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How to pack for a trip to New York City

I love how the internet connects us to people we might never have the chance to meet. Rachel Moniz is one of those people – we are members of a Facebook group and that’s how we connected. One day, people were having some doubts about how to pack for a trip to New York and I invited Rachel to write about it. Rachel is a Style Consultant and Personal Shopper – and she has many account trips and plenty of experience to give advice on that. I hope you enjoy her tips! And follow her profile on Instagram, full of incredible tips.

Hi! My name is Rachel Moniz and I am a Style Consultant and Personal Shopper. Laura invited me to write a post on a subject that is very recurrent among those who travel to New York and I think the tips I will give here can be very useful: How to pack for a trip to New York City?

The doubt is pertinent, after all, the weather in New York can be quite confusing mainly in the half seasons (Spring and Fall). But remember something important: the seasons are very well defined. In winter, it’s really cold. In summer, is very hot! Do not underestimate the seasons, okay?

I would also like to remind you that New York is one of the great shopping capitals and that although there are people who do not travel to the city for this purpose, it is very common to separate a (good) part of the budget for shopping. Prices are excellent and almost always worth buying clothes, accessories and electronics. So, my first tip would be to take only one suitcase from your hometown and, if necessary, buy the second one in NYC. So there is more room for shopping! If you do not want to spend money buying a new one, it is not a problem! The tip basically is to take few things, so you can take advantage of the attractive prices there.

Basic items – what not to forget in any season:
Some basic items should be brought during any time of the year. They save us from problems and do not take up so much space in our bags:

  • Adapter – do not forget that outlets in the USA are different! So, check out if the plugs are the same, and, if they are not, it is basic to have an adapter. Several hotels offer adapters, but many can charge for them. Since it is so small, why not bringing it with you, right?
  • Personal care – this is kind of controversial because I know a lot of people choose to buy everything in New York, but if you arrive on a late night with everything closed? So I always suggest taking toothbrush and toothpaste, at least.
  • Medicine – another item that people love to buy in NYC, but sometimes we have that special attachment to such a medicine, or we have some allergic restriction, medicine is serious! How about taking at least one analgesic of your confidence if you have a headache?
  • Underwear – hello, people! I know it’s theoretically obvious, but I’ve had a client who forgot the panties in Brazil and had to spend money on underwear. Do not forget to prioritize comfort and the fact that you spend long hours without changing clothes.
  • Medium bag/backpack – when people travel, it is common to go out for a walk in the morning and only come back at night. So it is good to get prepared to face long hours of walking with some items like water, some snack like a cereal bar, extra charger for the cell phone, wallet, umbrella when needed, anyway, the list varies according to the season and the destination. But regardless, it is always good to carry a medium bag a backpack that fit these things! Choose a bag that allows you to carry everything you want and does not get in the way of you – like cross bags, for example. Leave the little bags or clutches to go out at night!

  • Take more top pieces than bottom pieces: for a week trip, for example, the ideal is to bring three pants and a skirt, you don’t need more than that! When we take photos, the most obvious part is always the one next to our face, so it’s much more interesting to take top pieces to create more combinations of outfits. Try to carry double top pieces than the bottom pieces. Example: Are you bring three pants? Carry at least six top pieces (blouses / jackets / coats).
  • Neutral color clothing: they are easier to mix and match and you can have a lot more options.

What to bring in the winter

Although winter in NY is freezing, do not panic. The big secret is having very warm inner layers.. It is the famous “onion effect”, you will dress in layers. It helps because, for outdoor environments, you have to be as protected as possible, but when entering indoors, you will realize that the heating works very well and you can “peel” and draw some layers to be comfortable. Let’s go to the list:

  • Thermal clothing: for me, they are the great saviors for cold days. Thermal clothing are blouses and pants made of special fabrics that hold the heat of our body and with today’s technology is easy to find very thin and comfortable pieces that facilitate the layers. Because they are the first layer of protection, they are also called second skin. In New York, is easy to find (I’ve even seen it in the supermarket!) and they have great prices. My suggestion would be to bring at least one thermal set  with you and buy more in New York.

  • Thicker fabric clothing: it’s useless to bring too many pieces too thin, even with the thermal layer underneath. Thin pieces of cotton, viscose or polyester will not protect you from the cold and will occupy unnecessary space in your suitcase. The most suitable fabrics for cold days are those that are warm, EVEN, thicker, like pieces of wool, chamois, flannel and cashmere. You know those knickers your grandmother used to do? So they will be your best friends on the coldest days! You should also think about coats, cardigans or jackets that can be used just below the outer layer, to create another overlap and leave you more protected. So here’s the tip: the second layer should be made of very warm fabrics!
  • Jacket/ coat suitable for cold weather: this one is an important point because we often underestimate the cold and we bring some coats that, in the end, are not effective. They are the outer layer of the “great onion” that we have become. What is an “appropriate” coat for the cold? It is one that, in addition to retaining the warmth of your body, will protect you from the wind as well. And oh, they are quite bulky and take up quite a bit of room in the suitcase, so I suggest taking the biggest one on the plane with you. I know they may not look so beautiful – after all, we want to take beautiful pictures in New York, right? – but you can not neglect this layer. So think that the thicker the coat, the more it will protect you from the cold.
  • Comfortable shoes/boots: do not forget that in New York we walk a lot! So, you have to be very comfortable to walk all day. Avoid high heels or very tight shoes. You should wear boots (the ones with lining are better), but there are people who can stand the cold with sneakers too (I do not think it protects well). Always wear thermal socks and very warm. One cool tip is to buy thermal insoles, which can be swapped easily, so buying only one pair would be enough. Forget flats and open shoes!
  • Is it necessary to bring snow boots? As much as we have this image of NY in our heads, you should know that it does not snow that much in the city. And it is practically impossible to predict if it will snow even though it is VERY cold. Snow boots are usually expensive, they are heavy and take up a lot of space. If you want to spend your money, go ahead! But they are not absolutely necessary. So if you do not have one of these and do not want to have it, breathe in relief. There are many other options that can well replace their use.
  • Hats, gloves, scarves, and socks: protect your extremities! It’s no use being super warm and your feet or hands are freezing. Again, do not underestimate the cold weather. Nowadays there are many gloves that have touch technology, that is, you can even use your phone without having to take them off. It is very important to have appropriate socks for the cold, besides the insoles that I have already mentioned. And because these pieces do not take up so much space in the bag and are the most “visible” pieces, a good tip to vary the looks in the photos is to take a number of options, some more colorful and others more neutral for you to have more options combination between them!
    Jeans are not great options: jeans clothing do not heat, so they are not the best option for winter because they are cold. Ideally, leggings, thick fabric pants or, in order to wear your good old jeans, wear a thermal piece underneath!

What to bring in the summer

In the same way that we should not underestimate the freezing cold, summer can be hard as well! Remember to always stay hydrated. The suitcase for summer is much less bulky and takes up less space, so come and see what to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes: I think it’s a pretty basic but extremely important tip. As we said before, in New York we walk a lot and we have to be comfortable. Many women like to wear flat sandals, but I personally do not think them so comfortable because they can create bubbles on your feet. The best option, therefore, would be sneakers, flats, and slipons. Avoid wearing shoes that you have never worn before because you do not know how your feet will react to them! And, as always, avoid very high heels.
  • Natural fabrics: for warmer days, the ideal is to invest in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk, as they allow our body to breathe.
  • Carrying a cardigan: this tip is more prudent even, you know when your mother said: “take a cardigan because it can be cold”? It does not have to be anything heavy, a cardigan or a jacket does the job well in case it gets cold at night or you go to that restaurant with strong air conditioning.
  • Cap or hat: besides being a good trick to make the outfit more interesting, they have the function of protecting our faces from the sun. And never forget the sunscreen, okay?
  • Why not take a picnic blanket? Have you ever thought it might be a great thing to have a picnic in Central Park? Take advantage of a beautiful, sunny and super-hot day, and there are always many outdoor events this time of year, so enjoy!

What to bring in the mid seasons (Spring and Fall)

Here’s where the thing starts to get a bit confusing. Can I give a silly tip that will change your life? Pack very close to the day of your trip and check the weather in some app! Weather is a very crazy thing and quite difficult to predict! Can it be cold in these seasons? Yes. Can it be hot in these seasons? Yes. So be prepared!

  • Avoid bringing heavy jackets: do you know that super heavyweight jacket we talked about in the winter topic? Leave it at home. Except for a VERY CRAZY day of extremely low temperature, normally the cold in these seasons is not very strong. You can be well protected with lighter jackets, but be sure to bring at least a warmer one (especially in the Fall!)
  • Avoid very summer pieces: no tank tops or summer dresses, unless you want to use them with some layer on top. In both seasons, temperatures drop at night, keep that in mind.
  • Do I need to wear boots? I think wise, yes! Especially in the Fall, that temperatures begin to drop quite a bit. The ankle boots will work perfectly well.
  • Do I need gloves, cap, and scarf? You’re probably not going to use them, especially in the spring, but this is very personal. There are people who feel very cold, so we go back to the first tip from above; check how the weather will be during your trip, and if you think it will be too cold, you better take it!

Anyway, guys, I think that’s it and the post got a lot longer than I thought! I think the main trick is to pack next to the date of the trip and check the weather every day so that you can only carry appropriate clothing for the weather that you will be facing during your days in New York. Otherwise, just enjoy this spectacular city!

Thanks Rachel for this amazing post! Follow her on Instagram – @apenasumpalpite.

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