As you’re preparing for your next trip, whether it’s a flight to a country halfway around the world, or it’s a five-hour road trip to visit family, there’s one inevitable question that can be a real problem: Do I need any special travel apparel for this trip?
For starters, you don’t want to overpack or underpack. You don’t want to take things you don’t need, and you don’t want to go without something that’s critical to the occasion. So how should you decide on what kind of travel apparel you actually need? Here are a few hacks that can help you
Look at the photos. You may be going somewhere you’ve never been to before. It could be a new state or country, which means you’re dealing with different geographical conditions than you’re used to. You may be traveling from a beach town to a mountain range, or the Midwest to Phoenix, Arizona, but in the middle of winter. So what should you pack?
To start, check the local weather reports. You can use a weather website or mobile app and put in your destination. Google photos of people who are in the area, or do a search on Instagram for that city. Use the city’s hashtag like #TampaFlorida or #Minneapolis to find the most recent posts.
Bring something casual and something dressy. Depending on your trip, you may have either casual downtimes or an opportunity to dress up for an occasion. (And if you don’t, try to make the time. If you can afford it, go out to a nice restaurant at least once while you’re traveling.) For trips that last 3 –5 days, you can get away with bringing one or two pairs of casual pants or jeans; the same is true for shirts. But be sure to pack something a little nicer, like a dress shirt and tie, blouse, dress or skirt, and even a blazer or jacket.
We don’t recommend you bring an outfit for every day. Rather, mix and match and wear some of the same clothes more than once. But if you do, make sure you have an extra outfit that can serve as your backup.
Material matters. The important point about traveling is that comfort is important. You’re going to be uncomfortable sometimes anyway — in a new locale, around new people, in surroundings you’re not familiar with. So your clothing shouldn’t add to your discomfort. If you’re going to a cold destination, choose warm clothes that feel good against your skin. If you’re going somewhere warmer, find clothes, especially shirts, that are breathable.
Bringing the right shoes is essential for the trip. Of course, you want to wear your bulkiest shoes so they won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. And try to bring shoes that can handle different terrain or a lot of walking, like walking shoes or trainer running shoes. And don’t forget a pair of comfortable indoor shoes, like a pair of slippers. Just remember that you may be on your feet for a long time, so you don’t want something that hurts after just an hour.
Bring something adventurous. Since vacations typically call out the adventurer in all of us, bring something that will help you get out of your comfort zone a bit. Maybe it’s a particular outfit you’ve been afraid to wear at home, or maybe you want to try rocking a new hat. If you’ve been afraid to wear it at home, then wear it on your trip: It’s not like you’re going to see these people again. Besides, it may give you the confidence to wear it when you get back too.
Don’t buy new travel apparel right away. You may already own the items you need in the back of your closet or haven’t considered how your existing pieces can be styled differently to suit the destination. So don’t rush to buy a whole new travel wardrobe when you could save on clothes and increase your spending budget for experiences on your trip.
What kind of travel apparel do you take with you on your vacations? Do you have any lucky shirts or favorite shoes? Tell us about your choices on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.