New Castle News

November 14, 2012

Sarah Stright-Hartley: Packing for an international trip? Some tips for your travels

Sarah Stright-Hartley
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — On Nov. 10  I took on a new title. And not just any title — one that I'll have forever.


Though my now-husband and I already feel as if we've had these titles for a couple years now, there’s one title that neither of us has ever had:  "International Traveler."

But when we left for our honeymoon to Italy after our wedding, we definitely got to add that title to our repertoire. Since the farthest I've ever traveled has been to Los Angeles, I was a bit stressed about our adventure. What is it like there? Will we be able to communicate sufficiently? Will we get totally and completely lost? What should I wear?

Needless to say, thinking of packing for our honeymoon was an adventure in itself. Especially because we're trying to take as little as possible for our two-week vacation. Mostly because we need ample amount of space to BUY THINGS while there.  

In researching the weather in Italy the past few months, it seems it is very similar to what we have here at this time of year — maybe even slightly warmer. But I wanted to be prepared for the chance that it may get MUCH colder. So I came up with my best guess as to how to make it there and back (for all possible weather) with as many options in as few pieces as possible.

In case you're making a trip like this, maybe my tips here will help you.

Tip One: My first thought is that I want to be comfortable on the very long flight. For my bridal shower my mom bought me a very comfortable, soft sweater-dress. If I pair that with leggings and an oversize comfy scarf, that's the perfect outfit to sit in a very small space for a long period of time.

The scarf can double as a pillow, if necessary, and the leggings are comfortable enough to allow flexibility. I'll also be wearing my riding boots with this look for a couple reasons — that leaves MUCH more room in my suitcase since they take up a fair amount of space and they're easy to take off and put back on for security checks.

And, finally, I'll be wearing my black leather jacket on top to save even more space in my luggage.

Tip Two: I will be taking three pairs of jeans — two pairs of skinny jeans (one blue, one black) and a boot cut pair. This ensures that I can dress the jeans up or down (with the change of footwear) and will be acceptable for most restaurants that we venture into.

Tip Three: I'm packing a few heavier sweaters — ones that are easily convertible from day to night. I'm also taking several blouses that are thinner and can be layered with the sweaters or worn on their own that will help to change up the looks.

Tip Four: I'm packing three dresses — one a bit nicer for fancy dinners out and two a bit more casual to wear during the day.

Tip Five: I'm taking two pairs of heels — one nude, one black. Because I anticipate wearing flats during the day, I want to ensure I have heels to dress up at night. But since many of the streets will be cobblestone, I don't want to worry about constantly falling into the street! (And, of course, I'll have my riding boots with me, just not in my suitcase.)

Tip Six: My accessories will be most vital in switching up my looks. I plan on being guilty of packing a few too many scarves, including a burgundy one and a leopard one. I also plan on stuffing my travel jewelry case with plenty of options for necklaces, bracelets and earrings. This is the best way to take your look from day to night without having to change your whole outfit.

To start this seemingly impossible task, I pulled everything out of my closet that I'd LIKE to take if I had the room (which, of course, I don't). I laid it all out and went through it to see what I could make outfits with. Anything that didn't really work with at least two other pieces got sent back to my closet.  

And after that, I just had to make a few tough calls on what would be most comfortable — or what would look especially great with an Italian background! This got me down to a reasonable amount of clothing that all fit in my suitcase, with a bit of extra room to spare.

(What are your tips for long distance travel? If you have any fashion questions, please email me at and I'll be happy to help!)