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What I Packed for Ireland and Scotland in Late Summer

Full disclosure: packing for a two-week trip in Ireland and Scotland gave me a fair bit of anxiety. The weather in Ireland and the UK is fairly unpredictable to start with, and on top of that I wasn’t sure if our early September trip would call for summer or fall outfits.

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The temperatures for our trip ended up ranging from 55-70 degrees as the high. Most days were sunny or partly cloudy, and even when it started off with a cool morning we rarely needed all of our layers all day. My main goal was to keep our luggage very light since we were moving from eight different accommodations over the course of two weeks, so I booked a couple of places with access to a washer/dryer and planned do laundry a few times.

As far as the level of casual vs. formal, Chris and I expected to have mostly active days (tons of walking/hiking) and we wanted to eat as much pub food as possible, so jeans and casual tops were fine for us pretty much every day. I was able to wear a long-sleeve top with a scarf plus my flats for a few places when I needed to look a wee bit more polished. So here’s what I packed for fifteen days in late August and early September:

  • 2 short-sleeve shirts
  • 4 long-sleeve shirts
  • 1 zip-up hoodie
  • 1 tank top (for sleeping)
  • 1 pair of lightweight hiking pants
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • puffer vest
  • waterproof jacket
  • 2 scarves
  • waterproof hiking shoes
  • ballet flats
  • undies and socks
  • baseball-type cap
  • sunglasses

In case it helps to have some more details, here are a few of the specific things I packed:
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1. Long-sleeve waffle henley from Eddie Bauer (similar); 2. Striped long-sleeve top from Loft; 3. and 4. Long-sleeve cotton crewneck tops from Nordstrom; 5. Warm puffer vest for layering (that I wore on so many days) from J. Crew Factory.

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1. Soft and warm wool scarf; 2. Pretty patterned scarf; 3. Hat; 4. My favorite small camera bag to hold my SLR and a point-and-shoot; 5. Super comfortable North Face Ultra Fast Pack GTX waterproof hiking shoes; 6. Foldable leather ballet flats.

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1. Comfortable and water-repellent Mountain Hardware Chockstone hiking pants; 2. Jeans; 3. Space Dye Strength Hoodie 2 from Athleta; 4. North Face Carli Jacket for the rain that we didn’t get (yay!).

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All of our stuff went into my trusty Eagle Creek packing cubes and we each brought one carry-on suitcase. I ended up wearing everything I brought, and didn’t really feel like anything was missing. Of course, if room wasn’t an issue I would have liked to have more shoes just because, but the lone two (!) pairs I brought worked out well. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about packing for either of these places!

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16 comments
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  • Kevin Hennett - Wow, this is the perfect post for our vacation trip to Scotland and Ireland for two weeks in September. The inclusion of the photos and links are fantastic. I just wanted to let you know how appreciative we are for your post/blog. Is there anyone item that you did not take; that you would suggest we take?ReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Kevin – Thank you so much for your kind words about the post! And to answer your question, I really think we brought everything we needed, and we purchased an umbrella once we got there. The key seemed to be wearing layers, and at least having a waterproof outer layer ready. We were quite lucky with the weather. Hopefully you will be, too, but I recommend having a rain jacket and umbrella handy just in case!

  • Anje - This is the first blog that was practical and honest about what to pack! Loved it, thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Thank you, Anje! I’m so glad it was helpful! And I hope you have a great trip. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I loved your practical post I tend to pack too much My question is was 2 pairs of pants really sufficient. Headed to Scitland shortlyReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Kathy! Glad the post was helpful! I was easily able to get away with the two pairs of pants since we had access to a washer and dryer in a couple of places. It also depends on what you’re planning to do and how much room you have in your luggage. We pretty much planned hiking and sightseeing only, so I didn’t seem to need anything else. My jeans were dark wash and could dress up a little if needed. Have an amazing time!

  • Ginger - Thank you so much for your informative blog! We leave Friday for Ireland and I’ve been so nervous about what to pack! Your suitcase looks just like mine so I think I’m in good shape!ReplyCancel

    • Susan - Yaaay! Have a wonderful time, Ginger! Ireland is so amazing!

  • heidi - Great list, and I’m planning for fall of 2018! I didn’t see you post this but did you pack small toiletries or did you just purchase there or use what was provided at each hotel? Since travelers are now limited to 3oz only and all that can fit in a quart size bag I was wondering if you did this or not?ReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Heidi – Yes! I did pack 3oz. toiletries in the one quart bag. The bag was stuffed, but I managed to get it all in there! Some of our B&Bs had nice soaps, shampoos, etc. so I supplemented when needed. It is also pretty easy to find/buy anything else you need while you’re there. Have a great trip!

  • Jennifer Babcock - This list is GREAT!

    I have trips booked to both Scotland and Ireland this year. I had a couple of questions for you:
    1 = The North face hiking shoes = would you recommend? Are shortie hiking shoes all that is needed? I was thinking I would need a high top option? What is your opinion?
    2 = Did you really survive with only 2 pairs of pants? Did you have to plan laundry along the way? Share your secrets!!ReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Jennifer – I love my North Face hiking shoes! I think a high-top option depends on the type of hiking you’re planning to do. We didn’t tackle any particularly technical trails, so they were good for my purposes (daily wear and easy hikes). And I did do laundry. 🙂 We had access to laundry machines at our accommodations twice along the way, so my two pairs of pants (plus a pair of yoga pants for the plane and for lounging) were all I needed. Have a great time on your trips!

  • Donna Marks - Hi Susan
    I wondered if you had any tips for packing for the many stops on your trip. I am worried about time spent packing and unpacking multiple times. We are going to ireland and Scotland and London in 2018. Any advice would be appreciated. Enjoyed your pics and blog. ThanksReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Donna – Yes! Use packing cubes! They are such a huge help in keeping everything organized by item type when you have to live out of a suitcase or backpack. You could even use different colors for different items so that it’s easy to identify what’s what. Have an amazing time on your trip!

  • shari - Tieks? Worth it for walking around Dublin and other small towns?

    Trying to find a great pair of ballet flats that don’t look clunks, or grandma-ish.

    I have heard great things, but the price….

    Great Blog!!

    ShariReplyCancel

    • Susan - Hi Shari! I absolutely love my Tieks. I’m up to six pairs now. That said, I have pretty sensitive feet and I’m only comfortable walking about 2-3 miles in them. They definitely are cute! Have a great trip!

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