Fall is often a cooler, less crowded, and more affordable time to travel. At the same time, it can be a challenge for packing due to unpredictable weather. Fortunately, with some careful packing, any fall trip can be successful.
I have long preferred to travel in the fall. Whether it’s the colorful autumn foliage, the quieter destinations, or the cheaper flights and accommodations, this is the time of year I plan most of my trips. Over time, I’ve learned from my packing mistakes and now consider myself quite adept at choosing a comfortable and stylish wardrobe that can handle anything Mother Nature throws at me.
Here are my six tips for packing for fall travel.
1. Prepare For Any Weather With Layers
During a recent trip to Yosemite National Park, I found myself waking up to temperatures in the low 40s and later in the day hiking under a bright sun while the thermometer reached almost 80 degrees. Needless to say, staying comfortable was all about layering.
No matter where I travel during the fall, my top strategy is packing layers. A t-shirt, layered with a long-sleeved shirt, topped with a light sweatshirt or jacket can get me through any weather and even a particularly chilly air-conditioned restaurant. Packing light layers also helps if you’re flying and prefer to bring only a carry-on. Bulky sweaters or jackets take up too much space.
2. Bring A Large, Lightweight Scarf
During a trip to South Korea many years ago, I was given a large, lightweight scarf that has since become my go-to travel accessory. Sometimes I use it purely as an accessory to jazz up an otherwise boring outfit. But often I wrap it around my neck or shoulders for a little extra warmth. It’s easy to throw the scarf in my purse and pull it out whenever needed. I highly recommend choosing a scarf that is machine washable.
3. Choose Travel-Friendly Fabrics
No matter how stylish a piece of clothing, certain fabrics look terrible after spending several hours in a suitcase. And while most hotel rooms offer irons and boards, that’s rarely the way I want to spend my time when I’m in a new city.
Consider packing clothes made from rayon, polyester, and cotton blends. If it’s something I have to iron at home, I don’t pack it. If you’ll be in a cooler climate, merino wool is a terrific option since it’s a lighter weight than other wool varieties but provides sufficient warmth.
4. Opt For Dark Or Neutral Colors
I tend to travel with clothing that is dark or neutral-colored so that it’s easy to curate an outfit on the go. Essentially, I’m looking for plenty of easy opportunities to mix and match. I like to get ready quickly in the morning and maximize my time exploring. These colors also tend to be more forgiving in the event of small stains or sweat.
5. Don’t Forget Something Dressy
While I prioritize comfortable clothing for travel, I never want to miss out on an opportunity to dress up for a special dinner or evening out. So I always bring something a bit dressier.
A few years ago, my brother and I walked the Cotswold Trail during October. Needless to say, most of what I packed was for this adventure. However, with a few days in London after the trek, I brought a mid-length black rayon dress. It came in handy when we decided to visit Sky Garden and enjoyed dinner at one of their upscale eateries. Now this dress almost always gets added to my suitcase. In the event the weather is chilly, I add tights and a lightweight sweater and I’m good to go.
6. Make Your Outfit Complete With Accessories
I always prioritize comfort when I travel, and during the fall, it’s also important to be prepared for all weather conditions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t value style. My outfits come together with a small selection of accessories.
In addition to my all-purpose scarf, I often pack a smaller, colorful one that can brighten up any outfit. Then, I fill my traveling jewelry case with an assortment of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Everything I bring is fun and colorful, but not valuable, so that I’m not worried if anything is lost. And for the evening, I bring a small, clutch purse that’s far more stylish than the backpack I carry during the day.
As you prepare for your next fall adventure, take the time to carefully select the items you’ll pack. When you arrive at your destination, your clothing should be comfortable and well-suited for the local climate and your outfits easy to curate, with a bit of style to pull off with accessories. After all, you want to minimize time in your hotel room and maximize time exploring your new destination.