Sweatpants, sweats, tracksuit pants, yoga pants, trackies, no matter what you call them they can be a very handy item to pack for travel. Never been a big fan of the tracksuit / workout look myself, until I bought the H&M blue pair featured above. So soft. Loose around the top but tight around the calf, almost a blend of sweatpants and leggings. But they allow you to expose your bottom. Because of course I still subscribe to the thought, leggings are NOT pants. But trackies? Awesome pants.
I think the key is with wearing these while travelling (unless working out while travelling) is to dress them up slightly in a sports luxe kind of way so you don’t look like your traipsing around Europe en route to a swim team meet up.
Sneakers can work, especially casual numbers like converse, or flats. Adventurous types even pair their sweat pants with heels, but heels aren’t always appropriate for travel.
Worn with a cotton stretch blazer or denim jacket over a striped tank or tee, or a shirt or chambray, keeps it casual but not a gym wear outfit.
I tend to prefer leggings over tracksuit pants, as they can be dressed up a lot more. But fleecy or thicker pants are warmer than leggings so they can be more useful especially if travelling in colder climates. Plus it eliminates legging-pants-butt-action.
Call it what you will, shrug, bolero, cropped cardigan. Casual cotton or knit, or fancy with lace and sequins, the humble shrug is the perfect clothing item to pack for travel.
Long sleeved or short sleeved, the shrug can change an outfit instantly, freshening up your look when you feel you have been in the same dang outfit for 3 days (Hello, Contiki 2005). Great for mixing it up day to night. A fancier shrug can dress up jeans and a tank top, a cream lacy shrug and some neutral flats and you can head out for the night not feeling like a dirty backpacker (or less of one).
They are also great for those destinations where you will probably live in singlets and sleeveless tops but may need something to warm you up on a cooler day or if the nightly temperature drops. A shrug keeps the shoulders and back warm but won’t overheat you. Great for air conditioned places too.
A pair of sisters I know packed 4 different shrugs each (well they do take up less room than the average cardigan or jacket!) for a 4 week Europe trip, then borrowed each others to mix and match with the rest of their tops and dresses. Literally created a tonne of outfit choices. Genius!
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
Overnight train in Hungary
Sightseeing in Wellington, New Zealand