re too heavy and take up too much space to put in your suitcase
Take advantage of packing cubes
Packing cubes are one of the best ways to maximize your space and pack efficiently. Find out how to use packing cubes in our guide.
In addition to the tips for packing for different climates above, check out these tips for packing wisely.And, if you don’t already own a suitcase, get the perfect BR bag for your trip and to match your style.
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