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Packing: A Travel Uniform – An Easier Approach to Packing?

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This post explores the idea of a travel uniform, or clothing that we already turn on a daily basis at home that transitions nicely into our travel plans.

Instead of purchasing new outfits for a trip, select the pieces you already know, love and wear eases decision-making when on the road.

Read more to learn about the numerous benefits and examples of how a travel uniform might come together for a 10-day summer trip.

Why consider a travel uniform for a future trip?

While a travel uniform can be tuned to the particular set of activities or climate, the idea is to select pieces from your wardrobe that you have already tried and continue to wear again-and-again. Instead of going out and purchasing all new items for a trip, your suitcase would mostly be filled with known pieces would make up the majority of the items in your bag.

Experience tells us that being on the road is the last place where we want to try out new clothes or “change it up”. Many a traveler has fallen victim to a piece of clothing that is advertised as one thing, and turns out to be another. It is tricky to determine how clothing and shoes will wear over the course of a day, if the material provides enough warmth with other coordinating items, and if the fit is right.

Benefits of a travel uniform

  • Pieces are familiar – already wear these items regularly at-home
  • Pieces are all color-coordinated and work with one another –> more put together look
  • Knowledge of how materials wear & breathe over the course of a day
  • Knowledge of how warm an outfit will be when layered
  • Can pack for a single or multiple-climates and seasons with an emphasis on layers
  • Decision-fatigue reduced having to select outfits ahead of, and during, travel
  • Can be worn comfortably over many hours
  • No special laundering requirements; easy to care for
  • No travel time lost tending to blistered feet or chaffed inner thighs
  • Less susceptibility to overpack the “just-in-case” items
  • Can be changed seasonally to adjust for climate
  • Less expense spent on buying new clothes for every vacation/trip; adjustments made seasonally
  • Even when packing less don’t feel unequipped or “without”

Putting together a uniform – basic questions

  • What season will I be traveling in?
  • What is the weather forecast?
  • What kinds of activities will I be doing?
  • Will the items I select allow me to be present in the moment and not focus on the clothes themselves?

Travel use case: 10 day trip, city travel; walking five-ten miles/day

Example of a travel uniform – hers

Packing list:

  • Rain shell or jacket
  • Cardigan jacket
  • 4 shirts (adjust to long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless depending on time of year)
  • 1 pant (denim or black – if fall of winter, add in second pair, remove one skirt)
  • 2 dresses (one midi, one mini)
  • 2 skirts (remove one skirt if fall or winter, add pant)
  • 2-3 pairs of shoes (white sneakers, neutral flat, add walking sandal if spring or summer, boot if fall or winter)
  • 2 bags (foldable tote bag and cross body day bag)
  • 3 pairs of wool no-show socks
  • Underwear for each day of the trip + flight
  • Accessories: scarf, delicate earrings, sunglasses
  • Bathing suit (remove for fall, winter)

Typical outfit: Midi dress, shirt, cardigan jacket, scarf and white sneaker (or neutral flat)

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