A minimalist’s guide to packing light

A guide to packing light for travel

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Organising a weekend away should be a relaxing process but the packing phase can be a source of anxiety for even the calmest jetsetter. It’s a challenge made harder when the goal is just to take carry-on luggage.

Packing light is a goal that most travellers attempt to achieve but, due to either packing last minute or a lack of editing, often fail to reach. Choosing a range of classic and versatile staples that can be easily incorporated into any outfit will also significantly cut back on luggage. Here, our guide to packing light for all seasons. 


Cool and relaxed should be your keywords when choosing items to pack for a summer getaway. As a guideline, here are six base items for a winning holiday look:

  • Tailored shorts in either white or navy and a single pair of jeans or chinos – you’ll most likely be wearing beachwear most of the time.
  • Footwear that can easily be worn with both, such as a suede loafer or deck shoe.
  • Two loose shirts, in white and pale blue, and easily incorporated into any look. With shorts, sleeves half rolled and open at the neck for a more casual look, or freshly ironed with denim for an evening.
  • A lightweight sweater in Merino wool completes the look. Merino is the perfect fabric for summer clothing as it keeps the wearer cooler. An ultrafine, lightweight Merino sweater, worn without a shirt, provides an elegantly louche aesthetic.

Heading on a summer break? See our guide to packing light.


Warmth and robust should be what guides your autumn/winter holiday wardrobe as it includes slightly heavier garments than summer:

  • A pair of jeans and chinos in beige or khaki are your base.
  • Footwear that, again, is easy to wear with both, and a timeless classic, such as the desert boot, is a stylish choice.
  • Two shirts, but this time choose ones with patterns such as check or striped to contrast with the generally darker tone of winter gear.
  • A thick Merino wool sweater in navy.
  • A navy wool peacoat. Navy is a flattering colour for anyone, and teamed with chinos provides a rugged finish yet is perfectly elegant with denim. See our guide to the best winter coats.

Check ahead, list and edit

Despite nature’s tendency to change her mind last minute, checking the weather ahead of leaving can save you much heartache when it comes to packing.

Making a list of all the clothes you think you will need and then laying them out lets you keep on top of unnecessary doubling up, and also allows you to pre-style your looks, recycling garments where possible.

Hotels have laundries, or can recommend a good dry cleaner. Packing light can mean wearing something more than once and a local dry cleaner can help offer a quick freshen up.


[Photo top] Credit: Tatomm

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