When we travel, we leave behind the comforts of home and most of our belongings. However the one thing we do take with us is our clothing.
As part of the deal, your closet and drawers will be restricted to a suitcase, you usually (not always) lose access to a washer/dryer, you may face elements you’re not used to, and your usual attire may not be acceptable to local customs.
So researching and planning your travel wardrobe is essential in order to be prepared for your chosen destination and activities. The following are 5 ways clothing can make or break your trip.
Packing the Right Amount of Clothing
Choosing the right amount clothes for your trip is probably the most important aspect of packing. Clothing takes up most of the room in our luggage, and with airlines becoming stricter on weight allowances and/or charging higher baggage fees it’s vital that you choose your travel wardrobe wisely (and perhaps get creative when packing it!).
Pack too much clothing and you face the struggle of lugging around a heavy suitcase. Pack too little and you may have to track down a Laundromat or pay hotel laundry service fees that could possibly cost you more money than your clothes are worth.
The key is choosing versatile clothes that can be used for more than one situation or occasion. Don’t skimp on your undergarments as they will of course take the brunt of your daily activities. Hold back on bringing numerous heavy and bulky items such as jumpers and jeans. These can get several days of use without a wash. The bulky items you do choose, try to keep out of your suitcase by wearing on the plane. Besides saving room in your luggage, it may come in handy to have warm clothes with you onboard where it can often be chilly once airborne.
Choose Comfortable Low Maintenance Clothing
Travel can be stressful enough without having to be uncomfortable in your clothing. Just as comfort food eases our worries, so too does being draped in our favourite garments. You definitely should avoid tight clothing that can restrict motion as many modes of transport can have you placed in some awkward positions at times.
Bringing clothing that is easy to maintain is essential as you often don’t know what travel will have in store for you. The last thing you want to be doing on your holidays is ironing the day away or looking for the dry cleaners. Your expensive dress or suit may look great in Instagram photos but you’ll have to decide if “likes” are worth the hassle.
Dress for the Season and the Weather
Make sure to check up the weather forecasts for where you’re headed so you know what kind of conditions you can expect. International travel involves taking the time to research what the conditions are like for the season you have chosen.
It goes without saying that if you’re headed for the snow, you will need extra accessories to keep your extremities warm. Winterizing your suitcase wardrobe takes a bit more planning but can be done quite easily. The key is not to have a bunch of bulky sweaters but rather to dress in layers. Layering lightweight long sleeve shirts will be just as effective as something heavy and will be easier to pack.
Pack the Right Shoes
Start off on the right foot by making sure you have packed appropriate footwear for your itinerary. There’s nothing worse than not having the right treads as your feet take the brunt of your travels. You don’t want to be stuck with only sneakers if you’re headed to the beach, and you don’t want to be stuck with suitcase full of thongs when a fancy night on the town is expected.
If you plan on heading on nature walks, it is vital to have heavy duty waterproof hiking boots that will not only keep your feet safe from the elements but also from unexpected wildlife such as snakes. Try to wear your heaviest footwear on the plane to lighten your baggage load. You can always remove them in flight and switch to a pair of hotel slippers or comfortable socks.
Be sure to bring plastic bags for your shoes so you can pack them in your suitcase without getting dirt or sand throughout your clothes. Also make sure to break in any new pairs of shoes before your trip so as to avoid blisters during your travels.
Choose Clothing that is Culturally Appropriate
Even more important than choosing your clothing based on your destination’s weather and your comfort is to make sure your look will be respectful to local customs. Foreign countries may not have the relaxed laws you may be used to when it comes to public dress.
International travel is not the time to make a stand for your personal freedom of style. You may not agree with laws such as women having to cover up or not being allowed to expose tattoos but these are minor inconveniences for being allowed to experience another land and its culture.
Travel is a time to open your own mind to new ideas, not a time to act as a missionary trying to change a destination. It is a destination’s uniqueness which draws us to travel in the first place.
Regardless of what clothing you ultimately choose to bring, make sure it is protected by travel insurance. This will cover you in the event your baggage is lost, stolen, or damaged. It will also come in handy should your bags be greatly delayed by an airline or transport company and you are forced to purchase new clothing to get you by.