Packing Dilemmas

sightseeing outfit

Packing is not easy

And it’s even more difficult when you don’t know what the weather is going to be like in your destination. Or if you plan to visit several places, all with different weather and temperatures.

This was my dilemma when I was trying to decide what to pack for my most recent trip: first a day and a half in Milan, and then a few days in Scotland before heading back home to Finland.

A multitasking wardrobe

As I didn’t want to pack two sets of wardrobes, I needed to find a solution that would somehow work both in Milan and in Aberdeen. And in case you’re wondering: I had a suitcase, so I wasn’t trying fit everything into cabin luggage.

These photos were taken in Milan (we’ll deal with the Scotland part of the trip later, in another post), and this is my ‘sightseeing outfit’. I assumed it would be quite a bit warmer in Milan than in Finland, although not exactly spring weather, with cooler temperatures in the evening.

So, I needed a light-weight coat that would keep me warm but not make me sweat, and that could double as a raincoat if necessary. I would also be doing a lot of walking, so good shoes were a must. And I needed a bag that was big enough to fit my camera, and that could be worn crossbody (= pickpocket safe).  Needless to say, the bag would also have to travel well (= fit into the suitcase without having to be squashed).

sightseeing outfit

Handbag or Cabin luggage?

I know what you’re thinking: why did I want to put the bag in the suitcase, why didn’t I just use the bag as my cabin luggage? Well, two reasons: first, it’s not big enough to fit my laptop. And second, there’s no zipper at the top of the bag, so any turbulence would send the contents of the bag flying in all directions (been there, done that).

I often use a small(ish) backpack as my cabin luggage: it’s big enough for a laptop, a camera etc but small enough to fit under the seat. Why is that important? Well, these days, many airlines won’t let you put your trolley in the overhead locker but make you check it in at the gate, especially if the plane is full (and they usually are).

Which leads to frantic repacking just before boarding as you try to fit your laptop, camera, an assortment of chargers and cables and valuables into your pockets or the much smaller handbag you thought would hold only what you need during the flight (again, been there, done that).

green jacket 1300 x 1300

And did this same outfit also work for me in Scotland?

Well, yes, in a way: obviously, I wore the same shoes and carried the same bag throughout my stay. And because I wanted to be prepared for  any weather conditions and temperatures, I had packed two pairs of trousers, and several tops of varying thickness / warmth: a long-sleeved t-shirt, a couple of slightly warmer knit tops and a cashmere sweater and a cardigan. I also had two scarves: the cashmere scarf in these pictures and a large silk scarf.

But, crucially, I also brought along two coats: the lightweight jacket you see here and a slightly warmer one. This gave me some flexibility to adjust to changing temperatures without having to resort to layering (which I hate).

casual cool over 50

Outfit details:
jacket: Makia / trousers: Marks and Spencer (old) /scarf: A + more /
shoes: Fila / sunglasses: Woobs / bag: Lancel (old)


Do you take a suitcase with you when you travel?
Or do you try to fit everything in your cabin luggage?

Linking up with:

Not Dead Yet StyleElegantly Dressed and StylishHigh Latitude StyleStyle ElixirA Labour of LifeCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunColor and GraceThe Wardrobe StylistNot Dressed As LambStyle NudgeLiving on Cloud NineA Well Styled LifeElegance and MommyhoodPosh Classy MomNancy’s Fashion StyleShelbee on the EdgeA Pocketful of Polka Dots Style SplashThe Fashionista MommaTina’s Pink Friday, Away from the BlueMummabstylish , Living on Cloud NineMutton Years Style and I


  1. 23 February 2020 / 11:09 pm

    Always interesting to see how other people deal with travel and packing. funnily enough the husband is in Finland at the moment (he says it was warmer than here) although his luggage is somewhere else…

    • Tiina
      26 February 2020 / 4:52 pm

      Oh dear, I hope he gets/got his luggage soon…

  2. mireilleftm
    24 February 2020 / 2:29 pm

    It definitely takes some thinking with packing on flights. I usually figure out what bag goes in the cabin with me then the other luggage. Looks like you figured it out. Makes it complicated when the weather is not similar in different places.

    • Tiina
      26 February 2020 / 4:55 pm

      I hate packing. I hate travelling, too. The ‘travel’ part of the journey, I mean: being cooped up in a tiny metal tube with way too many other people just to get from point A to join to B…
      The trouble is, these days we all have so many gadgets we need to transport, usually in cabin luggage, it makes finding a bag (that can fit it all) such a pain.

  3. 25 February 2020 / 11:47 pm

    Love love loving that bag!! So cute!

    • Tiina
      26 February 2020 / 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Sherry! It’s an old bag, but recently I’ve started using it with just about everything. I guess it’s the current favourite, in spite of being old…

  4. 26 February 2020 / 7:18 pm

    I always feel that flying (having to deal with controls, baggage, bags and stuff) is pretty uncivilized and sometimes I believe that they make all the process uncomfortable deliberately.
    But obviously we have to travel. And I think that your ideas about what to wear when travelling to different places are Great Ideas.
    I also prefer to keep my electronic devices safe in a massive bag, where I also put whatever I could need, because it’s not going to be checked in!. Trolleys are risky business, as you wrote.
    Great advice on picking some comfy shoes and a raincoat first. This makes a difference!. However, I’m a huge fan of layering and double-duty clothes, so I pack as many of them as possible!

    • Tiina
      28 February 2020 / 7:22 pm

      Oh, yes, travelling is torture. It’s OK if you have a frequent flyer status that gives you priority security / boarding / lounge access (I used to have this, but now I’m taking a different airline…), otherwise it’s just stressful. I try to streamline my cabin luggage as much as possible, but it’s not easy: we all carry so many gadgets these days. And planes are getting worse, too, have you noticed? They’re trying to maximise the number of passengers and there no leg room, even for a shortie like me. I always feel like we passengers are crammed together like sardines in a can…

  5. q
    26 February 2020 / 9:03 pm

    I read that some of the airlines are already charging you, if you want to have your bag in the overhead locker, so your strategy seems to be a good one.
    I use a small backpack in the cabin also. I usually travel with family, so suitcase is best choice for us. -q

    • Tiina
      28 February 2020 / 7:24 pm

      Oh yes, I’ve heard that, too (Norwegian does that, I believe). Yes, a suitcase is the best option, I think.

  6. 28 February 2020 / 5:24 pm

    I always take a suitcase – I just can’t travel light, although I’m much better than I used to be. Trying to choose clothes, shoes and bags that are practical, all work together and fit in the case is like solving a puzzle sometimes. I hate the last minute repacking stress at the airport! Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx

    • Tiina
      28 February 2020 / 7:25 pm

      You said it! It’s a puzzle, for sure.

  7. shelbeeontheedge1
    1 March 2020 / 4:03 pm

    I don’t know if my comment posted because my computer just went all wonky! In any event, I am the worst over packer ever so I love posts like these because I can use all the help and ideas I can get when it comes to packing. However, for now, I try to choose places where I can drive so I can pack as much as fits in my car! But I am certain there will be airplane travel at some point again in my future. I love your green coat, cashmere scarf, and those adorable metallic sneakers! Thanks for linking up.


    • Tiina
      1 March 2020 / 6:31 pm

      Oh dear, computers can be moody (mine certainly is)…
      Yes, packing can be tricky, but I find it’s a good exercise, in a way: how to edit my wardrobe. I always realise I don’t really need everything I packed. So, every time I try pack less and less…

  8. 2 March 2020 / 12:43 pm

    I definitely over packed with our hand luggage when we went to Europe – I will simplify it greatly next time! I took my bags as security – I didn’t want to leave them to get lost in my checked in luggage! It’s definitely a struggle to make sure you only pack the essentials, especially as an overpacker like myself! :)

    Hope that you had a lovely weekend :)

    Thanks so much for joining the #WeekdayWearLinkup!

    • Tiina
      4 March 2020 / 3:35 pm

      Well, it’s not easy to pack when you plan to visit several places, with different climates and weather conditions. I don’t know where you went in Europe, but (speaking as a Northern European) the climate in the south is totally different from the north, especially in winter, and you need completely different wardrobes, too. It would a nightmare trying to fit everything in one suitcase, let alone cabin luggage…

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