Over-packing for a business trip or vacation might provide psychological security, but traveling the world with its weight on our shoulders often hampers exploration and burdens us with choices. A growing body of research says Americans are happier and more confident when making fewer decisions. One study gave students a series of puzzles to solve. Before the solving, they offered one group a choice between caffeinated or chamomile tea. To the other, they simply gave them one of the teas at random. The group that didn’t make a decision solved more puzzles than the other group.
Zen-like simplicity in wardrobe planning—embraced by business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs—can make a journey relaxed and efficient, boosting productivity and freeing mental energy for more important decisions.
Travel light with capsule packing, tucking away a few versatile carry-on items that can be layered, mixed and matched. Allow yourself the space for bring-backs and serendipitous finds along the way. Get started with the tips below.
- Select solid colors by palette so all pieces are easily combined.
- Use messenger bags or purses as makeshift toiletry cases.
- An oversize sweater can be repurposed into a belted sweater dress with leggings—another key item, which can be worn with skirts, dresses or as workout clothing.
- Jackets with zip-off hoods and collars are ideal for rainy days and as smart casual wear.
- A lady’s scarf transforms into a belt, top or headband.
- Expecting warm weather?
- Women: Take a long tube skirt that doubles as a top or dress, or a multipurpose sarong, which works as a wrap.
- Men: Board shorts can be worn as swimwear or to the gym.
- A dual-use button-down shirt becomes a beachy cover-up when it’s breezy but not cold enough for a jacket.
- Wear a T-shirt on its own or as an undershirt beneath a button-down.
- Shoes should be adaptable—from casual to dressy, with or without socks: loafers for men, ballet flats for women.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.