Last year I wrote a short post on travel bags. Now, since I’m up in the air somewhere above California, I thought I’d write down a few more…this time about clothes….
First of all, by far the most important part of travel clothing is the hoodie…I never travel without one…it has some many purposes as to be essential for any trips, but particularly for long ones (12+ hours).
There are some choice qualities that make a good quality hoodie:
- not too heavy
- a good hood that you can easily pull down over your eyes
- zip pockets
- a little baggy
I like these features for the following reasons…first…one of the worst aspects of any journey happens at the beginning – security. It is such a pain. All that standing around, carrying your bags, waiting, waiting…then the inevitable unpacking of this and that into bins, squishing things into your bag etc etc… I found all this is made very much easier in large part by having a hoodie with zip pockets. When you are waiting in line and then you realise your pocket has change from the coffee you got on the way, and of course there is your passport, and your phone, plus maybe a boarding pass, and keys… whatever…. the flotsam and jetsam of travel detritus. While you are standing in line you can very easily just dump all this stuff into your hoodie zip pockets and zip them shut. Done and done… it sounds really stupid, I know, but it really takes a load of this part of the journey. You then just need to take off your hoodie and dump it in a tray.
Also, the good news is that you can easily find and retrieve your passport and ticket if you are asked again at the conveyer belt or scanner because you just unzip the pockets… awesome…
I also prefer a hoodie that is not too thick or hot. I can wear it in hot or cold, although mostly I want it for the plane which is often too cold. And if it is a little baggy it can feel almost like a blanket when I sleep. It is cosier to have a slightly baggier one in this situation.
Lastly, I can pull the hoodie over my eyes and block out the light which helps me sleep. It also helps me block out the world if I have been traveling a lot and just want some space.
Next, as far as clothes go… I always try and take a very lightweight pair of shoes I can slip on and off easily… mainly also for the security part. You can rocket through security of you can easily tug on your shoes as you go. On that note – try to avoid trousers that need a belt. That also is just a hassle when you have to take on and off for the scanner.
As for other clothes, I take as minimal as possible. I usually take the same stuff, doesn’t matter if it’s for 4 days or 3 months. My general principle is that you can use clothing stores as washing machines if you have to. Run out of clothes? Drop into the nearest store and buy some more…of course, that won’t appeal to everyone…but I’m a t-shirt and jeans kinda guy, so it works pretty well for me. It also makes a lot of sense to do this if you are traversing seasons… sometimes I can change seasons several times in one trip. So, rather than pack everything in at the beginning for each season, I sometimes just buy it when I get there. Sounds risky perhaps, but it has never caused me issues and helps me travel light.
Also, I always carry clothes washing liquid in case I have to hand wash things in hotel or airbnb wash basins…which is, by the way, a good argument for choosing airbnb-like accommodation over hotels – you generally have a washing machine handy.
As for what I actually take, I just fit in about a week’s worth of stuff. Roll it and cram it into my bag. It will usually come up to about 2/3 full which is just what I want. I can then fit stuff in as I buy it on the road…