Make the Most of Limited Suitcase Space with This Travel Capsule Wardrobe Guide

By Camille Poire | BLOG

Sep 22
travel capsule wardrobe guide

Packing for a holiday can always pose a real problem, especially when packing space is limited. And with more airlines cutting costs and trying to reap every penny from customers by charging add-on fees for extras, this means excess baggage can come at a steep price.

If you are fed up of wondering whether you have packed everything you need, and in order to avoid having to pay any additional fees, consider putting together a capsule wardrobe. Piecing together a basic travel capsule wardrobe will give you time and space to really consider what accessories you will need on your trip.


Select Your Luggage

Luggage choice is just as important as what you pack. So if you are purchasing a piece of luggage for your trip, a little research on what is available will help you avoid buying an inferior item, as not all suitcases and bags are created equal. Look out for a sturdy handle and wheels, internal compartments, and reliable zips. Your carry-on bag can be anything as long as it is within the size restrictions and it can hold the essentials you need!

Organizing your suitcase to save space may seem complicated at first, but everything has its tricks and strategies. Forget carrying a briefcase with you and start being a little more practical. There are several methods of organization and folding that, together with a few little tricks, will help you not only have the perfect suitcase but also save space.

My best advice on how to pack a carry-on for low-cost companies like Ryanair is to use a soft backpack. Hard suitcases give more protection but take up a lot of space and are not flexible at all. Soft suitcases are somewhat flexible. With today's backpacks that open like suitcases, you can expand them or adjust them to your needs. And when storing them at home, they take up almost no space.

pink travel suitcase

Put a Basic Wardrobe Together

The first step to capsule packing success is to piece together your basics. This includes things that will be worn on a daily basis, as well as more functional items of clothing.

A great starting point for a basic wardrobe is made up of the items listed below. These items can be anything you want, as long as they fall within the items mentioned below. I always pack a pair of lounging trousers and a hoodie with my own travel inspired design printed on it from Banana Moon Clothing. These come in handy when travelling on long haul flights!

  • Tops, including basic t shirts
  • Shirts (both formal and casual)
  • Jumper/cardigan
  • Hoodie
  • Evening Dress
  • Jeans
  • Toiletries (tip: invest in a quality travel toiletry bag to make sure your toiletries are protected, organized, and take minimum space)

Plan Your Outfits

With limited suitcase space, knowing exactly what outfits you are going to wear will prevent you from grabbing just anything and taking garments you won’t even end up wearing. When planning an outfit that you will wear while travelling, it is always a good idea to choose interchangeable and coordinated items. This will allow you to get more outfits out of the same clothes, saving you even more suitcase space for the little added luxuries.

Another way to plan your outfits is by planning your activities. If you know you have certain plans that will require specific items, such as hiking, then you know you will need to accommodate packing space for a sporty outfit and hiking boots. Likewise, if you know you will be spending significant periods of time around a pool or by the beach, then you should leave room to bring plenty of swimsuits and loungewear.

building travel capsule wardrobe

All in all, be selective. In order to pack a suitcase that weighs less, there is only one trick: pack as little as possible. Nobody needs a pair of pants for every day on the go. If you like t-shirts, consider adding more of these than bottoms. They give more life to your outfits when you travel.  This way, it will also be much more convenient and easier to pass security control.

Choose Your Shoes

If there is any part of putting together a travel capsule wardrobe that can give you a headache, it's likely to be picking footwear. Shoes are often heavy and take up a lot of space in your suitcase, meaning that unfortunately, there is only space for a few pairs.

A great way to save some suitcase space is by using your carry-on luggage. If you have a carry-on backpack, you could always fit a pair of shoes in there as long as you don’t exceed the weight limit. If I am hiking on my trip, I will always try to put my walking boots in my carry-on so as to give myself much more packing space in my suitcase.


If you follow these minimalist packing tips to build a travel capsule wardrobe, your luggage will be more organized. And in theory, it will remain more organized for much longer, because you'll just have to remove the outfits you need and then be able to put them back in your luggage in the same place easily. No more spilling the whole suitcase when you take out your first outfit!

Make sure you don't add much more weight than allowed to fill in that space you gain. Aside from suggesting that you pack the bulkiest garments first, there isn't much more I can add to the process. It will depend on the size and design of your suitcase, and the products that you are going to take on each trip.

Hope this article helped. If you have any questions or suggestions, make sure to leave a comment!

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About the Author

Hey, I'm Camille! I'm a 30-something "ex-French" girl turned world explorer. In 2013, I quit my life to travel the world - and I haven’t stopped since! I have lived in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, and Colombia, and have visited 50+ countries as a location-independent travel writer and affiliate marketer. I like sleeping in hammocks, riding scooters, eating all the foods, and scaring my mother trying adventure sports! I now share this journey with my nomadic boyfriend Mr B, with whom I recently bought a home base in the mountains of Bansko, Bulgaria.

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