For many ladies, packing clothes for a trip can be a daunting task. We want to look good in our clothes, we want to match, and we don’t want all our outfits to look like they’ve just come out of… well… a suitcase!
Which is why it’s so important to acquire some go-to items that will travel with you anywhere. Think layers, lightweight, synthetic, mix-and-match, fast drying, and non-wrinkling. And don’t forget a couple pairs of great shoes.
Below are 7 Types of Women’s Travel Clothes that all serious female explorers need in order to look (and pack) their best on the road.
To start, you can’t beat a lightweight, packable down jacket for traveling to cooler climates. Many are fairly inexpensive, comfortable, and remarkably warm.
Look for something like this 32 Degrees Heat Ladies’ Packable Jacket, which gets great reviews and comes in a variety of colors.
So does this hooded one from Wantdo.
A great vest is a must-have item for layering, no matter where you go. This lightweight, quilted, women’s vest from The North Face is a good choice, and it comes in many colors.
If you’re traveling somewhere wet (or just cool and windy), get yourself a waterproof rain jacket that can double as a windbreaker like the Charles River Apparel New Englander.
2. Synthetic Blouses
If you’re fairly fanatical about protecting your skin from hours in the sun, take along loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts like the peasant blouse and camisole combo above. Shirts like these pack very small without wrinkling. They’re breathable on a warm day, while providing cover from both the sun and pesky insects. They’re also super easy to wash out in a sink, and they dry in no time.
Start your collection of flowy travel blouses with this one from Star Vixen…
3. Warm Cover-ups
A synthetic shirt may be great for warm days, but for cool nights, something heavier is in order. Always pack a lightweight sweater or hoodie. If it takes up too much room in your suitcase, and you can’t live without it, just wear it on the plane!
For light duty coverage, go with something like this Zip-up Hoodie from Doublju that comes in 35 different colors.
If you don’t care about thickness and are just looking for softness and warmth, you can pick up a basic hoodie like this one by Calvin Klein.
If you want something that also comes with a lot of interior pockets, the SCOTTeVEST Chloe Hoodie can’t be beat for security.
If it’s a little more elegance you desire, pack something pretty and basic like the BILY Women’s Classic Open Front Cropped Cardigan.
4. Comfortable Bottoms
We’re talking pants, shorts, skirts, skorts, and capris here. If you want to pack both pants and shorts, go for it. If you want less bulk, this is where zip-off pants become your friend. If you need a skirt for evenings, great. Just keep the colors neutral and pick fabrics that can be washed on the go.
Columbia Sportswear makes a fantastic pair of traveling pants called the Women’s Anytime Outdoor Bootcut Pants which are lightweight, stylish, water-repellent, and just as perfect for airports as they are for hiking. They also come in neutral mix-and-match black, grey, and khaki.
For a convertible pant, Prana makes these zip-offs that can also be rolled up.
Another combo item to try is a skort, like this West Loop Trail skort from White Sierra.
For more choices, whether they be pedal-pushers or yoga pants, read this post about the 5 Best Travel Pants for Women.
5. Sturdy Shoes
When it comes to shoes, this is one area where women have a hard time choosing just two or three pairs for a trip. When packing, think about shoe categories rather than trying to match eight separate outfits with sixteen different shoes! This is where it’s so important to have a neutral travel wardrobe, or at the very least, a single color scheme.
Category #1: Sandals
If you’re traveling somewhere warm and wet, you’re going to want shoes that can get rained on, such as the KEEN Whisper Sandals for women (pictured above). They’re very comfortable, with or without socks. They can get wet, they dry fast, and they protect your toes whether hiking, wading, or city sightseeing.
Category #2: Walking Shoes
This is a given. If you’re going to be walking all day, invest in a decent pair of sneakers. Some people like tennis shoes, others hiking boots. Whatever your preference, your choices are pretty much limitless.
Skechers makes some of the best low-profile shoes for all-day walking (like this GoWalk 4 and the discontinued GoWalk Baby pictured above left). Many of their styles come in wide widths, and even more of them have ultra cushy Memory Foam interiors. (The shoes on the right are Miss Me Mary Janes, which are a good choice for city sightseeing.)
Category #3: The Wildcard Shoes
Even if you’re trying to pack as light as possible, sometimes it is nice to carry a third pair of shoes. This is where your personal preference comes in.
Maybe you want something a little dressier that can be worn with a skirt, like these Hush Puppies ballet flats…
or even a super-casual flip flop like the Teva Women’s Mush II.
Pick what you need for your own traveling circumstances. Just make sure your Category #3 shoes match everything and don’t compromise your precious luggage space.
6. Pretty Scarves
To round out your traveling wardrobe, many women swear by a pashmina or scarf to spice up an otherwise bland outfit.
This elegant Double Layered Reversible Shawl comes in 25 colors…
while something like this Marvel O Bug plaid shawl is more casual and can double as a small blanket.
7. Stylish Hats
Before you shut the suitcase, remember that a good sun hat or beanie is an absolute necessity if you’ll be spending a lot of time outside (which you probably will be). Click here to read about our recommended packable traveling hats for both women and men.
Ethics statement: Several of the items on this page are clothing and shoes that we actually own and use. We try to recommend items that are manufactured by reputable brands and/or get excellent customer reviews.