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Packing is exciting.

I’ve been on the road for 10+ years and I still love packing, re-packing and even unpacking my bags.

However, after watching a good friend of mine recently have a small but not insignificant crisis moment about how and what to pack for a weekend in NYC, I realized that it’s not like that for everyone!

I’ve spent the best part of my adult life on the road living out of one bag or two motorcycle panniers so I do know a thing or two about how to pack, however…

Something important to note before we continue is that this is not a sponsored post and I’m no fashionista!

I’m also becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and for the past couple of years have been working towards designing a capsule wardrobe of high-quality vegan and eco-friendly items.

This packing guide is based around the 7-day trip I run in Guatemala but I hope you’ll find it useful for other trips you’ve got planned too.

HOW I DECIDE WHAT TO PACK

It’s all about my itinerary and the weather.

1: ITINERARY

You’ll do yourself a massive favour by taking some time to think about what you’ll be doing each day so you don’t end up taking things you don’t need, or items which aren’t appropriate, you could totally avoid ruin-your-trip kind of holiday blisters by doing this step alone!

2: WEATHER

Check the weather. Are you travelling to a part of the world which has a rainy season? Will you be spending time at high altitudes? Will it be scorchio during the day and hot chocolate weather at night? Are you leaving a very cold climate and going to a very hot climate or vice versa and will that influence your ‘travel day’ outfits?

Guatemala has a great climate; it’s warm and sunny during the day so you can happily wear a dress or shorts and a t-shirt but because most of the trip is at an altitude of around 1500 m, early mornings and evenings get cool enough to need a jumper or jacket but if you didn’t know that it would be so easy to pack the wrong things.

3: STICK TO A COLOUR PALETTE

Because I’m on the move so much I hardly own any clothes and have a very small capsule wardrobe. I’ve stuck to a white, grey, blue and black colour palette for years because it works for me but if you’ve got a wardrobe full of clothes and don’t know where to start then pick 3 neutral colours and one accent colour and go from there.

I discovered through trial and error that not doing this made me look like I’d lost a fight in a jumble sale. Not a good look, live and learn friends live and learn.

THE 23 ITEMS I PACKED & USED FOR THIS TRIP

In total I packed and used:

  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 7 tops + 2 jackets
  • 2 dresses
  • 5 bottoms
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 cap
  • 1 pair of earrings
  • Small crossbody bag
  • Day bag for hiking
  • Carry on suitcase

1: City Sneakers from Matt & Natt

2: Sturdy sandals from Blowfish

3: Hiking shoes from Wills Vegan Shoes

4: Oversized V neck sweater bought in H&M many years ago. If you know of a good vegan, eco-friendly shop or company that sells something similar please spread the love and let everyone know in the comments below 🙂

5 + 6: White and blue t-shirts from some random street market in Colombia but check out this amazing company for great t-shirt options

7: Black lacey Cami from Asos

8: White tank top I bought a million years ago on a trip to NYC but I check out Know The Origin for quality cotton basics

9: Blue vest top, currently on its last legs – similar from H&M

10: Long sleeve white shirt, stolen from a friend and never returned (sorry Suze) – similar from Know The Origin

11: Jean jacket, ancient – similar from Everlane I’m still learning lots about ethical fashion and know that the denim industry has some pretty nasty environmental consequences so if you have any tips, tricks or advice or know of any more good eco-friendly denim options definitely let me know in the comments below

12: Outdoor jacket from Patagonia 

13: Black jeans from Zara in Mexico City which I think is the best Zara in the world – similar from Everlane

14 & 15: These are both from Gymshark

16: White linen trousers from Uniqlo

17: Jean shorts from a second-hand shop in San Jose, Costa Rica – similar from Able

18: Midi day dress is a new part of my capsule wardrobe bought on a recent trip back to Europe from New Look

19: Midi night dress from Uniqlo

20: Crossbody bag from Natt & Matt

21: Carry on bag from Osprey

22: Day bag for hiking from Osprey

23: Cap from Salomon

24: One piece swimming costume from a shop in Rio in Brazil but when I get really brave I’m going to start wearing these from Batoko

25: Earrings from People Tree

GET THE VEGAN ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS PRINTABLE PACKING PLANNER & LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN!

I love doing this, I find it organizes my mind as well as my suitcase!

You can download the printable packing planner right here >>

WHAT I WORE EACH DAY

ON THE PLANE & DAY 1

I love travelling with hand luggage only and being hands-free! If you wear this or something similar on your flight into Guatemala City you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you get to Antigua—just take off your grey sweater and start exploring!

You’ll definitely need a jacket in the evening, the elevation of Antigua is just over 1500 metres, so it gets chilly at night particularly between November and April/May which is the dry season.

DAY 2

Time to hike some volcanos! There’ll be an early start so you’ll need your jacket and now I’m going to let you in on a very important secret. Because the daytime temperature is nice and warm, it’s really tempting to want to wear shorts—don’t do it, here’s why; after hiking through farmland and forest you’ll hit the old lava fields which are amazing (you feel like you’re on the moon) but if you trip or stumble and go down you’ll cut your legs to pieces because thousands of years of dried lava has rather sharp edges, do yourself a favour and cover up.

DAY 3

Today is nice and relaxed as are the outfits, a refreshing early morning yoga class followed by some vegan cooking, it’s a shorts and t-shirt kind of day.

DAY 4

We’ll be travelling for a couple of hours in the morning towards Lake Atitlan (which you’re going to LOVE) and then heading right out after lunch so similar to the arrival day, if you loosely base your outfit around what I’ve got for day 4 then you won’t need to do any costume changes until the evening, you’ll be ready to go.

Day 4 is also a good time to give your black lacey cami (or whatever your equivalent is) a wash in the sink because you’ll need it again on day 7.

DAY 5

Today’s outfit is all about being comfortable and making sure you’re protected from the sun because we’ll be outside all day and that sun is strong, you’ll really put that long white sleeve top to work today!

DAY 6

Comfy travel clothes for the journey back to Antigua.

ON THE PLANE & DAY 7 

Easy, casual smart looking travel clothes for your return flight and that’s a wrap!

I really hope that helps, I’ll soon do similar posts for the other trips I run in Belize, Costa Rica and Colombia. Do you know someone who would love this post? If you do I’d be really grateful if you use the share buttons on this page and let them know about it and don’t forget to download the printable packing planner over here.

Also, if you’d like to share any tips or tricks you use to pack that would be great, just leave them in the comments below and if you have any other questions, ask away!

Emma x

P.S. If you’re a guy reading this and would like the guy version then let me know in the comments below 🙂

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