How to stay fashionable while travelling

Last modified on May 28th, 2015 at 3:41 pm

September 05, 2011

by ohchristopher

Living out of a backpack is not an ideal why to look and feel stylish. Keeping your clothes neat, your make- up organised and your hair products under wraps is no easy task. Packing the right clothes to begin with can enable you travel light and still look great.

Before you leave invest in staples pieces that can be layered, that way you can get a variety of different looks from the same clothes. The trick is to choose clothes that complement their colour scheme, although don’t stick to purely neutrals you will end up looking washed out and bland in all your photos! The key here is to mix and match your pieces to create new looks everyday instead of a band new outfit every day. One way to ensure your look isn’t bland is to bring a few brightly coloured accessories to bring out the neutral colours of your clothes. It makes it look like a whole new outfit. You can easily get some great accessories in markets, shops and souks so you would be adding a bit of culture to your summer wardrobe! Try not to bring any expensive jewellery with you, as I have lost count of the times I have lost things whilst travelling. All the moving packing and unpacking things are bound to get misplaced!

To give you more of an idea of what exact items to pack, I have created a top 8 list of staple clothing items.

1. Tank Top and tees

Tank tops and tees are the easiest way to change an outfit and can easily be ‘thrown on’. It is a great piece for the layered look I spoke about previously. Keep in plain colours to get more wear out of them.

2. Cardigan

As you will no doubt be in a variety of weather and social situations it is crucial to have a light cardigan at hand for those chilly evenings. If you are in a place where you have to cover your skin then a cardigan is a perfect choice. You will look tres chic!

3. Dresses

These are the best way for a travelling fashionista to look glamorous with little or no effort. They can be worn up or down simply save time when trying to think up a new chic way to look good! Pack an ‘all occasion’ dress, styles that fit this are: bandeau, halter neck swing and a maxi. Floral is a good choice as well as black and block colours. Remember that dresses can be jazzed up with accessories!

4. Slim fit/skinny jeans

The key here is the cut. If like me you aren’t graced with legs up to the heavens then slim fit would work best. The beauty of jeans is like dresses they can be worn up or down.

5. Shorts

Thigh skimming and slung low on the hips for hot climates. For city adventures then city shorts (skinny fit, fall just above the knee) are perfect as they can be great pieces to take you from day to night.

6. Swimsuit

It will be more than likely that you will encounter a beach, cove, spa, sauna, rock pool or evening a hostel pool so come prepared with a swimsuit. They can be easily stuffed in your luggage and can sometimes be a life saver when trying to catch a tan!

7. Essential Shoes

For those times when you want a civilised night out, a killer pair of heels is a must! After all isn’t travelling supposed to be fun? In my experience neutral (if you aren’t wearing a neutral outfit) or black heels are the most versatile. Flip flops are inexpensive and are an easy shoe to slip on every day, worn on the beach, spent walking in city streets these can prove to be a life saver! Although not strictly fashion, but a great pair of trainers will prove invaluable if you plan on seeing natural habitats, such as mountains, hilly grass pastures. You get the idea!

8. Key accessories

The 3 key accessories you can’t leave without are: Some fabulous sunglasses, a chic hobo bag to stuff all your belongings in (extra points for leather) and finally a versatile belt to add some zing to your traveller wardrobe!

So I hope this heavily edited list helps when making your shopping decisions and packing for your fashionable adventures. Enjoy and don’t forget to pout!

12 Comments. Leave new

I discovered some great “traveller” suits and shirts – pure wool & cotton respectively – created with high-twist yarns. I travelled the USA for 5 weeks last year with them in my backpack. When I needed to be well dressed,hanging them out for a half day was enough to get rid of most of the creases – and because it was winter I often disguised them with a coat as well.
It’s not that hard to be a well dressed backpacker – you just need to care what you look like, and do a little bit of smart planning!

Yeah, the most importaint thing to do while backpacking is, to look good for the pictures and not look the same on each one. Especially while on a beach in the middle of summer, where you might need some swimsuit, so you need to pack it in.
Come on!!!
Backpacking and high heels don’t mix!!!

Actually heels and backpacking can and do mix…..for me anyways! You just tie them outside your backpack and when you want to dress up viola you have shoes! Maybe because I have been travelling for 18 months now, but my heels make me feel feminine!

Straight leg jeans, a great belt, v-neck t-shirts and button up white shirt kept me looking great through Europe.

I rolled the legs of the jeans up when it got hot and – voila! – instant capris. The shirt I wore unbuttoned over the T as a light jacket, or knotted at the waist and buttoned up on its own. And a great belt – ’nuff said!

For shoes I swapped between some great Reva sandals that have a solid grip sole on them, and some brown leather hiking boots. And yes, I did a brown leather hobo – fits everything, looks terrific.


Thanks for leaving these great tips. It’s not easy staying fashionable while travelling but looks like you’ve got it in the bag!

– Steve

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Great tips, can I add that if you don’t wear heels you could pack a nice pair of flats or sandals for nights out

loved the article, great tips. too many people don’t give a hoot what they look like when travelling, which is ridiculous considering the amount of new people you meet along the way.

I find that one of the most useful items to have with you is a big and beautifully coloured scarf! It. can be worn in a multitude of ways since you can wrap it around your body as a dress, a skirt or a top. Safety pins are the Key. ;-)
Also you can use it as a shawl to turn your everyday dress into a chic evening Outfit or cover up in the cool as well as various religious places you might be visiting.
It also works to protect your head from the sun, as a pillow or beachtowel or even tied together as a make-do bag if you suddenly find yourself in the need of transporting more than planned. It is a beautiful Way to incorporate some of the local fabrics into your wardrobe, even when you are back home. And last but not least you can wear it as a scarf!

For me a neat utility travel wallet is a must have. It helps to keep papers organized and in place – Thank god for my Ilex London leather purse – such a saviour!

I disagree.

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