#WorldwideOx Packing List: women’s clothing

Well, I’ve been waiting to write our official packing list posts till it’s closer to our departure date—so seeing as this is one of those posts, it must mean our trip is close. 18 days as of today!

I’ve already shared some of my basic packing tenets when I travel: no one cares what you wear as much as you do, quality over quantity, go capsule, and look decent. They hold true for packing for a year as well, I’m finding.

Sure, it feels daunting to prepare—What will I wear for an entire year?, but really, the packing isn’t that different. It’s helpful to remember that if you need more of something, or if it doesn’t work out, you can always buy it on the go. (There are stores all over the world, I’m told.)

Here’s the one additional maxim that’s proving true for long-term packing: don’t pack what you wouldn’t wear in your real life. You’ll want to be comfortable—you don’t want to look like a tourist, because you often won’t feel like one, especially if you stay in one location for a few months.

Sure, you’re a visitor, but it’s a good idea to look like a regular person. In other words, leave the convertible pants, track suit, and white running shoes at home if that’s not your thing in real life anyway.

I’m going to share our year-long possessions over the course of several posts, so to start off, I’ll explain my own clothing choices. Keep in mind—we’re more or less chasing warm weather.

A simple, casual travel wardrobe for one year

This wardrobe can fairly evenly garner responses of both “That’s all?” and “That’s so much!” I get that—read a few other round-the-world travel blogs and you’ll see that I could technically get by on much, much less. But after months of deliberation, here’s where I’ve landed, and I’m content with this stockpile.

Packing for one year of travel: shirts

1: Short-sleeved t-shirts, 3—I prefer a looser style because they stay fresher while traveling (Etsy, Twice) | 2: tank tops, 2—one casual, one slightly nicer (Sevenly, thrift store) | 3: Long-sleeved shirts in a variety of styles, 3 (Twice, Stitch Fix) | 4: Long-sleeved, simple cardigan, 1 (Twice)

Packing for one year of travel: skirts & pants

4: Knee-length pullover dress (quaint little shop in Tuscany) | 5: Striped maxi skirt (Twice) and knee-length travel skirt (Patagonia at REI) | 6: Bermuda travel shorts (Prana—they’re now discontinued) | 7: Travel pants (Lolë at REI) and skinny jeans (Twice)

Packing for one year of travel: undergarments

8: Running shorts, for running, sleeping, and swimming (not at the same time) (REI) | 9: Capri yoga pants (Uh, I think years ago at Costco) | 10: Sports bra tank (Albion Fit) | 11: Super-thin leggings (to wear under pants or with skirts) (REI) | 12: Camisoles, 2 (Amazon)

Packing for one year of travel: outergarments

13: Swimsuit (I love this one—super flattering) (Albion Fit) | 14: Lightweight jacket (Columbia, though it looks discontinued) | 15: Thin reversible loop scarf (Eddie Bauer, also discontinued) | 16: Minimalist running shoes (Merrell) | 17: Ballet flats (more on these below) | 18: Travel sandals (Merrell)

Tieks fold up tight, so they're great for travel

These ballet flats by Tieks are seriously the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes (please be cheaper!), but they really are remarkable. Made of real Italian leather, they conform to your feet and become more comfortable the longer you wear them. They also fold up super-tight, making them ideal packing shoes. (They didn’t pay me a dime to say this—I just really dig this brand.) (But please be cheaper.)

Not pictured are my under-undergarments—I do have my dignity, after all. But I’m a massive fan of Exofficio’s travel underwear (5), and I’m also taking wireless bras (2), simple running socks (2), and one pair of thin white dress socks.

I’m also bringing a simple silver necklace, a gold one (both from Lisa Leonard), and a longer colored one. One pair of small silver hoops and a pair of gold stud earrings, and that wraps up my jewelry stash.

The whole family will carry their own dirty clothes in these lingerie-turned-laundry bags, so I’ll just transfer clothes that need washing in mine and keep on trekking. Once we’re ready to wash, we’ll use a handy-dandy Scrubba. I hear they’re super cool, so I’m eager to try it out.

Tom Bihn is one of the best travel gear brands around—and their Aeronaut 45 does the job for long-term travel

And I’ll carry all this in my Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45. Tom Bihn is my favorite travel bag and gear brand, with its ethical material sourcing and manufacturing (from nearby Seattle!), ridiculously strong construction, and thoughtful design. This summer I took their TriStar for a week in Tuscany and absolutely loved it. Plus, every single person in the company I’ve interacted with has been stellar. Thumbs up.

Packing for one year of round-the-world travel

Anything else you’re curious about?

Other packing posts:

9 months, 5 backpacks, 4 continents, 3 kids,
1 husband.

(It was worth it.)

9 months, 5 backpacks, 4 continents, 3 kids, 1 husband.

(It was worth it.)

59 Comments

  1. Tsoniki Crazy Bull

    Great list! We did two vacations and packed poorly for the first one and did a little better for the second. It’s tough not knowing what you will want to wear but I agree that less is more. You said you are chasing warm weather, but if you get to western France I’d love to say hi.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Would like that!

  2. Laura Moore

    I’m interested in entertainment- are you bringing books? iPads? Things to do on long waits in airports & train stations?

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yep! This is just the clothing list. More on gadgets and what-not soon. 🙂

  3. teresa

    Very minimalist! I am packing for 4 days and bringing more things! Lol. Less us more though, safe travels.

  4. Jennifer Ott

    Great ideas! I have been looking for a new good swimsuit, so I will check out that link. Last time we traveled to Zambia for 2 weeks, all our stuff fit easily into our carry on bag, but we were the exception!

  5. Martha

    Yay!!! So excited for these posts and for your trip. We live in Kenya, and a trip around the world sounds amazing. Bon Voyage!!

  6. Emily Bond

    I’m fascinated by people pursuing simpler lifestyles, and am trying to be one ;-). Should you pass Sweden I’d be more than happy to host you in Stockholm or Dalarna. Not the warmest place, but truly beautiful!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Hope to get up to Scandinavia at some point—maybe next June when it’s slightly warmer. Will let you know!

  7. Breanne

    Great way to present the clothing rather then just piles on a bed. We went for six months and my biggest regret was not having nicer shoes to wear with a skirt. Those ballet flats seem like a brilliant solution despite their price tag.

  8. Liz

    I am intensely curious about, uh, girl STUFF. I understand if that’s really TMI but us traveling girls want to know! 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yes! Will totally post about this in the upcoming toiletry post. 🙂

    • Leslie McFadden

      There are re-usable cups out there that would be perfect for a situation like this. They are pricey – until you factor in the cost of monthly supplies that you aren’t buying.

  9. Jen P

    Thanks for posting this! I will be eager to hear how the scrubba works, please post an update after you’ve used it for a while. We’re preparing for a long rv trip and I’m looking for a way to avoid spending one day a week at the laundromat. Specifically, I’m wondering how long it would take to do everyone’s laundry (we’re also a family of 5).

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Will do! I’m curious myself, since yeah, the five person thing… Apparently it doesn’t take long, you just can’t fit too many clothes at once. I figured maybe if we use this every other day, we’ll stay fairly on top of our laundry? Not sure yet. I may look back at this comment in six months and laugh. 😉

  10. Guest

    So love this and am getting excited with y’all! Is that weird? This has nothing to do with this post but is it possible for your site designer to move the big blue Art of Simple Travel button over? It cuts off the words in the post as I’m scrolling. :-/

    • Lori

      Ditto here…I like to scroll the words to the top of the page, and I can’t with the blue logo. It’s very distracting to me.
      I love this blog, Tsh, and I am looking forward to following your adventure.

  11. Fawn Carriker

    The whole idea of exploring with a family for a year is mind-blowing to me. Thanks for sharing the practical parts of the journey, too. – Fawn

  12. Steph

    I love this post! I spent way too much time yesterday after reading this looking at expensive but practical shoes and portable wash bags. I’m currently losing pregnancy weight but I’m super excited to streamline my wardrobe into fewer, more versatile pieces I love as I get closer to my goal! Looking forward to the rest of the packing lists.

  13. Guest

    I’m curious about medical care. I don’t travel that often, but the few times we’ve taken our kids to Central America, they’ve had weird allergies, an infected spider bite, and other minor problems requiring medical attention.

  14. Lindsay

    How excited you must be! It’s fun to read your list and get exposed to some new brands. Thanks!

  15. Kara

    Super exciting! Less than 3 weeks!

    And not sure what it says about me that I didn’t even notices undies and bras and stuff were missing from the photos until you mentioned it and than I had this “duh! yeah, you’d have to pack that, too, Kara” moment 😉 Ha! I’m glad you’re traveling light but not that light, ha ha!

    Tsh, I’m so excited for you guys! And beyond inspired! What an adventure!

  16. se7en

    My kids are so excited about your trip watching every post eagerly… When they saw all your clothes they said they were glad they didn’t have to carry all that… more clothes than we own!!! and then they saw your fab luggage bag and changed their minds completely thinking of heaps of stuff they could fit in there!!! this is going to be so fun!!!

  17. Erica Marbury

    I get so excited when a new post is up! Each one is so thoughtful and inspiring. I checked out the swimsuit, looks awesome. Curious though, doesn’t the top just float up when swimming since it is loose fitting on the bottom?

  18. Alysa

    Ok, so I only spent a summer in Montana, not exactly a trip around the world, BUT it definitely gave me a good sense of minimal wardrobe essentials. I was amazed at how often I wore my favorite items, and how many things I could have done without. I love your choices here!

  19. Sam

    Love this! I’m looking forward to seeing what bags you are having your kids use. We are taking a 6 week trip later this fall and I definitely want to pack light, but it will be interesting needing both warm and cool weather clothing. (I have 4 kids and myself going.)

    I’m so excited to hear about your journey!

  20. Katelyn

    I love that you are sharing all these details. We leave in 4 days to move internationally and I have a huge suitcase with what I thought was a fairly small wardrobe before I had to actually fit it in something. Granted we are moving completely, but I’m thinking I need to start paying closer attention to what doesn’t get worn over the next few months and chuck it out.

  21. Marla Taviano

    I know I keep saying this, but GIDDY. 18 days?!?!? Completely intrigued by the Scrubba. Are you going to try it before you go?

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Tried it already and works like a charm!

  22. Jenny Hellman

    I’m curious about toiletries too! I just finished reading your book “Organized Simplicity” (loved it by the way! and currently working on our family’s purpose statement) and I love the idea of switching to more homemade toiletries but then I was curious what you guys were going to do while on the road! And what about cooking from scratch? Are you staying where you’ll have access to kitchens for cooking? Are you going to try and cook food native to the area or stick to recipes you already know? Ha way too many questions for one comment 😉

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yep, I’ll write about toiletries soon! I’m bringing some homemade, buying some along the way… so sort-of a mix. And yes, we’ll be cooking when we can—we’ll travel slow in a lot of places (for example, we’ll be in Thailand two solid months!).

  23. Solegna

    Hi Tsh- it may be operator error…. I’m wanting to link to your “Twice” site yet the links don’t seem to be working. I could of course bing/google it, but if you’re affiliated I’m wanting you to get credit! Thank you 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Thanks for the heads up! Not sure why they were entered wrong, but they’re working now. Appreciate it! 🙂

  24. Dee

    Your post reminds me of when I was 18 and traveling to London. My grandmother was HORRIFIED that I was traveling in jeans and a polo shirt. In her day, you wore your best clothes to travel in. I think she thought a dress or skirt would have been more appropriate. Ever practical, I wanted comfort for the 7 hour overnight flight.

  25. Linda Sand

    I ordered a pair of those ballet slippers. If they work anywhere near as well as I think they well they will be worth the expense. Thanks for introducing me to them.

  26. Jenni Bailey

    So do the tieks have flexible/barefoot soles like the Merrell glove running shoes? Or is the rubber sole stiffer? Can’t figure it out based on their description.

    Thanks Tsh!! So excited for y’all!!!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Not quite like Merrell shoes, but they’re not stiff, either. They have good padding, but they bend when I walk. (Next time we’re together I’ll let you see them…) 😉

  27. Dana

    Those little Italian shoes were everywhere when I was there a week ago. I wanted to buy something but they were expensive! Very cute. Also, will you pick up items you need along the way? I picked up a scarf in France and a minimal sundress in Greece which rounded out my clothing in a good way. I think it’s good to pack LESS to save room for small, fun items while you’re traveling. It makes a good story.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yep, totally! I almost packed an Italian scarf I got in Tuscany this summer, but decided I’ll hold off and find something along the way… 🙂

  28. Janice Campbell

    We took a 17-day trip through Europe a few years ago, and packing light was the best thing we did. One rolling backpack per person was adequate, and I was able to wear black skirt/black t-shirt or black travel dress plus jacket and scarf for the whole time without feeling frumpy or unlike myself. I’d add good dark jeans to the mix now, but it would work for a year as well as for a week or two. Now I want to travel again!

  29. Bethann Johnson

    Love your packing list!! I hope one day to do extended world travel like you and your family are about to do! I have the exact same pair of Tieks and I totally agree….they are way too expensive BUT worth every penny when traveling! I wore them all day walking in the Louvre (museum floors) and around Paris and they were extremely comfortable the whole entire day! I’ve had mine for about a year and they are still very durable with no visible wear and tear on the blue soles. I too am not paid to make these statements about Tieks!! Godspeed and safe travels!! I can’t wait to see and read about your world adventures!

  30. Laura Amann

    Love this so much! Any way you could pin it on Pinterest? 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Someone else told me they can’t see the ‘pin it’ buttons on the photos, but they’re there, I promise! I wonder if it’s a particular browser…

      Another tip in general—use the Pinterest bookmarklet for your Internet browser. That’s what I have (it’s a little Pinterest button up on your menu), so it never matters whether a site has a pin button. Regardless, I’ll look in to why it doesn’t show up for some browsers…

  31. Alana

    Learning from your posts how much lighter I can pack for our US trips! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Crystal Canter

    I am one of those always zealously over-packers when I travel, even for two days. Part of this is because I’m not always sure of the situation I’ll find myself in, and have a fear of not dressing right. The other part is, I am always worried that the garments may not fit me the same as the last time I wore it or washed it. How do you over come those thoughts?

    I also think that the ease of travel wardrobe choosing is made more simple here, because we’re not dealing in plus sizes. All the great products marketed or designed for travel assume someone of my size isn’t going anywhere.

  33. Flower Patch Farmgirl

    This just made my franking week. Now I want pics of you every day to see how you switch it up. Tiny upset that the boots didn’t make the cut, but I’ll get over it. Good job, lady.

  34. Fellow Binh Traveler

    I took the Bihn bag with me this past May on a three week trip to Italy and again this summer on a long trip to the Pacific Northwest. Served me perfectly and held up great. It is also far less conspicuous than normal “backpacker” backpacks, so you get heckled less by the locals when traveling internationally and you can run on and off public transportation much quicker.

    My only word of advice is to make sure you close the zippers with zip ties of some form on travel days. REI sells Nite Ize Gear Ties that are *amazing* and are so helpful for other things (hanging clothes off a clothesline, tying jackets up, etc). They weigh very little and are worth the investment.

    Also, if you haven’t already gotten one, there is a Bihn mesh front, zip little pouch that fits a passport perfectly. It has a clip, so you can clip it down inside your bag somewhere.

    I would also echo the suggestion to pare the clothes down– you can buy more as you go (great experience!), but that seems like a lot to start with. Take all the shoes you want (hard to break new ones in) but clothes are so easy to grab as you go and you’ll find a random shirt or pashima that you’ll want, I am sure of it.

    Regarding the toiletries question someone raised, it’s so easy to find everything abroad these days… hello, globalization. And much cheaper and easier to carry when you buy as you go v. taking with you.

    Lastly, I am so jealous! You are going to have a blast!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Thanks for the tips! And I’ve already pared down three shirts and I’m still in Austin, so yep, I’m jiving with you. 😉 Another reason I’m SO glad we’re living out of backpacks for 10 days here in the States as a precursor to our giant trip…

  35. Alissa

    I just love your comment about only bringing the things that you wear at home. We were gone for a lot of weekends this summer and I realized that I packed pretty much the same shirts/skirts/shorts for every outing. And, anytime I tucked in a shirt that I “should” wear… it came back home clean. We know what we like!

  36. Anna Cools

    Just googled this post to send a friend who is traveling to Europe for the first time in October, nad saw your gorgeous Sevenly tank. I just bought the shirt in the same thing and am wearing it right now! I love love love it. Have a wonderful trip.

  37. Colleen Higgs

    Our three kids have each learned to walk on a different continent as we have worked ex-pat jobs. We love the idea of traveling for a full year. We debate the right ages, what we would focus on, etc… all that to say that we are following your trip with great interest!

    We visited several countries in Asia while there on an ex-pat job. It took awhile to stop packing like we were going on a Canadian road trip, with miles (km!) between towns! You really can find what you need in small quantities on every corner in Japan and S. Korea; you can even buy diapers in a two-pack!

    One item I try to keep in my purse or pack is a sarong. They are so small and light yet serve so many purposes: warmth for cold shoulders, some privacy while nursing (especially on planes), shade from the sun (often jerry-rigged across the car window), picnic mat, scarf, and of course, skirt or beach wrap. And you never know when you may need to turn your shorts into a skirt – a friend did while applying for a visa at the embassy of an Islamic state. You can also pick up a sarong on every second corner in Asia, so you’re set.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  38. Beth nielson

    Tsh, what shirts did you leave in Austin?
    What kinds of bags are your kids using? What kinds of games, toys, did they take?
    Read about boys having 3 shirts to choose from, what other clothes for kids and hubby?

  39. Jo from Guernsey

    Tsh I just wanted to say thank you for your mention of Lisa Leonard when you were talking about jewellery. I have never ordered jewellery online. Having never hear of Lisa Leonard I followed your link, her jewellery is beautiful and I was so touched and moved by her story and her ethics that I have made my first order from her! I appreciate all the links that you attach to your blogs, I am learning so much! Living in a small island it is refreshing to view the world through the eyes of woman globally, to see a new perspective, to be inspired and to learn more about simple living and that it might actually be possible! So thank you x

  40. Amanda Ring

    Tsh, have you ever heard of Soft Star shoes? They are leather shoes, handmade in Oregon. You may be interested them…I’ve never tried them, but a friend who has owned both Tieks and Soft Star’s ballerine flat said hands down she’d chose Soft Star in the future. They are very similar and in quality, comfort, and looks, but they are around $100.

    • Molly

      Oh my goodness, I just saw this comment. The soft shoes come in WIDE!!!!!!!! I may have to order a pair because I am forever buying mens shoes… Thank you for sharing!

  41. Kim

    N for this blog! It’s very inspiring. I also do ocm for face washing but I’m curious if you were in situations without hot water, did it still work without the steaming pores step? How did your 4 year old fare with their luggage? My four year old doesn’t carry a lot of weight (she’s 28#). How did you handle the lack of access to a library? We read a lot, especially for downtime. But I wouldn’t want to lug books around.

  42. Molly

    Can you do an update of this, maybe with a peek inside your packed bags? I really enjoy those. 🙂

  43. Catherine Baumhauer

    Hi, We are planning to do a very similar adventure with very similar ages with kids and adults alike! Your blog has been not only inspirational but also practical and helpful in what to plan for. We are curious what size/brand pack your husband uses for your travels? Have so many more questions but for now, we are in the gear planning stage….Thanks! Catherine Baumhauer & family

  44. Beth Wade

    Very interesting post! I agree that there are people packing stuff, which in general are not wearing that much. It is good to have a packing checklist so you wont forget something important! Greetings

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