If you are anything like me, packing can be very stressful and a bit of a hassle. Here you are getting excited about a fun-filled vacation, a vacation where you are able to relax and sightsee– and yet, you are stressing over what you should or should not bring. It could also be stressful in the sense that the weather can often change in a beat of a heart.
I tend to overpack– I always feel as if I may need that one thing, whatever it may be. Or perhaps the weather said it was going to be warm and then suddenly it changes on you while you are there– then you thank your lucky stars that you decided to bring that sweater and jeans. Things like that always make me want to pack way more than I need to.
This week I will be traveling to Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. A little road trip with some girlfriends. I have never been to Seattle or Portland so naturally, I was super stoked. But I started to stress over what to bring. Not only that but I haven’t been on a plane in ages– and I wanted to make sure all the essentials I needed would be okay to bring in a carry-on.
As I made my list of what to bring, I realized that so many other people go through these same “stressful” moments. Which is why I decided to help– I have created a “What to wear…” packing list as well as all the “Essentials” you will need for a trip like this. This blog post is mainly about packing for Seattle and Portland– which are generally colder areas. As you won’t be seeing any bikinis and suntan lotion in this packing list.
Now let’s get started, shall we?
What to Wear in Seattle
When you are planning what to wear in Seattle, you must keep in mind that it is known to be a bit of a casual city– which means comfy clothing goes a long way. From what I have heard, when you get to Seattle you will notice that outdoor brands such as The North Face are super popular with the practical and nature-lovin’ Seattle folks. However, keep in mind as well that this is a home of tons of creative people who definitely enjoy putting together their own unique spin on the term “dressy”. Considering there are tons of independent boutiques– you will find a lot of unique styles.
You also have to consider the weather– as it contributes A LOT to the defining Seattle style. Think LAYERS! This will give you ample opportunity to play around with many patterns and colors. I once read that folks in Seattle intentionally incorporate bright colors into their ensembles in order to contrast with the gray skies. Whatever you decide to wear– DO NOT be that person that wears shorts and a tank top at the first sight of the sun– as it very well may be a trap since the weather changes constantly.
For me, when I was packing I kept thinking of the term “comfy cute”. This to me, is a way to dress in a comfortable manner while still looking cute. I love fashion– so any moment I get to wear something cute or something that shows off my creative side– I am all in. Considering I have lived in Southern California for my entire life– I don’t really like the cold. Knowing that a good percentage of the time in Seattle is cloudy and rainy I opted for tons of cute sweaters and jeans.
- Bring lots of sweaters
- At least, two pairs of jeans
- Leggings! (These things are the greatest invention)
One outfit I packed were my high-waisted denim jeans, my black halter top and my flannel– this way, if I were to get hot I could always take the flannel off and tie it around my waist and if I were cold I could easily button up my flannel or even add a jacket.
- Scarves (I only packed one scarf as I was trying to pack as light as possible)
- Tennis shoes– I packed my converse as you will most likely be doing a lot of walking and want to be as comfortable as possible.
- Jackets (make sure to pack at least one or two jackets as it definitely gets chilly in Seattle).
Travel Essentials: Seattle
Definitely, pack a jacket with a hood or bring an umbrella; as it does rain in Seattle more so than us Californians are used to. I prefer hooded jackets as not only do they keep me warm but I also don’t like the whole carrying an umbrella around. But just remember to be prepared for the change of weather and some clouds rolling in. Many locals will opt for this route anyways, as most of the time with rain comes the wind, which will destroy even the best of umbrellas in just mere seconds. This is also a good thing to consider if you are planning to spend most of your time downtown, where there are a lot of tall buildings that create many wind tunnels. The wind is probably worse than rain and when you combine the two– it is definitely not fun weather– so just be prepared.
What to Wear in Portland
Much like Seattle, Portland is very famous for their vast amount of rain. While the weather can be unpredictable it is always good to bring a raincoat just in case. First, you must consider the season, as in May, it is good to have a raincoat and light layers. Next, you should also consider Portland style. They are stereotypically very outdoorsy and casual– they have a strong strain of hipster chic. You should also keep in mind that Portland is an outdoor hub so remember to pack for any outdoor activities. Bring lots of sweaters and comfy shoes as you will most likely be doing A LOT of outdoor activities. Think practical! You want to bring items that are practical– which often, practical can seem boring but in this case, you will thank me later. And let’s be honest here, you won’t find an itsy bitsy bikini on the Oregon Coast but bringing a practical swimsuit will come in handy if you plan on visiting the beaches.
And if you love nature and all the green– well, let’s just say it truly does rain often and enough to make everything beautiful and green! Which is why you should bring a coat just in case, it is possible to look stylish while wearing a raincoat. You want to bring clothes that are comfy and versatile– bring outfits that you can mix and match– that way you avoid over packing.
I like to lay out my options before hand, look at what goes with what– that way I can pack as light as possible.
Most likely, whatever it is you were planning on wearing in Seattle will do justice for Portland.
Travel Essentials: Portland
For those that live in Portland, they are used to the everyday drizzle, but for those that are visiting or live in more drier climates– it is best to come prepared. Consider that most days will become a bit chilly and you will most likely get one or two days of rain. Bringing a raincoat will definitely come in handy since the rain can strike at any given moment. It is smart to bring one that is small enough to fit in your purse or backpack– that way you don’t have to lug a jacket coat around or be stuck wearing it. And one thing I have read and a word of advice: locals hate using umbrellas and tend to complain about the tourist using them. Honestly, it will be your defining moment of whether staying dry is worth a dirty look or two. And don’t wear sandals– one, you want to be comfortable but also, you want your feet to stay warm and dry. Wearing boots or tennis shoes will not only be comfortable considering you will be doing a lot of walking but also keeps your feet dry if it does decide to rain.
Packing isn’t always easy and it always depends on how long you will be on vacation for– weekend getaways compared to a week(s) worth vacation. I hope this guide helps you in ways that it also helped me. As I mentioned before, I tend to pack more than need be.
Another thing to add is that I like to make a list before I pack of all the things I need not just with clothes but also other necessities like toothbrush, curling iron, makeup, shampoo, etc. That way as I am packing I can check things off the list– because I always feel I am going to forget something. This always helps make the packing process go a lot quicker.
Good luck! And enjoy your vacation!