With TSA governing the amount of liquid we can carry onto planes and airlines charging more for overweight baggage, I have gotten the contents of my travel bag down to a science. If I had any questions on what is absolutely necessary before, now—after my book tour—I’ve grown to realize one doesn’t really need to include everything-but-the-kitchen-sink when she travels.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have my absolute must-haves. Like my cosmetics, I don’t trust this skin to any old product; or my underwear, I have to have three pairs more than days I will be away just in case; or my shoes, they MUST be comfy and stylish and must go with everything—think grey or eggplant for this season. But, when it comes to the clothes, I am totally flexible depending on the climate.

cool weather

You really only need one neutral sweater for the daytime and just add a scarf to keep the neck warm at night. Make certain you pack shirts or dresses that can layer easily. And don’t be afraid to mix and match colors and textures. Gone are the days when everything needs to match.

Invest in a pair of quick drying exercise pants that can be easily washed and hung up to dry. I love the Lululemon Groove Pant or Studio Pant. With a blazer or corduroy jacket, you can barely tell these are exercise pants. I pack two. I wear one while the other dries.

Remember in cooler weather, you can wear your clothes (especially the layers) over and over again. With under garment changes, the basics don’t really get that dirty. So don’t over-pack. Reuse. Reuse.

warm weather

Now warm weather is a different story. Although the clothing doesn’t seem as bulky where it takes up a lot of room like, say a sweater, I find that I need more pieces of clothing in warmer weather. Especially in more humid climates, I like to make certain I always have a fresh set of clothes for each day. Nothing is more disgusting than having to wear clothes you’ve perspired in a second day in a row.

However, your dressy clothes that you would wear to dinner typically don’t get smelly and sweaty, so I pack one or two nice dresses for any given time period.

rainy weather

I love, love a rainy day (or night, cue song) but not so much when I’m traveling and out and about. I’ve learned that traveling with a lightweight slicker I can roll up and toss in my bag works better than having to pack a jacket and a raincoat. If I must pack something a little dressier, I reach for my trench coat. It repels water and looks super chic.

Just remember when you travel you rarely know anyone, so no one is going to see you in the same outfit twice. As long as your travel partner doesn’t care that you sport a similar look every day, I say keep the packing light. Your back will thank you for it later!