Two things are true when it comes to autumn: it’s a season that brings with it gorgeous views and sometimes frustratingly fickle weather. Clear warm skies can quickly turn into rain, and when evening sets in, so do those crisp fall temps. While it can sometimes feel like you need to pack two wardrobes, there are a few items that go without saying to cover all your bases.
We’ll get the obvious (but oh-so-important) one out of the way first: layering. No matter what’s on your itinerary – exploring a local park, finding the perfect cup of coffee, visiting a museum – you’ll want to be prepared. Here’s a simple “what to wear” formula that can work for pretty much anything, no matter if it’s hot, windy, or you just find yourself in a building where they haven’t turned off the AC yet for the season:
A small, inexpensive nylon bag that folds up small enough to fit in your pocket is something that “versatile” doesn’t even begin to cover. Heading out early in the morning? Bring one to stash your jacket in when the sun starts to warm things up. You can also use it as a daypack when you weren’t planning on shopping but stumble on some irresistible souvenirs, or even stash your dirty clothes in it when you re-pack for home. We love these affordable ones from Baggu that come in all kinds of colors and patterns for just $10.
A scarf or travel wrap will be your best friend in the fall. Whether you need to keep warm, dress up an outfit, or use it as a blanket on the plane, you’ll be glad you brought one with. Our suggestion? This exclusive Mer-Sea Travel Wrap. It even folds up easily into a perfect little travel-size pillow. Win, win!
If dreamy landscapes of red and orange are your thing, don’t miss the chance to score the perfect fall photo. Cell phones work just fine for counting colors on your Instagram story, but plan to bring a small digital camera as well to capture images worth hanging in your hallway.
Hint: If you want to be on top of your game, it’s also the perfect time of year to snag family photos perfect for those holiday cards that you’re only a month or two away from ordering.
Sure, it can be tempting to pack one pair of shoes to match each of your outfits, but it’s not the most practical strategy. As a general rule, try limiting yourself to just two: one pair of waterproof, durable sneakers for sight-seeing, and one pair that’s comfortable enough to walk in that can also work when going out for a nice dinner.
Another dual-purpose essential? A warm jacket that you can either roll up, squish flat, or fit inside of a small bag. Lightweight is also a plus if you’re going to be carrying it around town with you. There are lots of these on the market. We like Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Jackets or Vests for Men or Women as a reliable and affordable option (prices range from $39-79).
Don’t be caught off guard when it comes to cold air or bad hair – bring a beanie and make sure your head stays warm. They’re an easy thing to throw in that reusable bag we mentioned, and your ears will thank us later. Not to mention, if you want to run out for coffee early in the morning before getting ready for the day, it’s the perfect way to hide your bed head. We’d recommend one from Love Your Melon, a brand that helps support the fight against childhood cancer.
Keep in mind that quite a few cities experience a lot more rain in the fall. While jeans are comfortable and wear well straight out of your bag, they can also be slow to dry. Be mindful of fabric choice if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside. Cotton is always a sure bet, and black is a solid choice for going from day-to-evening without a wardrobe change.
With the change in seasons, that fall chill can bring an increase in dry skin, too. Many hotels offer complimentary lotion in toiletry kits, but these tend to be thinner lotions meant for more summer-like weather. You’re likely better off bringing one you know is tried and true to make sure you’ve got something to sooth rough skin after a long day out. Don’t forget to make sure it’s under 3.0 fluid ounces if you’re planning to pack it in your carry-on.
Once summer is over, these bad boys can be easy to forget. Since there are plenty of sunny autumn days to be had, we just want to plug in a little reminder to pack your favorite pair of shades. They’ll definitely come in handy if you’ve got: Take a breathtaking fall drive on your travel itinerary.
Taylor is the partner and promotional Social Media Manager at Sun Country Airlines. What she loves most? Sun Country’s love of all things Minnesota and the airline’s focus on making everyone – from crew to passengers – feel right at home. If she were hopping on a flight tomorrow, she’d be headed west to Portland or south to Puerto Vallarta.