There are some times we must pack light. European trips involving frequent train travel — it’s the only way to go. But ladies, when we talk road trips and cruises, we have a lot more latitude. You can bring the BIG suitcase!
As I prepare to launch of for a month of travel, starting with two weeks of road-tripping through Florida, then culminating in a two week Celebrity cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, I’ve ditched my carry-on spinner for a full-sized (25 inch) suitcase.
I’ve just replaced my full-sized suitcase with a new Travelpro. I loved my smaller carry-on size Travelpro spinner that I took to Italy in September, so I thought I’d try another bag from this luggage company.
If you’re interested in looking at the Travelpro 25″ Spinner, you’ll find it here on eBags, or here on Amazon: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 25” Expandable Spinner Suiter (Olive,25-inch)
Travel wardrobes still require thought, even when you do have more space. Capsule wardrobes help you get more outfits from of fewer pieces of clothing. Regardless of whether you’re traveling, or simply improving your home wardrobe, they’re a smart way to think.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
The concept originated with Susie Faux in 1973, at her shop Wardrobe in London’s West End.
The idea is to choose neutral, well-made pieces of clothing with the maximum ability to coordinate with one another, giving you as many outfits as possible. Capsule wardrobing is a great concept for anyone paring down their closet at home, but it is also perfectly suited to traveling.
Due to spending time on the beach, in the Caribbean, and in hot climates in Central and South America, I’m certainly going with lighter colors than I would if I were traveling in Europe.
A classic 4 x 4 Capsule wardrobe should have 16 pieces of clothing, not counting accessories, and can broken down as follows:
- First Core of Four: Four pieces of clothing in a darker neutral (2 bottoms, 1 top, and 2nd top – preferably one cardigan or jacket)
- Second Core of Four: Four pieces of clothing in a lighter neutral (2 bottoms, 1 top, 2nd top — preferably a cardigan or jacket)
- Bridge/Expansion Four: Four tops that go with ALL of the Core pieces of clothing. Think either tops with patterns that have both of the core colors in them, or tops in colors that simply complement both of the core colors well.
- Mileage Four: This might be 4 additional tops, or instead — perhaps 2 tops, an additional bottom, and a dress. For my trip, I added one extra piece here, so it turned out to be the Mileage Five :-).
- Additional: Accent Accessories: scarves, jewelry, shoes, purses that work with the core pieces. I like scarves that bring pops of color to the basic neutral pieces of the wardrobe.
In addition, I am taking 2 swimsuits, one cover-up, and a pair of flip flops, which are not shown in the image below.
Within the two Core sets of neutrals, I’m taking one light-weight cardigan in white, and one beige jacket. The white ruffled-front cardigan can hang open or be knotted at the waist. Purses: a soft blue Fossil hobo, as well as a Cole Haan black cross-body bag and a small silver clutch for evenings — giving me some variety and the ability to carry reading glasses, a Sea Pass card, and my iPhone.
What women choose to wear on “formal” nights varies dramatically, and you’ll see everything: cocktail dresses, more elegant maxi-style dresses, cropped pants with glittery tops, and some who have inexplicably chosen dresses that look like high school prom night. Note: on smaller, boutique cruise lines, like Windstar and Star Clippers, there are no formal nights. Every night is smart-casual.
For the dressier evenings on the ship, I have chosen NOT to bring a cocktail dress. I often bring a cocktail dress, but this on this trip I’m giving that a big miss. Since I have a two week road trip before the cruise, I need more versatile pieces of clothing.
Once onboard, my “dress night” garb will my black dress, and the cropped black pants with blue camisole or black tank top with more formal pieces of jewelry. I’ve done this on many cruises, and it’s worked well for me. Ladies, this is one place that we all vary. For my readers wanting dressier options, I’d switch out a couple of pieces within the Mileage category, and simply replace them with more formal options.
For my full four week trip, I’ll certainly be doing laundry — on the Florida road trip, the condo in Miami has a washing machine and dryer, so I’ll board the Celebrity Reflection with everything clean. Once onboard, I plan to send laundry out once. One thing to keep in mind: the industrial laundry on ships isn’t gentle. Hand washing knits or other delicate items in your room may be the smart way to go.
Here are images to give you an idea of just a few of the many combinations you can get from the Travel Capsule Wardrobe shown above.
Packing Folder and Cube System
Packing efficiently: I am a BIG believer in packing folders and packing cubes. Honestly, I’m not sure how I packed before getting the folders and cubes. In the nineties, I had a folding “suiter” case that had a central section for hanging close, then multiple zipping sections and pockets — and back then, that was as good is you could get.
In 2003, when that case wore out, I bought a new 25″ Samsonite case — you know, a standard suitcase with one central black hole of a big space. I bought my first packing folder and a couple of cubes, and I was sold. SO much better than the older suiter case that I’d had. If you haven’t used the folders and cubes, the Pack It video from Eagle Creek demonstrates how the system works.
For this packing list, I used two medium Eagle Creek Pack-It folders: one for bottoms + dress, and the other for tops, cardigan, and jacket. Then I put the undies, bras, sleepwear, and scarves in one cube, and swimsuits and cover-up in a second cube. Toiletries and makeup have separate bags. Everything fit in my 25″ Travelpro Spinner, no problem.
I love the folders, because while no packing method is wrinkle free, they decrease wrinkling better than any other method I’ve tried. I also love that I can pull the folders and cubes out of my suitcase, pop them into drawers, and I’m unpacked in a couple of minutes.
|Eagle Creek Medium Pack-It Folder on eBags|
|Eagle Creek Pack It Medium Pack-It Folder on Amazon|
Things People often FORGET to Pack for a Cruise
|Things you’ll probably need||Things that might come in handy|
Notes: clothing shown comes from Chico’s and Eddie Bauer — but you can obviously build wardrobes like this with any brand of clothing. Scarves: Gucci and Missoni from Nordstrom, Tiffany scarf from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Packing lighter for a European trip where you’re hopping on trains?