I am a notorious over-packer… or at least I have been prior to my recent trip. I never want to be caught without what I need – so I have tended to pack it all. Because of this, I’ve had to drag around a huge suitcase and I always end up annoyed with myself. So, for our Scotland vacation, I decided to do something a little daring. I decided to pack only things I thought were necessities and to also pack everything into a carry-on.
We visited Scotland (Glasgow, Isle of Islay, and Edinburgh) at the end of September. I used my Capsule Wardrobe background to really limit what I packed so that I could focus less on what I brought with me and more on what I brought back.
Packing for Scotland in Fall
Scotland Weather in Fall
When doing research on what to pack for Scotland I found a few common themes: layers and raingear. I read that the temperature can get pretty cold, so I came prepared. Some articles I read even told me to pack gloves and a warm hat! However, in my opinion, it was quite pleasant and very similar to fall temperatures in the US – 60s and 70s. I didn’t pack gloves or a hat and I was always very comfortable.
Maybe we visited on a nice week, but it wasn’t overly rainy. I think it rained twice – once during the morning, and once during the night. So, while rain gear is something I’ll pack again for Scotland, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy expensive pieces. I went back and forth with buying rain boots (I found these on Amazon!), but in the end, I decided to just wear my tennis shoes. I knew they were comfortable and I thought I’d take a gamble with the rain. I’m glad I did that!
Perfect Tops to Wear in Scotland
I packed 2 short sleeve tees, 2 long sleeve tees, a tank top, a sweater, and a (thin) long sleeve blouse. In the end, I wished I had packed more short sleeve tees instead of long sleeves and the sweater. I wore the sweater once, without a jacket and it was only because I couldn’t justify wearing my tees again. I actually never ended up wearing the blouse, but I’m still glad I packed it in case of a nice dinner.
Honestly, most of Scotland is very casual. You’re fine bringing tees and jeans for most places.
Because I read that layers were important, I packed a couple of light cardigans, 1 regular jacket, and 1 rain jacket. I hardly wore the cardigans, instead opting to wear a tee with my jacket. I actually got kind of hot when I had on multiple layers.
I liked wearing tees under my jacket because I was able to use the pockets of my jacket instead of bringing along a purse most places. In fact, I kept my money and ID in the front breast zipper pocket of my jacket the entire time. I felt like this really saved me the headache of lugging around extra stuff while I was sightseeing.
As I mentioned previously, I also brought along a rain jacket. I wore it once, but I definitely needed it then. I’m not showing it here, but if we ever go back to Scotland, I’ll pack it again.
The Only Pants You Need for Scotland in the Fall
… and shoes.
I’ll be blunt: I wear the same pants for days and days at a time, so only packing two pairs of pants wasn’t hard for me. I packed blue jeans and a pair of black jeans – my two favorites. They go with everything and they’re comfortable and reliable.
For shoes, as I mentioned before, I opted for basic tennis shoes because I knew I’d be on my feet a lot. I also packed a cute pair of flats in case of a nice dinner… and like the blouse, I never got around to actually wearing them.
I also threw in a small cross-body bag, and never ended up taking it out. Lesson learned.
How I Fit a Week’s Worth of Clothes into a Carry-On
I fit everything EASILY into my carry-on, with room to spare. In fact, I was able to fit the majority of the souvenirs I bought into the bag on the way back. My husband packed a collapsible duffel bag into his bag in case we needed more space, but he ended up using it for dirty clothes and breakable items on the way back.
The key to fitting everything into a carry-on is to only pack what you KNOW you’ll need. Have a reason for packing everything you do, and if you can try to pack things that are dual purpose. For example: I only packed 2 pairs of pants for 7+ days of travel. I also didn’t bring a new shirt for each day. I was banking on the fact that we had laundry access in our apartment during one of our stays… and also I’m not opposed to re-wearing the same shirt twice, either.
What I’d Pack for Scotland Next Time
If I visit Scotland at a similar time of year again, I’ll nix the heavy sweater and opt for more short sleeve tees in its place. I’d still pack one or two long sleeve tees, and the blouse.
I’d probably pack just one cardigan, and keep both jackets. I didn’t end up wearing one of the cardigans at all! What a waste of space.
If I had a jacket with zipper pockets, I’d also forego the purse. If I carried a bag at all, it was my camera bag. There was literally no reason to have a purse with me between those two things.
Overall, I’m really happy with how my capsule wardrobe-ing helped me pack everything I needed into a carry-on. I felt like I had what I needed, and I was happy with not having to lug around loads of things I didn’t use. It also made unpacking a lot easier. I’m grateful for that!
If you ever find yourself in Scotland during the fall, I hope this packing list helps you. I definitely learned a lot in the process, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already planning our next trip back…
More posts on Scotland:
Lagavulin Distillery Warehouse Tasting (Coming Soon!)
Islay Woollen Mill Tour (Coming Soon!)
Laphroaig Distillery Tour (Coming Soon!)
Edinburgh Castle (Coming Soon!)