What to Pack for Fall Travel — And What Not To

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Depending on where you’re traveling, fall weather can vary quite a bit. It’s normal to see big fluctuations in temperature from day to night, and rain or even snow can also be possibilities. Prep for fall travel success by carefully choosing attire that fits cool mornings, sun-soaked afternoons, chilly evenings, and everything in between.

Skip a Heavy Jacket and Go for Layers

As the temperatures start to drop, you might be tempted to reach for that heavy jacket "just in case." But a super heavy coat can take up half your suitcase space and be a pain to lug around. Instead, embrace layers, layers, and more layers. A few functional tops and a quality outer shell will not only take up less space, but actually end up being more practical. Fall’s ever-changing temperatures make layers a key component of your packing list.

We Like: Everlane's quality t-shirts, which come multiple sizes, colors, and sleeve length. The Henley Waffle Tee is especially great as a base layer for fall travel. Lastly, treat yourself to quality waterproof shell like the Venture 2 Jacket from North Face and you’re ready for any unforeseen weather shift.

Skip Heavy Winter Accessories and Go for the Basics

Your cold winter-weather accessories like your wool hat, that chunky cable-knit scarf, and thermal mittens might seem like necessities, but they'll take up space in your suitcase real fast. While you may be tempted, resist the urge to pack your heavy-duty winter hats and gloves. On the other hand, freezing on your holiday because you skimped on overweight luggage fees isn’t fun either. You can definitely feel the chill in fall, so it's a good idea to travel with a shawl (which is great for over air-conditioned bus and plane rides too), a lightweight beanie, and only one pair of finger gloves.

We Like: The anything-but-basic black fringe style of this cozy number from & Other Stories and these slouchy unisex beanies from Amazon.

Skip Multiple Sweaters and Go for a Cardigan or Flannel

All of your cute cozy sweaters take up space fast, and aren't as versatile as other options. Plus, in some destinations you may end up too hot during the days and wishing you had a T-shirt instead. Do pack several layered T-shirts, a flannel, a few long-sleeved, loose-fitting cardigans, and a wear-with-anything hoodie. Coupled with your shawl and beanie, these items will keep you warm on cool evenings and can tuck easily into any spare pocket of space in your bag. They’re also super versatile. A long-sleeve shirt can be thrown over almost anything and quickly removed during warm days and tied around your waist.  

We Like: H&M’s variety of flannel styles and colors. There’s one for every outfit and with a price tag of around $20, you won’t have to choose just one. This Amazon bestseller. It comes in 13 different colors and looks good with everything. If you’re looking for something with a little more warmth, this cable-knit throw over is a great purchase.

Skip Pants Only and Go for Tights and Leggings

Don't just stuff your bag with jeans. When the temperature dips below 70 degrees, it’s tempting to stow away your leg-baring clothing for next summer, but make sure you hold onto a few of your favorite pieces for your fall trip. Bring a few pairs of tights or leggings to throw under a cute skirt, a funky pair of shorts or summer frock. Fall is the perfect season for this fashionable look. The added bonus is that shorts, skirts, and thin tights take up almost no space in your luggage. It’s the easiest way to throw together a stylish look on the fly — even when you’re living out of a suitcase.

We Like: These cable-knit tights coupled up with any number of mini skirts from Zara — like this versatile denim skirt — or cute corduroy skirt from Lulus.

Skip Sandals and Go for Closed-Toe Shoes

Summer is over and your feet will be the first thing to get cold, so skip the sandals and bring comfortable, closed-toe shoes and a pair of ankle boots (wear on the plane to save on suitcase space) to upgrade any outfit.

We Like: Converse’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars and these embroidered Toms. Or throw a pair of AllBirds Wool Runners in a bag — these shoes are made with merino wool, making them light but warm, especially when paired with socks. These are our must-have travel sneakers and can be paired with anything from skinny jeans to skirts.

Skip a Purse and Go for a Backpack

Leave your small purse or clutch. You need more space in your bag to carry additional items, like an extra layer of clothing, when you’re traveling around. Instead, bring a small daypack or stylish backpack. Keep your hands free while you adventure around town without worrying about your purse constantly falling off your shoulder.

We Like: The Kånken Backpack from Fjällräven. This compact backpack incorporates cool Swedish design and comes in plenty of colors, so you can match any fall outfit. It's just big enough to fit your essentials for the day, without being too bulky.  

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