Home :: Women's Travel Clothing :: Updated 23 January 2016
Women's travel clothing is an investment. You'd like to use what you buy on many trips to come - at least that's the idea.
So which items will give you the best value for money and how do you choose from the millions of items? What exactly should you look for when buying travel clothes?
These 17 questions will guide you in your choice: the more ticks in the box, the greater the chance you'll still be happy with an item half a dozen trips from now.
1. How comfortable is it?
You don't want your skin chafing from tight waistbands in the heat or trousers so tight you can't breathe when you walk.
2. How much does it weigh?
These days, allowances are going down and we have to pack as light as possible if we want to avoid excess charges (and lugging around more weight than makes sense).
3. How quickly does it dry?
Traveling light means having enough clothes for every occasion without taking everything you own. Especially important in the drying fast category are your travel underwear and travel bras.
4. How easily does it wrinkle?
Natural linen is beautiful but it isn't convenient for easy travel (unless you're staying in a luxury hotel with pressing services). You're better off with mixed fibers that are part natural part synthetic. Not only will these wrinkle less but they'll often dry faster.
5. How sturdy is it?
If you plan to wash something by hand often, it had better be sturdy and well made. Otherwise it might fall apart at the first rinse. This is where paying a bit more pays off. Also, some materials are more resistant than others to stains and dirt. Wear a natural fiber in black or white and you'll see what I mean. Will this item 'hide' a full day's wear easily?
6. How versatile and flexible is it?
To travel light you'll want something that can do double duty. A cheerful travel pouch can be both decorative and practical. A sarong can be used as a beach spread, a sheet over your hammock, or as a scarf.
7. Will the color hold?
It shouldn't run at first wash or look dull almost immediately. You want something that will look as new at the end of your trip as it does at the beginning.
8. Is it sprayable?
This is only something you have to worry about if you're heading where there are mosquitoes or other stinging beasts. If you are, make sure your clothes are sprayable with repellent and don't disintegrate in your hands at the harsh chemical treatment. Or - buy mosquito repellent clothing.
10. How appropriate is this item of clothing?
If you're planning to spend most of the time on your feet, leave those slim heels at home and consider a good pair of women's walking shoes, hiking sandals or hiking boots.
11. How culturally suitable is it?
If you plan on visiting plenty of churches or mosques, you won't need too many shorts or deep necklines. Make sure what you take 'fits in' with local mores. This doesn't mean you should dress like a local - there's a time and a place for that.
13. Is it resistant to UV rays?
Prepare beforehand for any long stay in the sun and if you're sensitive, take UV-resistant tops and trousers with you (and a good pair of sunglasses).
14. Is it water-repellent?
If you're traveling during the rainy season this is worth a thought. You're not going to wear raingear everywhere but if your jacket repels water as well as keeps out the wind, it'll do double duty and be more practical.
15. How much does it cost?
This isn't about getting the cheapest item, but the best item for the price you are paying. You want value above all, something that answers most of the questions above at a reasonable price.
16. How compatible is it with the rest of your travel wardrobe?
Mixing and matching will help you travel light with what will seem like an endless wardrobe. Try to stick to a specific palette of colors and use prints and unusual colors as accents or accessories.
17. Does it look good?
No matter how resistant, practical, comfortable and cheap - if it looks like you're wearing a sack you won't wear it at all, so this may be last on the list - but it's a question that should be answered with a resounding YES!
Your best bet is to go for quality, even if it is a little more expensive. There's nothing like good seams, strong stitching and fine finishing when it comes to making clothes last and look good, no matter how long you're on the road.