Travel Tip Tuesday

Travel Tip Tuesday: Travelling Comfortably

One of the most common anecdotes I hear about crazy travel outfits involves flight attendants asking Lady Gaga to change her clothes to avoid deep vein thrombosis. It’s a modern cautionary tale- something of a pop culture travel fable, but it serves its purpose. It reminds the average traveller the necessity of comfortable (and reasonable) clothing for days en route. There are a number of different factors to consider with every type of travel, of course, and these tips should give you some idea.

Car Travel

Most people don’t spend much time considering what they’ll wear in the car. Most of us drive in our daily lives, so it seems silly to worry about any special outfits. However, there is a big difference between even an hour-long traffic-laden commute and a 3+ hour drive. There are a number of things to consider: restrictions, temperatures, and even your car seats.

To explain, a long drive starts getting especially tedious when you’re trapped in an unreasonably restrictive jacket. I don’t actually wear my coat in the car during winter if I’m going to be on the road for more than half an hour. In addition, your car may create unusual temperature fluctuations. The sun can keep things nice and toasty, even in winter, and the last thing most people want to do is blow gas by having to switch between the heater and the A/C. Speaking of heat, though, there’s nothing worse than your legs sticking to leather seats- especially in the middle of the summer. Between that, and the torn up nature of my leather seats, I never wear shorts anymore on long journeys, either.

Plane Travel

Planes are kind of their own animal, especially when compared to cars. You have to not only account for comfort during travel on the plane itself, but also comfort during layovers, ease of passing through security, limited personal space, and (potentially) societal norms of different countries.

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Given the wide fluctuations of temperature out of your control on a communal form of transport such as an airplane, you’ll want to dress in layers- but ones that are easily removed or repurposed. I’m sure your row-mate won’t appreciate being elbowed in the face when you try to remove a sweater. Easily replaced shoes are a bonus for gliding through security, but may people would suggest always wearing socks so as not to stand on airport floors barefoot. In regards to societal norms in countries you may be travelling through, you’ll have to do a little research to be positive on all o f them. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to expect that modest dress (long pants for men and often skirts for women) will do well.

Other Travel

Many other forms of travel exist, and the tips from car and plane travel can certainly apply. For example, a bus has the same limited personal space of a plane without the need to make it through a TSA checkpoint. Trains and boats seem to make fewer problems of any other form- though I would specifically suggest non-slip shoes, sea-sickness medicine, and sunscreen should you plan boat travel.

Accounting for Weather

When you travel over a large distance, many times you can enter different weather systems  (or even climates). For example, I’ve gone from snow to a Spring-like sunny day in one trip (and that was just across Missouri). If you don’t prepare yourself for such a change, you might find yourself miserable without a warm coat or overly warm in long sleeves. Problems are simply avoided by checking the forecast for your final destination, and perhaps for any major stops along the way. You can also use the adaptive tip of always having layers available. It’s better to have something and not use it than to need something and not have it, after all. Be prepared, right?

My Go-To Travel Accessories

Over the years, I’ve created a system to always be prepared when travelling. Specifically, I have a few flexible items which make my life easier by being unobtrusive and highly useful.

Slip-on shoes My sandals are a literal time saver. They’re a pair of Sketchers biking sandals I’ve had in perpetuity since high school (a different pair, but the same style).

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I’m especially fond of them because they’re not ungainly with socks, are easy to slip on and off, and are wonderful for hiking and rock climbing. As such, I don’t have to pack large hiking boots, either, and so my suitcase is lighter and has a lot more room available.

“Travel” dress I have a green cotton dress, it’s long and it’s about the most comfortable thing I own. It’s lightweight enough to be perfect in the summer and it doesn’t hold wrinkles even if it’s wadded up and thrown in a bag. It also doesn’t look half bad if I show up at a restaurant wearing it, very much unlike pajamas. It’s especially handy for changing into after Renaissance Festivals, and it keeps my legs from sticking to my leather seats.

Sarong I literally refuse to travel without a sarong (which is effectively a large, rectangular scarf). They’re so useful I probably will miss something here. It can be used as a blanket, a scarf, a swimsuit cover up, a pillow, a shawl, a ground cover, a dress, a light towel, and a cover (I often use it to cover mirrors when I sleep, but it can cover your head while you sleep). It’s also particularly useful if you’re travelling in a country where women are expected to keep their heads covered. I’ve also folded it in a way to use it as a bag. They’re the best, and they’re often inexpensive and take up next to no room in your bag. If you’re flying and have it wrapped around you, it’s considered part of your outfit so you don’t even have to waste the little space it takes up in your carry-on.

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