Packing List: Belgium in the Fall

Dream vacation planning has long been a hobby of mine. I pick a destination and research activities and restaurants. During the pandemic these dreams have become not only less attainable but downright impossible. (Sad.) That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dreaming. Part of these dream plans is outfit planning because – while I’m a pretty good packer under normal conditions – I’m enthralled by people who can build capsule collections and go on a trip where they reuse just a few pieces to create a slew of totally unique outfits. As part of a recent daydream, I challenged myself to do just that. I imagined a European vacation in the fall, specifically Belgium. Waffles = autumn; Belgium = waffles.

Please Note: I know some of these images have backgrounds and these collages are less than profesh. I’m not a fashion blogger and don’t pretend to be one so don’t judge me too harshly.
You’ll be able to build all your outfits with these few items

So here we go: 10 days, 12 articles of clothing, 13 outfits. Above, you have the main wardrobe you’re working with, down to shoes and accessories. Below, are all the other things you’ll need to pack if we’re being realistic. You’re packing light, but you won’t be able to stuff it in a weekender. You will, however, be able to get it into a carryon.

The “not fun” stuff that you still have to squeeze into your suitcase

In the age of Instagram I fall prey to the desire for a different look each day so I can have tons of unique photos documenting the trip. But then I get upset when I packed (and carried!) all these outfits and didn’t take photos some of the days. For this little exercise, I tried to vary the looks enough that they’d look different in photos. From the waist up there are enough changes to keep things interesting. A cardi that’s open over a t-shirt for a casual walk around town is buttoned over liquid leggings for an evening out.

I oddly had a lot of fun pulling this together. For anyone who’s actually been to Belgium in the fall, what do you think? Did I hit the mark?!

And now for the outfits:

Some notes:

  • I pack a curling wand but no hairdryer. Hotels always have hair dryers and if they don’t, I just make sure to shower at night so it’s dry by morning and I still only need the wand.
  • Packing like this would much harder on a summer trip for me. While it’s true summer clothes take up way less space, I often find myself getting sweaty enough that there are two outfits in a day. Or if there’s only one, the pieces get dirty enough that I don’t want to re-wear them multiple times.
  • As a traveler, I’m usually go-go-go from the moment I wake up, with activities straight til dinner, especially if it’s not a beachy/swim vacation. As much as I like to think I’d change into an evening outfit, it doesn’t happen that often. That’s why there are only 3 nighttime-only looks (you’ll know ‘em by the heels).
  • Tennis shoes take up the most space but if I want to workout, they gotta come with me. HOT TIP: Wear them on the plane. Similarly, make sure to wear the bulkiest items that you’ll want to layer later (a hat you can’t pack and a leather jacket).
  • Always pack extra undies. You’ll see I “packed” 15 pairs for this 10 day vacation to account for showers before dinner and just…to be prepared.
  • Always bring a bathing suit. You never know. I was on a family ski trip in Canada and our resort had an outdoor hot tub. Swimming in the snow was one of the coolest vacation experiences.
  • In an effort to reduce your toiletry footprint, the necessities are: deodorant, contacts, glasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, conditioner, razor, roller ball of perfume. You can get all that in a tiny lil baggie.
  • Plan to wear the same airplane look in both directions.