How to pack for a 3 month trip?

by Sylvia

How to pack for a long holiday? | 40plusstyle.com

I have often written about how I pack and how I create little capsule wardrobes to create a great variety of outfits for a holiday.

But how do you pack for a trip of 3 months that has a multitude of activities across 2 continents in various climates?

Ideally you want to pack little capsules for each of the actitivities that you are planning on doing.

In my case that would be:

  • Walking around town and sightseeing
  • Working at my desk
  • Shopping
  • Celebrating my birthday
  • Going out for diner
  • Exploring new cities on foot
  • Taking a language course in a beach town in Spain together with my son
  • Roadtrippin’ in Canada and the US
  • Bloggers meetups in Vancouver and New York
  • Wandering through forests and mountains and hiking in the US
  • Playing tennis
  • Doing yoga
  • Exploring New York
  • Fashion shows

As you can see, the list is so varied and needs such diverse clothing that I could really only pack one outfit for each activity. For a girl that needs variety and options that is just not a good idea. Packing light is definitely not an option here!

However, it’s good to have each of these activities in mind and make sure that you have the minimum necessary to carry them out.

I made sure to pack:

  • sport shoes
  • tennis attire
  • yoga attire
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • high heeled shoes for evening
  • beach wear
  • everything needed to carry out my work
  • cusual outfits
  • fancier outfits

Then I rounded up all my favorite clothes of the moment. As I’m firmly in neutrals country at the moment, most of these items mix and match well together.

Primarily the collection consists of whites, blues and greys with splashes of reds. Rather than planning out each outfit I just fit as many of my favorite clothes in the suitcase.

Then there are the accessories. These are more important when you start to wear more neutrals as they add the color and variety and make the outfit more special or truly unique to you. So I made sure to bring a variety of accessories which will still give me plenty of options to play with my outfits and have fun with it even when travelling.

We are all different when it comes to packing for holidays but I have learned that for me it does not make too much sense to pack too light if there is no real need for it. I once went on backpacking holiday (where it definitely made a lot of sense to pack very light) and I decided that I did not need any frills like lipstick. I can still remember it so well as it almost ruined the holiday. I missed that lipstick every day and felt totally awful in my drab practical clothes.

Of course packing light can be important (you don’t want to strain your back!) but you also have to be careful that it does not go at the expense of making you feel drab or uninspired. I learned my lesson on that trip and know that it’s always important to bring some things that make me feel beautiful and special on every trip.

So no, this is not a light suitcase (travelling light is not one of my fortes anyway) as the variety of clothing is more important for this trip than the convenience of light luggage.

It is important to note though that I will hardly ever have to carry my luggage since I will be doing most of my travels by car or stay stationary in one place for a large amount of time. I will also make use of several sizes of suitcases for various trips or split my stuff across 2 suitcases so I only need to use one lighter one.

I concede that I probably did pack a bit too much because I usually shop quite a lot this time of year. It’s the sales for my dominant season as I need hot summer clothes year round and I usually end up buying quite a bit.

But I also wanted to make sure that I did not HAVE TO buy anything. This will avoid buying mistakes as I can just concentrate on new things that will really add value to my wardrobe rather than buying things that would replace items that I could not pack.

Everything is already in my suitcase so no pictures of the actual items I took this time, but I will be sure to share regular updates of my looks on this site and through Instagram.

Here are a few pieces from my travel wardrobe.

The mint green tunic is perfect to wear with both capris, leggings and full-length pants. It looks unique both from the front and back and the extensive draping is perfect to pair with simple knee-high leggings such as these.

mint tunic with leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Even though I wore heels here (which did not make the cut for the travel wardrobe), this combination would look equally good with my flat white slingbacks (which did made the cut for the travel wardrobe).

Adding a third color with the red accessories makes this look more interesting and hip.

mint tunic with leggings and red accessories | 40plusstyle.com

mint tunic with leggings | 40plusstyle.com

mint draped tunic with leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Tunic (on sale) and leggings: c/o Stella Carakasi
Sandals: CK Calvin Klein (old)
Bag: small shop in The Netherlands
Necklace: Suzanne Carillo
Sunglasses: Loewe (similar)

Nothing much will change on the site while I’m on the road as I will continue to post updates every day with the addition of more Instagrams of all my adventures along the way. It’s going to be an exciting 3 months!

Have you ever been on an extended trip? How did you pack for it?

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Jenith

Happy & safe travels…..

Sylvia

thanks Jenith!

Rita

As my wardrobe is pretty small, I think I would just bring most of my (climate-appropriate) things and make sure I can wash laundry!

I do always pack as lightly as possible, and it is true that by the end of the trip I am tired of seeing/wearing at least one thing. I do enjoy the free and easy aspect of traveling with as little as possible, though. My dream would be to go on a trip with only what fits in my purse, then buy what I need when I get there (and mail everything home). 🙂

Have a fun trip!

Sylvia

Well that’s an idea!

Patti

I so look forward to seeing you in Canada! My weekend wardrobe for that trip will be in a carry-on, but I do hope to do some shopping with you : >

Sylvia

Me too Patti. And we will shop for sure!

Danielle

This is timely for me, as I have to pack for a 2-month trip in a few weeks!!

I have much of the same activities that you also list:

Yoga
Walking (for exercise)
Sightseeing in towns/cities, including a few days in NYC
Hiking in all types of wilderness throughout North America
Swimming
Celebrating my birthday (just like you! A special day for which I need a fancy outfit 🙂 )
Writing on my computer/Loungewear for hotels & as a guest in homes (comfortable clothing, not too restrictive)

Our expected itinerary will span weather conditions from Las Vegas to Banff.

Just like you, I am doing a capsule of sorts with 3 dominant colors: cream; navy; brown, and I chose also lots of pink, soft blue and gold to brighten each outfit.

The best part? I’ve narrowed my footwear down to 4 pairs; light brown sandals with stripes of dusky red, dusky green and dusky orange (quite versatile), light brown high heels, gold slip-on sneakers, and of course a pair of blue walking/hiking shoes.

Thanks for this post, it really helps me to further organize and narrow down my choices. I definitely have a list of what I want to pack, but I doubt it would fit into my suitcase!

Sylvia

Sounds like a great capsule Danielle. Have fun travelling!

Sabina @Oceanblue Style

Enjoy your trip! When I went to California for a few years it felt easier to pack than for a 2-week-vacation! But I would totally want to steal those capris from you 🙂 Sabina | Oceanblue Style

Sylvia

Well, I’m still ‘on the road’ so not stationary at just one place. That would indeed make things a whole lot easier.

Suzanne

Wow! I think I would find this overwhelming.

We are away right now and both of us took our own suitcase for just 3 days! LOL Normally my husband is brilliant at packing, but that is when he is on business. When we are away trying to hike, eat out, shop, explore it is harder to pack for all the different activities.

I commend you.

bisous
Suzanne

Sylvia

Well, at least you will have fun dressing on your trip. Enjoy!

Jodie filogomo

I agree with Suzanne…overwhelming to me too!! I think I would definitely plan on buying a couple things so I can have a little variety! I wonder why I get bored with the same clothes over time? jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
ps Can’t wait to see all the fun you have!!

Sylvia

I think it’s hugely due to personality. Some women don’t mind wearing the same items all the time. I quickly get bored. That’s where accessories come in handy as you can easily change an outfit with those.

Rebecca

Hi Sylvia,
When will you be in NYC? I’d love to meet up with you and other bloggers if possible.
Meanwhile enjoy your long vacation. Here, it is very unusual to take more than a couple of weeks vacation a year. I envy you!

Sylvia

Details of my New York trip are here and I’m planning to meet up with both bloggers and readers. You can register your interest here http://40plusstyle.com/meetup-vancouver-newyork/ It would be lovely to meet you!

denton taylor

I think this will not be all vacation, a lot of work in all this!

Sylvia

Yes I had wanted to add that to my comment. The reason I can be away from home is because I created a job for myself that I can do anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. The disadvantage of my job is that I can never really completely get away and always have to monitor the site (technical, emails etc). It is the one thing I actually don’t like as I can never have a true holiday and get completely away from it. It’s a small price to pay though as I absolutely love my work!

Greetje

This is very much of a challenge. But you are up for it. I know. Lovely tunic!!
I would have left yoga clothes and do the exercises in my underwear. Provided of course you do them in your own house/hotel room.

Sylvia

haha, no I was planning to visit a studio. I hope to find something here in Haarlem and since I’m in New York a whole month it would be fun to join classes with the locals… Underwear therefore not such a good idea. It’s all good though as I wear black leggings which are also very suitable as travel clothing.

Elaine

Have a fabulous summer Sylvia. Looking forward to meeting you in New York! I also take a 3 mo trip each year that includes a variety of activities and weather conditions. In fact this past winter I took my 21 Steps Course using only what I brought with me for the journey. It was a quite challenge! My packing strategy for a 30″ roller plus a standard carry on roller bag is neutral solid bottoms of various weights, styles and functions, with solid color and print tops and one dress. Casual jackets, sweaters and accessories finished the outfits. I limit the amount of accessories, shoes and bags so I have to wear them repeatedly but since we are on the go and casually meeting people there is no issue other than boredom! Some tee shirts, shorts and leggings play multiple roles as sport wear and casual street pieces. I always buy something while traveling and ship things home if my luggage is full. C’est la vie!

Sylvia

I have never shipped things home, but it may be a strategy I’m going to use this time. We’ll see. Will be lovely to see you in New York!

Sheela Goh

What perfect timing, Sylvia. I’m off to Malaysia in under a month, to see my parents, and, in between that, to Melbourne ifor my brother’s convocation. Talk about polar differences in terms of weather 🙂 aside from a few rudimentary Winter essentials, I haven’t decided what to pack and that’s where this post comes in very handy. I love the bit where you said travelling light isn’t quite your cup of tea (it’s never been mine).

Sylvia

Yes packing light seems to be all the rage right now but I believe it’s often not practical at all. (unless of course you need to use public transport a lot when you travel; then it makes a lot of sense). Enjoy your trip!

sjw

In addition to all your packing tips — I love your tunic so ran over to Stella Caracas and bought one for myself! (And also couldn’t resist a few other items there.) I would love to see you in all of your Stella pieces in one of your blogs.

sjw

Whoops — computer auto-correct did a number on Stella’s name: It is Carakasi.

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