What to pack for 1 year of travel: Girls Edition

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When we were getting ready to go on our year-long trip around the world, I was super concerned about what to pack. Not really for style reasons. More so for logistics. 

We were planning to go to Southeast Asia in June and Europe in December, so I needed to pack for hot and humid weather, as well as cold and dry conditions. And I had to make it all fit in one backpack. What. The. Heck. How was I going to do that?

After some research and online shopping, I made my best guess at what I was going to need. I pinned all of the items on a Pinterest board and went to each of the stores to try things on. Most of the clothes fit well, so I bought them and hoped for the best!

Now that we've been on the road for 5 months, I can safely say that I did it 100% right. I have everything that I need and there isn't anything else that I wish I brought. Woohoo! 

Here is a look at my travel capsule wardrobe:

As you can see, most of the pieces are casual and simple. I wasn't very concerned about having an A-list wardrobe, because we are traveling on a budget. No 5-star resorts or Michelin-rated restaurants for us! However, I did throw in a little black dress, leather jacket, and some strappy sandals for nights out and nicer occasions. I am a girl after all. :) 

When building a travel capsule wardrobe, here are a few factors to consider. 

  1. Matching - If you can only bring 5 tops and 5 bottoms, then choose pieces that mix and match. It's much better to have 25 outfits than 5 outfits. I packed basic tees and tanks in different colors, so they would easily match every pair of shorts and pants in my bag. Plus, I needed some variety. I was going to be wearing this stuff ALL YEAR.
  2. Fabric - If you are traveling in hot and muggy weather, then look for fabrics that breathe well. I found four t-shirts from Lucy and two tank tops from REI that are made from moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabric. This makes them perfect for hot climate (or any climate, really). And they dry fast after washing! Score.
  3. Warm Layers - If you are traveling in a wide variety of weather (like us), then it's best to bring multiple layers that can be worn over each other. You can layer up in the cold and strip down in the heat. In mid summer, I only wore a t-shirt in Bali. In late summer, I layered on a long pullover for the cooler nights in Paris. In early fall, I added my zip-up fleece in Warsaw. In the middle of fall, I put on my sweatshirt in Alsace. And once it started to get really cold, I threw on my parka in Zurich! Packing multiple layers has saved me through the seasons.
  4. Stylish Layers - If you want more than t-shirts and jeans, then bring a chambray shirt and leather jacket. They instantly dress up a casual outfit. I have worn my chambray shirt more than anything else that I brought. And I love my leather jacket for going out! It looks great with jeans and my LBD. Speaking of...
  5. Treat Yo Self - If you really like dressing up, then you should definitely bring at least one nice outfit. My friend and fellow travel blogger Trip Styler reminded me of this just before we left. She recommended bringing a little black dress, because it would be perfect for any occasion. And she was right! I wear it all the time. It was the perfect choice for our first wedding anniversary, my birthday, and date nights when we splurge a little. I even wore it to the beach as a sun dress! I would feel like a scrub without it. 

So there you go! That's a quick overview of what I packed and why I packed it. It's perfect for a comfortable, low-maintenance wardrobe that needs to last a full year in every season. 

Also, if you love lists, then here is a complete list of the clothes I packed. (Not including toiletries + electronics + other random stuff)

Tops

  • 4 tshirts 
  • 2 tank tops 
  • 1 chambray shirt
  • 1 dry fit pullover
  • 1 fleece pullover
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 leather jacket
  • 1 parka
  • 1 black dress

Bottoms

  • 1 pair of denim shorts
  • 1 pair of khaki shorts
  • 1 pair of floral shorts
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 pair of jeggings
  • 1 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of floral flowy pants 

Others

  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 4 pajama tops
  • 4 pajama bottoms
  • 4 bras
  • 3 sports bras

Accessories

  • 2 swimsuits 
  • 1 sunhat 
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 baseball hat
  • 1 pair of earrings
  • 1 belt
  • 1 cross body purse

Shoes

  • Dressy sandals
  • Flip flops
  • Tevas
  • Running shoes

For more travel wardrobe tips, check out posts from Trip Styler on the Expedia Viewfinder blog. Her latest piece is all about why you need a travel uniform. It's a fantastic read.

What to pack for one year of travel: Girl's edition. Great packing tips for female backpackers!
What to pack for one year of travel: Girl's edition. Great packing tips for female backpackers!