How To Not Look Like A Backpacker (While Living Out of a Backpack)

Atlanta

I love fashion and getting dressed up, but it can be very difficult to do while traveling (especially while backpacking.) Sometimes it can be very difficult to combine the two- as backpacking is all about functionality and what can take up as small of a space as possible. I don’t really like ‘travel clothes’ unless I am going on an extended hike or something. There is really no need for multipurpose cargo pants or obvious money belts that go outside your clothes. If you wouldn’t wear it at home, why would you pick it out for your travels?

I like to wear comfortable, multipurpose items that I can also feel somewhat presentable in.

Tips and Tricks

1. My number one tip is to bring clothes you love. Obviously this doesn’t mean to bring the most expensive things in your closet, but bring clothes that you feel good in and fit you well. Bring clothes you would wear at home and try not to pack things that you haven’t worn before or are unsure about. (Trust me, they won’t get worn.)

2. Hit up the markets! I can’t tell you how many beautiful things I have bought from markets abroad. Markets are especially great for accessories like jewelry, scarfs, or headbands.

3. Deal with your hair before you leave. I like to tell my stylist where I’m going beforehand and have them cut and color it in a way that is low maintenance and dries well naturally.

4. Pack mostly basics, with a few statement pieces. I like to pack basic tops and tanks that can be mixed and matched. I’ll also pack a few things that are fun- like a bold colored pair of shorts.

5. Layers! Especially if you are not going to a tropical destination, layers are important. Consider your destination before you pack and make sure you are prepared for the weather.

Key Items

Scarf- I love packing a lightweight, colorful scarf as they are incredibly multipurpose. I bring it in my carry on to keep warm on the airplane, use it dress up a plain outfit, and it can be used as a wrap in temples or places where modesty is important.

LBD- Yes, I pack a little black dress. Not a super fancy one, and one that can be worn with sandals. This is especially useful in cities where you want to go out clubbing or to a nice restaurant and don’t want to rock your dusty, knock-off Havaianas and shirt that you have slept in for 3 nights.

Sarong- These are  so useful! You can use it as towel, a beach cover up, a dress…the list goes on. I personally love Indie & Harper’s sarongs and have been coveting this little number for a while. Of course, there are much, much cheaper options and you can find them at any beach stall while traveling.

Fun Jewelry- I never bring anything too expensive traveling, but I do like to wear a lot of bracelets and funky stuff that I might not wear at home. I love buying local jewelry as well. Headbands are also great while traveling, as I don’t typically wear them at home and think it’s a cute way to keep your hair from going crazy in the humidity.

Basic, Well Fitting Tops- I like to bring basic colored tanks and t-shirts that I can mix and match. I don’t like to spend too much money on these. Forever 21 and H&M sell things like this. I will also usually go to a local thrift store or Buffalo Exchange to go shopping beforehand.

Makeup- I do wear makeup traveling. I like putting on a few things like BB cream with SPF, lip balm & mascara for the daytime, and bringing an eye shadow palette and liner for the night. I pack coconut oil as well. It’s truly all-purpose. I will use it for hair treatments, makeup remover, and a lotion. Coconut oil also has an SPF of around 6. I also bring a couple of bottles nail polish in fun, bright colors.

Shoes- I typically bring one pair of converse (I love the white ones), a pair of running or hiking shoes, a pair of strappy sandals, and purchase a pair of flip flips on the road. I do love Converse though, and think that they can be worn with shorts or dresses.

Dresses- I love dresses as they can work in any climate. If you’re not traveling somewhere warm, you can pair a sundress with tights and a sweater.

Sunglasses- A good pair of sunglasses and can make any outfit. I usually pack a good pair of quality sunglasses with me, as the ones that can you buy at the markets are cheaply made and break easily. I love Quay for sunglasses.

What are some of your packing essentials for the road?

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9 thoughts

  1. I have to take plimsolls with me wherever I go. I can’t wear flip flops as they rub in between my toes! I also need collared shirts instead of T-shirts (personal preference) – and let’s not forget sunglasses!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah BB creams are alsomy go-to, as well as a volumous mascara. I’d day my must-haves include flip-flops and a warm jacket – I get cold quite easily and communal showers aren’t always the cleanest!

    Julia X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I ALWAYS pack a black maxi dress for every trip I take, whether it’s a short weekend staycation or an international trip. They’re so versatile and the two I own from J.Crew are well-made and don’t wrinkle, making them the ultimate double (or triple) duty clothing item to pack.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a very versatile skirt that can be worn multiple ways from casual to dressy and a simple skirt that is reversible and looks good over leggings or as a skirt on its own. I like a pair of cotton boxers which can be worn as pajamas. a pair of shorts on the beach or under a skirt in hot climes if you get the dreaded sweat induced thigh chaffing! And I like to have at least one simple light long sleeved shirt, usually white if I find myself in a place that I need to be covered from a respect point of view like a temple or a church.

    Liked by 1 person

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