First, I would like to thank the following individuals for supporting me with my perspective shift, and for relaying personal experiences and providing me with some of the following tips for surviving with less while on the road: Valentina Sgro, Helen Montfort, and Janet Greene.
When selecting bottoms (pants or skirts), choose khaki or black, or jeans as they will go with everything and are basic enough that they can be recycled during a trip without feeling like you are wearing the same outfit everyday. Though we had been to Paris before, my husband was especially aware this trip that men don’t wear shorts in Paris. He ended up wearing his two pairs of jeans almost everyday. Next time he plans to take three pairs of jeans.
Take only half as many pants or skirts as the number of days you will be there. For six days in Paris and two travel days, I had one pair of jeans, a pair of khaki Capri pants and one pair of brown linen Capri pants. In addition, I had two pairs of yoga pants for the travel days.
Take one or two basic cover–ups in a neutral color. It is best if these two could be layered if necessary. My two pieces that fulfilled these roles were a black thigh-length rayon summer sweater and a black lightweight thigh-length unstructured knit jacket. I layered these two pieces on the plane for warmth and to keep warm on the chilly June evenings. The unstructured jacket was the most essential piece of clothing that I took on the trip as it traveled with me everywhere, either stuffed in my purse or on my body. It provided the perfect amount of warmth and looked good doing it.
Take one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of dressier shoes. This is the one area that I struggled with the most. My husband took one pair of Ecco walking shoes and a pair of Birkenstocks. I struggled mightily with selecting only two pairs to take. In the end I selected a pair of Clark’s Unstructured slip on sandals in black leather with brown accents and a pair of gray and khaki Ecco walking shoes. I opted for two pairs of shoes that were extremely comfortable and skipped taking a dressier pair as we had already agreed that we would not be dressing up for anything. I have to admit that I ended up tossing in a pair of black flip-flops at the last minute, bringing me up to three pairs of shoes.
My husband and I walk a lot on our vacations and it was common for us to log five to ten miles per day walking Paris and its many museums. My husband’s feet got tired even in his super comfortable Ecco walking shoes. By day three, my feet were pretty sore even though I had been trading off wearing all three pairs of shoes. Would having another pair of shoes with me have resulted in me not having sore feet? This is most likely not the case. I think that only walking less would have resulted in happier feet.
I’d love to hear your tips for packing light! Please share what you’ve learned.