How to pack for a weekend in New York City
How to pack for a weekend in New York City (or any big city) can be daunting. If you find yourself struggling with what to wear, are unsure how to coordinate the outfits, and overpack for a weekend (or long weekend), here is your guide! Save money, stress and time by packing light. This post is written in the fall so the guidance is for shoulder season/fall/cool weather.
How to pack for a weekend in New York City- the process
- Know how you travel and what you will be doing each day. This trip, like all my others is no exception. I will be on my feet a lot and visiting museums and taking in the sights in Lower Manhattan including walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. My husband and I will walk and use mass transit. Your daily activities may be completely different, but I advise that you know what you are doing (approximately) each day of your time in the city. Make a list of each day you will be there and what you think you will be doing (see handy guide at the end of this post).
- Check the weather. I think this goes without saying, but I will say it. Check the weather before you go. I tend to check about 3 days before packing and again the day before for any drastic changes. Once you have completed steps 1& 2, it’s time to pack.
- Start with the shoes. My trip to New York City is in early fall, and I will be taking my beloved Chelsea boots (alternative to low boots is a pair of flats) and my knee high caramel boots. These boots automatically limit what I will wear with them. That is the whole point. Even if you do not walk a lot, still start with the shoes. When you start with the shoes, you are limited by what clothes you will take with you. The shoes will dictate the style and color of the clothing you pack.
- Layering is key. Due to the amount of walking I do when I travel, I get warm. It’s hard to justify wearing a single bulky top because it will get too warm and there is nothing to shed. When layering you want to keep in mind the following:
- Thin layers are key to avoid bulk
- Every layer should be a different hem length
Examples are a camisole, light sweater with a jacket on top. Another example is a sleeveless top (shell) with a blazer and a lightweight coat.
Cities are dirty! I love cities and being in them. However, regardless of the season, I will not take light colored shoes or clothes. Dirt, grit, dust – whatever you call it just accumulates. If it rains, it gets even messier. Get more wear from your clothes by wearing dark colors so that they conceal the dirt better than lighter colored clothes.
How to pack for a weekend in New York City – what I packed
- 2 pairs shoes – black Chelsea boots and tan boots (or substitute flats for either pair of boots)
- 1 layering tank top
- 1 tunic and leggings for travel day
- 1 ¾ sleeve shirt
- 1 sleeveless top
- 2 short sleeve sweaters (black and gray)
- 1 gray three-quarter sleeve sweater
- 1 blazer
- 1 pair dark wash skinny jeans
- 1 pair black skinny jeans
- 2 lightweight jackets (more casual than blazer)
- 1 outfit for lounging in the hotel/apartment (leggings, tank top, long sleeve wrap)
- Socks for boots
Final thoughts on making it easy!
The key to limited number of items is that everything I packed pairs with two to three other items. The other criteria for these clothes was that they were in the same color family. Also, I planned on layering which is crucial when traveling in shoulder seasons. If you are creating outfits with items you have not worn together before, be sure to try them on first! You don’t want to wait until you are on vacation that the items don’t work together or you need a belt, etc. Also, if you are someone who works out – be sure to ask yourself (and answer honestly) if you will be working out while traveling. When I am on vacation, I do a ton of walking so that is my workout. If you will be working out, you need to be extra efficient because you will need space for workout shoes and clothes.
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*If you are looking for a guide for warm weather packing, check out this post for how I pack for Europe for two weeks with one suitcase.