Do you always pack a giant suitcase only to wear 50% of the clothes? Trust me, I’ve been there; on vacation and wasting time figuring out what to wear, plus with the annoying feeling of ‘I have nothing to wear’ every morning when getting ready to go out and explore. That’s why I decided to learn and share how to create a capsule wardrobe for travel that works for me, based not only on the destination and length of the trip, but also considering activities and the type of traveler that I am. I hope you learn how to create one too!
It feels like a dream to be able to write this post. I can’t believe I was finally able to leave the country after 4 years. I’ve been very open about my struggle with my green card and passport issues, so I won’t go into details here today. However, I do want to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to travel outside of the US. I’ll never take it for granted.
Ready? Lets learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for travel!
In a hurry? Go straight to anything related to creating a capsule wardrobe for traveling:
- What did I pack this capsule wardrobe for?
- Why is it important to learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for travel?
- Planning a capsule wardrobe for vacation? Start here
- How was it to travel during COVID-19
- Travel capsule wardrobe packing list – Things I packed & why
- 25 cute vacation outfits with the pieces I packed
- Packing Essentials when traveling to Europe
- Other things I packed (like accessories & other stuff)
- Final thoughts about travel capsule wardrobes
- Related posts you may also like
Estimated reading time: 17 minutes
What did I pack this capsule wardrobe for?
I packed this suitcase for a 2 week Summer vacation to Europe. We went to Dubrovnik and different cities in Holland. That’s why a lot of the outfits are comfortable and work for warm weather.
Summer in Europe can be extremely hot. Like uncomfortably hot. It was over 90 degrees in Dubrovnik almost every single day! Most of our days consisted in exploring the city early in the morning or towards the afternoon. We also did some day trips and of course, went to the beach to refresh and enjoy the beautiful (and cold!) Adriatic sea.
I like to be comfortable but cute. It’s very rare that I pack any heels because realistically, I won’t wear them if there’s a lot of walking involved, which is usually the case in Europe. That’s why you won’t see any fancy dresses or heels in this post. I didn’t pack to take cute photos, I packed to be practical and of course, look nice but comfortable because that’s just who I am.
I hope you find this post useful, be inspired to create your own version of any of these looks and learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for travel that fits your needs.
Why is it important to learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for travel?
I’ve always been an over packer. Like TERRIBLE at packing. But I like to think I’ve learn a thing or two after living out of a suitcase for the past 9 months and now I travel the world full time with my husband, so I’m still living out of a suitcase!
I share all my updated travel outfits (with links) here!
I think it’s important for you to learn how to create your own capsule wardrobes, whether seasonal or for vacation. I hate the ‘I have nothing to wear feeling’. It makes me feel frustrated and that’s not how I like to feel on vacation (or ever!). I also don’t like to waste time in the mornings thinking about what to wear.
If you learn about which pieces suit you and can style in many different ways, then you are on the way to create a minimalist wardrobe (I wrote more details about it here). I truly hope this post inspires you to pack less next time you go on vacation, feel good about the super cute looks you planned in advance and apply minimalism to other areas of your life.
Planning a capsule wardrobe for vacation? Start here
Ok, so you are planning your own capsule wardrobe for travel. What are some of the things you should think about?
- First, check the weather! It’s key in order to decide what you will be packing. I’m not going to lie, it does get tricky when you are traveling to multiple destinations with different climates, but it’s totally doable. We were in Dubrovnik for 9 days and then Holland for 6 and the weather was very different, but not like crazy different. Dubrovnik was very hot… Like over 90 degrees and sunny every single day. Holland was windy, cloudy and in the 60’s the first few days and then sunny and in the 80’s the last 3 days.
- Then, think about what activities you will be doing during your stay. Is it adventure? Is it walking and getting lost? Do you need to always be comfortable? Or can you sacrifice that part some times?
- What’s your style? Please don’t try to recreate exactly every single one of my outfits. That’s not the point here. I want you to create your own version of these looks with pieces you already have in your closet and adding your own personal touch. You won’t see heels in this post, but if you wear heels, then by all means bring them! Feel free to replace any of the things I’m wearing with anything that fits your own style.
- Think about how many times a day you will realistically change outfits. You see, I always think I need 2-3 outfits per day lol. It’s totally not true in Europe. You will want to shower and change during the day of course, but it’s not always possible. A lot of times you will end up having dinner with the same outfit you left your hotel/airbnb in the morning.
How was it to travel during COVID?
It wasn’t terrible but still very different from what it used to be. A little bit more complicated, but definitely doable and 100% worth it.
We are both fully vaccinated and we had to get tested. You have to fill health forms for every country (even if you are just in transit) and also follow the COVID-19 test guidelines even if you are just passing through. Let me explain:
Our final destination was Croatia and they didn’t have any testing requirements, however we had a layover in London and Madrid, so we had to get tested 72 hours before our trip because they ask for it. We also had to fill the health forms for each country. Same on the way back to the US.
You have to wear your mask during your flights and in the airports, so that makes the trip extra long, but again, not a big deal if you have a comfortable face mask. In Croatia and Holland we didn’t have to wear masks outside, so that was nice. In Holland they were definitely less strict about wearing masks indoors, however, we rarely ate indoors, so it wasn’t bad at all.
I’m just sharing my experience and since things change so quickly, please make sure to check local health guidelines before you book your tickets anywhere these days.
** If interested in checking out my updated travel outfits (right now we’re in Albania!) check out this link!** (can’t believe we are traveling the world full time now!)
Travel capsule wardrobe packing list – Things I packed & why
Ok, let’s get down to all the basic pieces I packed to create this capsule wardrobe for travel! Keep in mind that you don’t need the exact pieces I’m wearing. Just use whatever you have in your closet. I’m also explaining why I packed certain things. I know some of my choices might be controversial for some people LOL but I swear I have a reason for everything! This travel capsule wardrobe was very well thought of.
- Tops: 10 total
2 button down shirts (one denim + one white) – 1 striped T-shirt – 1 white T-shirt – 1 sweater – 1 white tank top – 1 black tank top – 3 dressier tops
*You will notice that I packed a lot of white tops. I always do this because A.) They go well with everything and B.) I wear natural deodorant and I get really sweaty LOL. White or black tops are better to hide this. If this is the case with you as well, and you are traveling to Europe in the Summer, then follow my advice. You can always wash them at your Airbnb or ask your hotel to do it for you.
- Sweaters & Jackets: 2 total (completely unnecessary until Holland, but so glad I packed them!)
1 long cardigan – 1 denim jacket
- Bottoms: 6 total
Beige comfy pants – Black comfy pants – Midi Skirt – Short Skirt – Denim Shorts – Striped jeans
- Dresses & Jumpsuits: 4 total
1 maxi dress – 1 LBD – 1 black jumpsuit – 1 beach cover up
*Another maxi dress option here.
- Shoes & Sandals: 4 pairs total (all the shoes passed the walking test!)
Brown Slides – Black Slides – Best White Sneakers – Espadrilles
*The white leather sneakers have been sold out for a while now. These are a great option too. They are from the same brand, but in Canvas. Super cute & cheaper!
- Other things & accessories: 4 total
2 headbands – 1 bathing suit – 1 hat
Total pieces packed: 30
Total Outfits created: 25
25 cute vacation outfits with the pieces I packed
Here are some cute outfits for vacation I created with the pieces I packed. I would have been able to create many more outfits too, but truth is, I didn’t change 2-3 times every single day. This suitcase could have easily been for a whole month in Europe!
Keep in mind that our Airbnb had a washing machine and I did laundry once. That’s why I don’t mind packing white tops and that’s why you’ll see me wearing the same pieces multiple times. These are the real outfits I wore and a lot of the photos were just taken with my phone. I didn’t pack this suitcase to take cute pics.
PS: I’m linking to only the pieces that are in-stock. Some other things are very old, so I’m linking to similar pieces instead.
Outfits to walk around and explore (Very hot weather – AKA Dubrovnik):
- Best white sneakers (leather ones are sold out, but here you have 2 options from the same brand: $98 & $79)
- Linen white button down shirt – (budget friendly option here)
- Similar denim shorts – (another option here)
- Similar white ruffle top
- Black sandals – (another cute option here)
- Similar Espadrilles
- Best T-shirts
- Similar pleated skirt
- Similar Printed Mini skirt
Outfits to walk around and explore (Nicer weather – AKA Holland):
Outfits to go out for dinner:
*A lot of the times I went out for dinner with what I wore the whole day. That’s why I like to look nice during the day too, just in case you don’t have time to change, you can still enjoy a nice meal at a nice restaurant after a long day of exploring.
- Similar maxi dress – (another black option here)
- LBD – (another cute option here)
- Black Sandals
- Straw Hat
- Similar pleated midi skirt
Outfits for the airport:
- I technically forgot to take one airport photo. I wore black comfy pants, a striped T-shirt, white sneakers and the beige sweater from the photo above. Also, working on a blog post about what to wear for the airport because I messed up with the wide leg pants. I’ll explain why later on ;)
Also read: how to style an oversized sweater & Stylish and Comfy Airport Outfits
Outfits for the beach:
Links: Bathing suit – Similar Shorts – Cover Up – Hat – Sunnies – Sandals
*Pro tip: If you pack a one-piece bathing suit, make sure it matches with a couple of your bottom pieces. This way you can use the bathing suit as a body suit like I did. It’s easy, practical and cute! Also, if you have a cover-up like this one, you can also throw it over a cami and shorts (like kimono style). We went to the beach a few times and I just repeated outfits :)
Packing Essentials when traveling to Europe
There are certain pieces that are not negotiable when traveling to Europe in the Summer. Here are some you can’t miss:
- A power adapter
- A good ocean safe sunscreen
- Water proof sandals or flip flops
- A hat
- A water bottle (especially during Summer!) – We love the brand LifeStraw because they have a filter and a social mission :)
*I wish I had packed a pair of goggles (or snorkel) for swimming to be able to see clearly underwater and a pair of water friendly sandals (I’m buying these ones for our upcoming trip around the world)
Other things I packed (like accessories & other stuff)
Here are some other things I packed:
- 3 pairs of earrings (can substitute with necklaces or other accessories) –
- A brown belt
- A clutch bag to go out (which I rarely used)
- 2 pajamas (love PJ’s from here!)
- 1 silk robe
- 1 beige pashmina
- Minimal makeup
- Curling iron
- Packing Cubes
- My favorite sunglasses
- I packed a packing cube with workout clothes that, as much as I hate to admit, only used one time. Need to get better at this.
Final thoughts about travel capsule wardrobes
So, any thoughts? Where do you stand on travel capsule wardrobes? Do you pack light or do you over pack and only use half the things? I would love to know if you are thinking about traveling this Summer. I really hope this post helps you pack better next time you travel.
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have any questions, please share them in the comments below or message me directly on Instagram. I’m always here to help!
Have an amazing day ahead :)
Did you learn a thing or two about creating a capsule wardrobe for travel? Please share it on Pinterest!
Related posts you may also like:
- How to create a minimalist wardrobe – Step by Step guide
- A 7-item capsule wardrobe checklist + 25 outfit ideas from our 3-month trip to Turkey!
- Traveling soon? Read all my comfy airport outfits styling tips and outfit ideas!
- How to create a Summer Capsule Wardrobe
- How to build your own Capsule Wardrobe for Fall
- For travel related blog posts, read our travel blog! And our viral blog posts about Isla Holbox (and why you shouldn’t visit!)
- Learn how to style some of the basic pieces I mentioned above:
- Outfits with a jean jacket for every season
- How to wear white sneakers
- How to Style a white shirt
- How to wear a White T-shirt
- How to style a black dress
- More midi skirt outfits for every season
- How to wear a long cardigan
Cynthia Dunlap says
Thanks for sharing the informative post.