Lightweight, stylish, waterproof, wind proof, scrunch proof… A travel jacket / parka / windcheater is the best when layered over other clothes and protecting you from the elements. A detachable hood is a bonus. I am still on the lookout for a great waterproof one, I usually take a puffy jacket then a waterproof thin poncho jacket to put over the top.
Alas, my four pound Primark ‘packed in a bag’ poncho was in my stolen backpack last year. Sad Face. I think I’ll buy a parka though for my next travel jacket to eliminate the need for 2 jackets.
Here are some options I like:
I’m not a backpack sort of girl. Or a money belt (though my recent lost passport experience may change that). I get that the everyday travel bag is a totally personal decision – whether you like a tiny clutch, a bumbag (‘fanny pack’), day backpack or tote.
I don’t like dressing like a backpacker or hardcore traveller, in Kathmandu jackets and cargos. I’m classier, more dressy, I guess you could describe my travelling style as ‘backpacker chic’. I still want to wear my regular clothes and not stand out too much.
So when it comes to the everyday travel bag, I want a nice big tote that I can haul everything in. Cameras, wallet, maps, books, journals, cardigan, snacks, sunscreen. I like having it tucked under my arm with the zipper end near my chest, never trusted backpacks in crowded train stations and airports.
I like the bag to be squashy, so it can be stuffed under seats and even used as a pillow if napping (on airport floors and the like). dark colours are preferable, and a hardy texture.
Of course there are times when you need something to go on your back (like when hiking) so your arms are free, or a tiny cross body purse (like when out at night).
Oh no does this mean I have to take 3 handbags away with me? Still working on this packing skill obviously.
Here are some of the types I like:
The humble leggings are still on a ten year revival high. Once only designated for the gym, stretchy pants have become mainstream with a range of clothes for work, rest, travel and play. May I stress here that I am a PLATINUM level member of the group ‘Leggings ARE NOT pants’. No bum showing of leggings unless you are at the gym. Leggings go UNDER clothes, no one needs to see thin stretch fabric over a couple of cheeks. Especially travelling cheeks.
So you need some good quality thick ones, comfy waist banned, plain black or another neutral colour, maybe with some detail around the ankle, either full length or 3/4.
When travelling pair with a long jumper or tunic, an oversized t-shirt (remember – cheeks covered), A long coat and boots for winter destinations, a summer dress and flip flops. They are great to carry in your day pack for when the weather can get cooler quite quickly.
They are perfect for curling up on planes, trains, boats and tuk tuks, great for squatting toilets (no pants touching the floor here) and if you do get extra energetic whilst travelling you can always wear them for hiking, jogging, exercising. Unless you subscribe to my school of thought – holidays are not for aerobic activity, sightseeing and eating my only exercise! Except for that hideous of photo of me below halfway up a hike of Mt Kinabalu in Borneo. Definitely needed leggings. And had total no shame and just wore them with a singlet. Sweating and inclining for 9 hours does that to a girl.
Here are some of my favourite leggings and where and how I have worn them whilst travelling.
Halong Bay Caves, Vietnam
Hiking Mt Kinabalu, Borneo
Sightseeing in Wellington, New Zealand
Overnight train in Hungary
Scarf, wrap, pashmina… call it what you will, just make sure you pack one in your hand luggage. A large, wide cotton one is best, I have a few which have seen a lot of sights and saved me a lot of times. Here are some of my faves…
Since European backpackers now cannot allow sleeping bags they provide bed linen. Though at under ten pounds a night bed linen could mean a dirty handkerchief sized pillow and one sheet. Hello wrap – instant bottom sheet or pillow cover. And yes I realise you get what you pay for.
Chilly planes and air conditioning means you can wrap your wrap (he he) around what ever part of your body is cold, even your feet or drape it over your head to block out light, or scrunch it up to lean on when you’re trying to nap in transit.
If you somehow leave your towel on an island in a lake in an island, or it happens to blow overboard your yacht (who me? lose stuff?) A cotton wrap can work as a light towel in hot weather until you get a chance to buy a replacement.
Balmy weather calls for sarongs, but a good cotton wrap can be draped around the waist for trips to the beach or pool.
If sightseeing in the heat and visiting mosques and churches, a wrap can be draped over the shoulder or even head (I’m looking at you Turkey) to make your outfit more respectful and appropriate.
Can’t fit it in your hand luggage? (who me? over pack?) simply tie it around the straps of a handbag or luggage bag like you’re jet setting in from Paris.