Packing the wrong clothes for a trip can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and may turn your dream holiday into a nightmare.
There's nothing worse than being too hot or too cold. It may sound obvious, but check the weather forecasts before you go! It may not be what you think, especially in countries where conditions vary from one region to the next.
Some guys I know visited China with just their ‘summer' clothes. When they arrived it was only 2 degrees and they were freezing! Another couple heading to Norway packed all their cold weather gear – it's snowy up there, right? But it was July, the sun was shining and the temperatures were glorious.
Common Mistakes when packing for a vacation
- Assuming the weather will be different to what it really is, and not bothering to check the actual forecast.
- Ignoring a wind chill factor – this can make a huge difference to how the temperatures feel.
- Not allowing for air con – it can be freezing indoors if you've dressed for sweltering heat outside.
Check the climate before you go
- If your trip is a little way off, check the normal climate for the time of year you will be visiting. This will give you a good idea of what to expect. I use Weather Online – you can check individual cities and view the climate and history.
- Check for each region or city you are visiting – they may not be the same.
- Shortly before you go, check the latest forecasts to see if there are any unseasonal changes. I love the Weather+app for 6 day forecasts (download for iPad/iPhone or Android).
Layer it up
In most cases, the key to getting it right and having options for all eventualities is to pack light layers. You can wear as many, or few, as you need depending on the temperatures.
- Two thinner tops are better than one thick one; whilst you might need to wear both outdoors, when you're inside you can remove one to stay comfortable.
- Similarly a short-sleeved and a long-sleeved t-shirt can be worn individually, or together – giving you three options.
- A camisole top can be a sun top, or a base layer on cooler days.
- A cardigan is a versatile piece – wear it fastened or open, and it's easy to remove.
- A scarf, hat and gloves add a surprising amount of warmth, but take up very little space – either in your flight case or your day bag. Added to layers, you can get away with a thinner jacket.
Choosing the right fabric for the climate
I always opt for natural fabrics or those designed for active wear. They are breathable, insulating and comfortable.
- Definitely avoid synthetics like polyester in hot weather – they're hot, sweaty and can irritate your skin.
- Cotton, linen, modal and silk are good choices when it's hot.
- And I really love bamboo fabric – it's soft, comfortable and moisture-wicking to keep you fresh and dry. It washes well and dries really quickly.
- Light wool is also a top choice – it can be worn multiple times without retaining odours, it keeps you warm if it's cold and cool in the heat. Like bamboo it's also quick and easy to wash and dry.
Being prepared for the climate is one of the best way to ensure you have an enjoyable trip.