It's hard to figure out what to pack for your trip. You probably have a closet full of clothes and can't decide what to bring. So what should you wear? If an outfit can't be worn two or three times and look different by customizing it with accessories, then you shouldn't bring it. But if you bring pieces that you can mix and match then those are what you should wear. For example, with a no-nonsense navy blazer, you can look put-together and formal if you pair it with a nice blouse. For a more casual look, pair the blazer with your favorite jeans and a white T-shirt. Attire that can go from day to night is always your best bet. And you'll look effortlessly chic and stylish in a sea of tourists who are wearing tourist shirts, sweats and baseball caps.
Whether it’s because you’ll stick out like a sore thumb abroad, or you’ll be uncomfortable on a plane, always dress appropriately. For some that means you'll want to research your specific destination to find out which clothes are and aren't applicable to your particular trip. You should also keep in mind the local customs and religious beliefs. For example, if you're visiting a mosque, you should have clothing available that will cover you up almost entirely or risk offending the locals. Finally, you should consider safety when you pick out your clothes. The key is to blend in. This means no bright or loud colors and sticking to neutrals. You'll look less like a mark for thieves who prey on people who look like tourists.
Now that you have a general sense of what to bring while traveling, here are 12 specific things women should wear on trips, as well as 12 things they shouldn't wear.
24 Don't Wear: High Heels
It's simple. Do not ever bring or wear shoes with heels. That means platform shoes and stilettos. First off, do you know how hard it is to walk through a cavernous airport while wearing high heels? You have to walk from security to get to your gate, and that may be a long stroll. And besides, if you're on vacay, when are you going to wear high heels? While suntanning by the pool? While getting ice from the ice machine? Yes, you may want to dress up for dinner, but remember, as Town & Country said, comfort is everything when you travel.
23 Wear: A Hat that suits the climate
A woman should always bring a hat while traveling, according to Smarter Travel. A hat serves three purposes. One, you can wear it on bad hair days. We recommend a fedora straw hat, a newsboy cap or a military cap. Two, a hat can keep you warm if you're going somewhere cold. We suggest a wool or cashmere beanie. Finally, a hat can drastically change your look. A straw hat is the best to bring because it can make a white T-shirt and jeans or any ensemble look effortlessly chic. If you want to look sporty at the beach, wear a visor or borrow your boyfriend's baseball cap.
22 Don't Wear: Bright Colors
Don't wear clothes in bold patterns or loud colors. Remember that you should bring attire that coordinates well with each other, such as any combination of black, navy, grey and charcoal. You can't go wrong with a black T and your favorite jeans or leggings, and you will be keeping your packing to a minimum. As Smarter Travel pointed out, those colors will make you look put together and you'll be able to blend in with the crowd while sightseeing and not draw unwanted attention to yourself, especially thieves.
21 Don't Wear: More Than One pair of Jeans for the whole trip
Jeans go with anything, they're versatile and long-lasting and are perfect for any type of weather. As we suggested, for that effortless look, pairing denim with a navy blazer and a white T-shirt is perfect for informal events, such as when visiting tourist sites. While other people will look like tourists, you'll look very chic. But there's no reason to bring more than one piece of denim. Stick to one pair only. Anything more, and you'll have little room in your suitcase, as denim is also heavy, even when it's folded tightly, as USA Today pointed out.
20 Don't Wear: Skinny Jeans
You should always bring jeans with you on your trip because they go with almost everything. But you should not wear skinny or tight jeans while flying. All that time you're sitting on a plane, especially one that is over ten hours, will make your skinny jeans feel very uncomfortable. And, according to Town and Country, you increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis or blood clots. So wear more sensible jeans and, for preventive measures, put on the compression socks we talk about later. Regular socks will inhibit blood circulation and cause swelling of the legs.
19 Wear: Comfortable Clothing While On A Plane
Even a six-hour flight will make you uncomfortable if you've chosen the wrong things to wear on the plane. The trick is to stay away from bulky items (puffy jackets, for example) and to wear clothes you can layer and that are comfortable. The New York Times suggests wearing exercise gear. For tops, bring with you a sweatshirt made of lightweight cotton over a T-shirt as a base. Then put a sweatshirt hoodie in a larger size over your shirt, big enough that it won't prohibit your movement. For pants, wear leggings or nylon workout pants. You can get some quality-made sweats at J.Crew or Pink.
18 Don't Wear: A Tote Bag Without A Top Closure
For most women who travel by plane, they often bring along with them a tote bag or a bag with a wide top opening on their flight so that they can easily rummage through their bag for those glasses they need to read, for example. But if the bag doesn't have a button or zipper closure and you plan on walking around with it on tourist sites, don't use it. An open bag, as Smarter Travel pointed out, is an open invitation to pickpockets. Instead, carry a purse that has a zipper or a cross-body bag. Just remember a bag with a zipper will make you less of a target for thieves.
17 Wear: comfortable sweats for the plane
For those who think gym wear like sweats makes you look like a slob while flying in a plane, try this alternate outfit suggested by Air Help. Wear a Polartec jacket made of real fleece as your shell or outerwear, and if the A/C gets too cold, remove the jacket to reveal a long-sleeve lightweight sweater. Cotton is ideal, but merino wool is thin enough to wear comfortably and will guarantee that you'll feel warm. For bottoms, suiting pants are your best bet because they offer a little bit of stretch so as not to impede your movement. The best trousers are those made of Lycra and synthetic fibers.
16 Don't Wear: Pajamas
If you fly a lot, you've probably seen a lot of people at the airport or on a flight who are dressed inappropriately. One example are passengers who wear pajamas on the plane so they feel cozy and relaxed. Pajamas are improper to wear on a flight and belong only in your bedroom or in your hotel room, according to Travel + Leisure. It's a known fact that flight attendants treat passengers who are dressed nicely differently from those who look like slobs or think the aircraft is their home, as The Cheat Sheet pointed out.
15 Wear: A Scarf
The essential accessory you should always bring while traveling is a scarf. It will alter your outfit in the same way as a straw hat. And style-wise, the T-shirt and jeans combo will work well with the scarf. For hot weather, wear a lightweight cotton/rayon scarf. You can also wear it when it's chilly at night, especially if you're near the beach. Just make sure the scarf is an infinity scarf or measures around 30 x 80 so it can be layered or worn in different styles. For winter a cashmere scarf is the only scarf that will do if you want to look stylish. For inspiration, the Atlanta Traveler offers 9 undeniable reasons to wear a scarf when you're traveling.
14 Don't Wear: Bulky Parkas
You should never bring a large, oversized coat while you travel. That means bulky parkas with fake-fur hoods, big puffy jackets and quilted puffy jackets, for example. If you justify bringing such coats because you are going somewhere cold, look in the mirror to see if you look like you're in the Artic. If you do, you're wearing the wrong jacket, and it won't fit in your carry-on, as Travel + Leisure pointed out. It also won't fit in your seat if you take it off while flying. The best bet is to bring an all-season jacket that is both warm enough for winter and lightweight for crisp falls.
13 Wear: Essential Clothing For Traveling To Somewhere Hot
If you're going somewhere that's hot and has plenty of beaches, you should always pack at least two bathing suits, according to Travel + Leisure. The stylish woman should also bring a swim cover-up and two large and comfy T-shirts, one to use at the beach when it gets a little cool and one to sleep in. Even if you're traveling during cold months and you are staying at a hotel that has an indoor or heated pool, keeping a bathing suit in your luggage will allow for some impromptu swimming.
12 Wear: Attire That's Dependent On Where You're Going
You should always bring clothing that matches where you're going. To make this happen, choose clothing in three matching colors that should be based on your destination. According to The New York Times, this means if you are going to an urban destination like New York, you should bring attire in dark colors, such as any combination of black, navy, grey and charcoal. If you are going somewhere tropical, white should be the standard along with bright clothing like orange and pink.
11 Don't Wear: Expensive Jewelry
You should never bring expensive jewelry when traveling. If you do and are showing it off, you may just become a mark for thieves and pickpockets. But that's not the only reason. According to Roma Designer Jewelry, there are more problems when traveling with jewelry. Some are as follows, you might lose pieces while traveling, and they may be expensive or difficult to replace. If you don't separate your jewelry in your carry-on, your necklaces may get tangled or knotted up.
10 Wear: Pieces That Exude The Classic American Look
You should bring clothes that have a classic American look. You'll completely blend in if you are traveling as a tourist and your outfit will take you anywhere. So what's the classic look? Definitely your favorite pair of jeans, a white T-shirt, and some nice pants or skirts. If you also bring along a navy blazer, all of these things will create several outfits, according to The New York Times. You can wear the T under the blazer for a casual look, a blouse for a more stylish look, and you can dress up the blazer by wearing formal pants.
9 Wear: The Little Black Dress
We all have the little black dress in our closet, and it's our go-to dress for dinners out or formal occasions. Because the black dress is so versatile, you should always bring it with you when you travel. While mixing and matching, the black dress, according to Kailay U, can go from day to night in an instant. For an informal look, wear a floppy hat and a lightweight jacket. The style right now is the jean jacket, so wear that if you have one. For more formal affairs, dress up the dress by wearing pearls or some costume jewelry.
8 Don't Wear: A Strong Fragrance
Sure, a lot of women wear perfume. But while traveling on an airplane where we're all sharing the same air, you should keep your favorite perfume to the minimum. Or better yet, especially when your scent offends other passengers, you should do without. And you should also not be experimenting while up in the air because you may spray too much perfume on you. Be respectful of passengers around you. People with allergies, or those with asthma or anyone prone to headaches, as MSN Lifestyle pointed out, will also be bothered by your scent.
7 Don't Wear: Clothing That Is Packed Freely
Most women like to wear something different each day while traveling. But as discussed, you do not need an ensemble piece for every occasion. If you pack freely, you're going to lose room in your luggage and you may have to check one of your bags and pay the cost, as USA Today pointed out. Even if your trip lasts a week, stick to pieces that are of the same hue and which you can mix and match. The example again is the little black dress. You can dress it up with costume jewelry for special occasions and for an informal look, you can wear the dress and cover up your upper body with an infinity scarf.
6 Wear: Compression Socks
Socks are the last thing on your mind when you start packing for your trip. You usually just bring white no-show cotton socks to match your sneakers for day trips. But if you are flying, compression socks are a necessity, according to The Travel Channel. Sitting for a long period of time wearing regular socks will swell your legs and also cut off the flow of blood circulation. To avoid deep vein thrombosis (also called "Economy Class Syndrome"), always wear compression socks on a flight, which will combat the problem.
5 Wear: The Karina Dress
While relying on the little black dress and keeping clothes to a minimum, it doesn't hurt to bring another dress, but only if you have room in your carry-on. The Karina dress is what to bring. After all, the folks at Travel + Leisure searched for the perfect travel dress and the Karina hit all the right buttons. The dress can be shoved into a small carry-on, resists wrinkles, has hemlines that hit just where you like it, and the neckline is becoming without revealing. It's both versatile and appropriate, and the best part is that variations of the dress work on every single body type.
4 Wear: The All-Seasons Jacket
If you're traveling during fall or winter, a jacket will be a necessity. According to Woman On The Road, you should wear a large plastic poncho or lightweight waterproof jacket in the chance of rain or inclement weather since carrying an umbrella can be cumbersome while traveling. There's only one jacket you should bring. It's the Barbour Beadnell, the women's version of the men's classic Barbour Bedale. Made of waxed cotton, the iconic jacket is waterproof and, being lightweight, is a true all-year round jacket. Ponchos are silly and waterproof jackets may have a too sporty look. The Barbour is classic and looks great with whatever outfit you're wearing.
3 Don't Wear: Shorts
You should never bring shorts, even if you're going somewhere hot. A woman can wear light beach dresses to keep cool and which are easy to pack and will fit in your carry-on. And besides, in some cultures, shorts show too much leg and locals will consider you as someone who doesn't respect their customs. For example, Indonesians and Vietnamese never wear shorts no matter how hot it gets. Just put on a pair of jeans or lightweight pants.
2 Wear: Clothing You Can Layer
Layering clothes is the easiest way of dressing appropriately no matter what the weather. Some clothes that layer well, according to Packsmith, are cotton T-shirts in any style, cotton or merino wool sweaters, leggings (pair with a dress when it's cold), and a lightweight waterproof jacket if there's rain or if the A/C on the airplane is too cold. Layering means you can peel off a layer when it's too hot, or add a sweater when it's cold.
1 Don't Wear: Inappropriate Clothing When Visiting A Religious Site
If you are visiting religious sites like temples, mosques or churches in foreign countries, you may be banned from entering if you are not dressed conservatively. So it's really important to look up the dress code beforehand. You don't have to look like a nun, but it's safe to say in different cultures that immodest outfits that show off even your limbs will be frowned upon. According to Smarter Travel, in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, tank tops and shorts are considered offensive. One thing you should always carry with you in a bag is a scarf or a pashmina, according to Go! Girl Guides, because some Christian places of worship require women to cover their hair.
Sources: Travel + Leisure, In Style, People, Business Insider, Go! Girl Guides, Smarter Travel, Town & Country, The New York Times, Kailay U, The Washington Post, MSN Lifestyle, USA Today, The Travel Channel, Woman On The Road, Packsmith, Air Help, The Atlanta Traveler