11 Travel Wear Essentials Every Traveler Should Pack

11 Travel Wear Essentials

There is no way to know exactly what I usually get there and realize that I forgot something. Generally, I start with a basic packing list. Then, I make outfit decisions based on the temperature and time of year, my itinerary as well as the local customs. And although my style doesn’t change when I travel, my needs during travel are pretty different from my needs at home. Here are my 10 travel wear essentials.
pack in your suitcase.

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11 Travel Wear Essentials

This list is not comprehensive– it’s just a method of thinking about what you’ll need to wear when you travel. Undergarments are not included in travel wear. I don’t think I need to remind you to bring them.

Before I Go There

I always ask myself a few questions before I pack my suitcase:

1. What is the temperature on the ground?
2. Are there any restrictions based on culture?
3. How long is my trip?
4. What pieces can I pack that work well together?
5. What did I pack on the last trip that I used over and over again?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it should be pretty easy to figure out what to pack for your next trip.

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1. Comfortable Shoes

Comfy shoes are my #1 Travel Wear Essentials tip. Sandals, loafers, or sneakers? That’s up to you. When I say pack comfortable shoes, I don’t mean shoes you can walk around the mall in. I mean shoes that you can walk to the moon in. And for heaven’s sake don’t bring untested footwear. Your trip is not the ideal time to break in new shoes. No matter how much planning you do, you’ll end up walking more than you planned and this is not the time you want to be shoe shopping. Find shoes that have a little cushion and heel to keep your feet and back from hurting.

2. Pack Clothes That Travel Well

Americans are used to having access to irons and ironing boards when we travel. However, the rest of the world isn’t. Keep this in mind when you pack your travel wear. And who wants to be ironing on vacation anyway? You should consider fabric weave, weight, and cotton quality since all three play a very important role in overall wrinkle resistance. Permanent press or non-iron fabrics (are cotton fabrics treated with chemicals that prevent wrinkling. Some permanent press items include a mixture of natural and synthetics (rayon, nylon, spandex, acrylic, and polyester).

This also means, don’t bring overly flashy or complicated clothing. Unless all you plan on doing is parading up and down the hotel corridors, you won’t be comfortable in clothes that force you tho really think about wearing them.

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3. Simple Jewelry

This is a hard one for me because I love statement jewelry. But take it from me, I never wear it all. It’s better to keep it simple for the hassle and the thieves. Bring a watch so you don’t rely on your expensive cell phone to check the time.

4. Loose Fitting Clothing

No matter whether you prefer afghans, tunics, mini or maxi dresses, or palazzo pants– keep it loose. Stick to breathable fabrics. It will keep you cooler and more comfortable in the long run. All three can be dressed up or down with some cute sandals.

5. Don’t Over Pack that Suitcase

One of the biggest mistakes people make is overpacking. It’s a mistake for several reasons, here are just 3 reasons:

  • Cramming too much in your suitcase will undo create creases and wrinkles in your clothing;
  • Make your suitcase heavy with things you won’t wear;
  • Leave no room for new treasures

6. Mix and Match

Get the most out of what you pack in your suitcase. Don’t think one outfit at a time when you think Travel Wear Essentials. Think several by mix and matching a few pieces to create new looks.

7. One Size Fits All

Call them shawls, pashminas, stoles, or sarongs. Pack one or two with you because they are so versatile. You can wear one as a skirt, a beach cover-up or to keep warm on a cold plane. You can fold it up to use as a pillow or wrap yourself in it to visit a temple in Thailand or Saint Peters in Rome.

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8. Black Leggings

Leggings are not just for the gym or ballet anymore. They are so versatile for travel. Pack leggings to make a tunic or short dress sporty. Black is also great for hiding stains but can be washed in the sink if you need to.

9. Accessories

Travel Wear Essentials pack a pair of sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim in your suitcase. They are also a favorite souvenir to shop for when I travel. Pack a swimsuit even if you’re not a swimmer. It won’t take up much space, and it can serve as a bodysuit– which are totally trending now.

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10. It’s in the Bag

Make sure you pack a pretty, “never full” like a bag to hold your camera, sunglasses, and souvenirs. I pack a larger bag instead of a purse when I travel. It doesn’t have to match your outfits but it should be light and large enough.

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11. Select Appropriate Airplane Clothing

Booty shorts are appropriate on the beach but will garner you a lot of attention if you wear them at the Istanbul International Airport. Sleeves and capri pants are more appropriate to travel in if you have a layover or even transfer in some modest countries. I don’t even suggest leggings unless you pair them with a tunic or oversized top.

Other things to avoid are complicated/  hard to wear pieces, open-toed shoes, and one-pieces like body or jumpsuit because they complicate bathroom visits.

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  1. Stacy

    These are good tips. I think one of the best tips for what to take on holiday is to make sure you are comfortable on travel days. It really sets the tone.

  2. Lavanda Michelle

    This such a great post. I definitely don’t remember a lot of these great tips when i’m traveling, my favorite tip is “Don’t Overpack the Suitcase.” I usually do because I can’t decide on a outfit, or certain shoes, so i’ll keep that in mind next time. Thanks for Sharing!

  3. Kelly

    I have read a lot of packing lists, but yours is by far my favorite! Shoes – so important – and not the time to break in a new pair! your tips are amazing (all of them) but this one is valuable!

  4. Casey

    Thanks for all your tips! I pretty much have the same list of attributes when I travel, just want to be free and worry about nothing when I’m out there.

  5. andrea

    so true, it is very important to take in depending on where you are going, what the weather is like. and taking that into consideration when choosing what you are packing but for sure tennis shoes, and a jean jacket is always on my list.

  6. Peter - FunnelXpert

    Extremely practical advice, I also usually realize that I forgot something when I get there… I always carry an umbrella in my pack though.

  7. Scott Gombar

    My keys to traveling (which you touched on). Comfortable Shoes are a must. Clothes that can be mixed and matched so I don’t bring too much but I don’t wear the same thing every day. And hopefully I am going somewhere that needs sandals and swimsuit

  8. Elizabeth Edgar

    I agree about not overpack your suitcases because you will always bring home new treasures. Great packing for trip tips!

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