Posted by: Waheeda Harris | February 28, 2013

What’s in the bag? Five items to always pack in the suitcase

scarfI’m not an expert at packing. But I am one that always remembers what works and what doesn’t when it comes to clothing get crammed into a small suitcase.

As someone who has to pack regularly (at least once a month) for different kinds of trips – trips to big cities, trips to rural areas and trips to resort/beach/islands – I’m always picking a different segment of my wardrobe.

I don’t have a massive wardrobe, but I have learned the secret – layers, multipurpose items and if you’re going to spend money, spend it on shoes.

There are items that make sense for each type of trip – whether its a weekend in Chicago, hiking through the mountains or spending your days under the palm tree at the beach.

Here’s my list of those items that should be in your suitcase, no matter the destination:

1. scarf – the bigger the scarf, the better it will be – as a multipurpose item, it can keep you warm, look stylish, and use as a sarong if needed. If you decide to visit a religious site or building, it can also help in becoming conservatively dressed and it can be used to accessorize as well as a belt.

2. bathing suit / flip flops – from a very young age, I’ve always travelled with my swimsuit, hoping for access to a pool. If there’s no pool, there may be a sauna, steam room, hot tub or jacuzzi – this way you’ll always be prepared. And to prevent walking barefoot, a pair of flip flops can be used to access all these areas.

3. oversized -tshirt – a layer that can be worn with jeans or leggings for a casual look, as a beach coverup and can be worn underneath a sweater or jacket to keep warm.

4. shoes – always bring one pair of shoes that can be worn all day, look good, fit well and work with what you’re doing. Never bring new, unworn shoes on a trip – unless you want to deal with blisters.

5. cardigan – more casual than a suit jacket, but can dress up more casual layers, this layering piece can be oversized for comfort or warmth, or fitted to make it more appropriate for evening or as a top.

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