Do you want to look chic and pulled together on your next trip? Of course you do! Here’s the secret – pack a trench coat. The Trench Coat, I could write a whole book about it and it is most definitely a Travelista Essential. You could throw it over any outfit and look pulled together and effortlessly chic. If you don’t want to concern yourself too much about your travel outfits just make sure you wear your trench and a scarf and you’ll be set.

A trench coat works wonderfully for Spring or Fall weather travel. A trench coat will also get you through the tricky transitional time in between seasons. Being smart with your travel layers helps you get the most out of your trench. In cooler weather layer your trench over long sleeves or a sweater. In warmer weather layer over tees, short sleeve tops, blouses and even sleeveless tops. Remember to wear your coat on travel days to minimize bulk in your suitcase and you will look oh so jet-setty going through the airport.

While the trench coat works in many travel situations it won’t work for all of them. For instance I wouldn’t pack it for rainy season travel (you will need truly waterproof outerwear) or in countries where the cultural climate requires a more casual style like some South Asian countries. However, it is perfect for travel to large or cosmopolitan cities and European travel.

The kind of trench you select is all based on your style. I’ve shown several different takes on the classic and you can select one based on your own taste and what works best with your travel needs and wardrobe. The beauty of this style is that you can find affordable versions of the trench at stores like Target or Old Navy and of course the price points go up from there to the luxury classic Burberry.

trav_spring_essentials_trench copy

Classic Camel Trench
When you think of a trench coat you think of this coat – double breasted, belted in a camel or khaki color. This versatile shape can be styled a multitude of ways. One style note is to never buckle the belt, tie it closed instead. Classic cotton trench coat

Modern Trench Coat
This season I’ve noticed retailers offering a softer more modern approach to the Trench Coat. The version shown above has a zippered closure instead of buttons for a more streamlined look yet the cut is somewhat drapey for a more casual feel. Modern Zip Trench.

Waterproof Trench Coat
If you’re traveling to a rainy destination a waterproof Trench Coat will keep you comfortable and dry. A hood offers a little extra rain protection as well. Keep an option like this in mind if you are traveling in multiple climates. Columbia Pardon My Trench Rain Jacket.

Dark Trench Coat
No need to stick to a light colored Trench coat, there are plenty of dark colors or even bright colors to choose from. A dark trench may be more practical since it’s less likely to show dirt. My camel trench has a few stubborn spots that I’ve been unable to remove because it’s gotten a lot of wear over the years. For travel I would stick to darker neutral tones like black, navy or olive. The Trench Coat shown above from Madewell features a synthetic blend of poly/viscose and spandex (as opposed to heavy cotton) so it’s easily packable. Madewell Travel Trench Coat.

Flowy Trench Coat
A soft and drapey silhouette for the Classic Trench appears to be becoming more popular. This version of the Trench definitely gives off that effortless vibe. Refer to my Pinterest Board on Trench Coats for ideas on how to style a flowy trench coat. Flowy trench.

Cropped Trench Coat
A modern take on the Trench the crop Trench is perfect for spring. This is an easy to throw on layer that’s best suited for wearing over pants or jeans. Short Cotton Rain Coat.

You can find trench coats just about everywhere right now. As I mentioned above Target and Old Navy have affordable versions. Other places to look are Gap, Banana Republic, H&M, Asos, Forever 21, Nordstrom, Macy’s, ShopBop and REI and for more technical versions of a trench coat. You can also check out your local consignment stores or ebay for some good deals.

Tomorrow I’ll offer tons of styling ideas for wearing your trench during travel, ok maybe not tons but 16 ways to style your trench. Please take a look at my Pinterest board for trench coat travel style inspiration.

I’m no fashion blogger type model by any means but here’s a photo of me and my trench coat in action in Barcelona. The trench served me well during a spring trip with temperatures in the 50’s in the morning and warming up slightly through the day.

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Cold Weather Travel Series : A series of posts about the particular challenges of traveling during cold weather and how to address them while still packing light and looking fabulous.

This recent bout of cold weather has inspired me to put together a cold weather travel packing capsule. The Travelista goal is always to pack light and look fabulous, which means a smart capsule wardrobe that fits in a carry-on bag or travel backpack. Packing for cold weather doesn’t have to mean big bulky layers which hog up suitcase space. Understanding the techniques and principles of functional layering you will learn how to keep warm without the bulk. Check out my Guide to Cold Weather Layering for a super long explanation of layering.


Weatherproof Outer Layer
Your outerwear provides you the most protection against the elements and is your most visible layer so consider making an investment in outer wear that you love and is suitable for your travel needs.

Your outer layer can be a classic or fashion forward coat or you can go the functional route with a lightweight technical jacket that can repel water and wind and insulate you against cold weather. The choice is up to you depending on your travel needs and destination. My feeling is that outerwear should be determined first by the weather of your destination and secondly the style of your destination.

Those traveling through multiple climates or long-term travelers may want to consider going the functional route, check out my guide to Cold Weather Layering for more detailed recommendations.

Shown above the LL Bean Classic Lambswool 3/4 coat provides plenty of warmth for cold weather, urban excursions in big cities where stylish dressing is the norm. If classic is not your thing, go for something edgier just make sure it will keep you warm. The disadvantage of wool coats is that they are bulky and will not protect you from all the elements. If you are only expecting cold weather and doing short term travel then a wool coat should suit your needs.

The Marmot Precip Jacket shown above provides breathable protection from rain and wind and can be layered over insulating, mid or even base layers. Another outdoor technical jacket (shown above) that also serves as great weatherproof outer layer or insulating layer is the Patagonia Nano Puff. Its ability to withstand getting wet combined with its lightweight compressibility make it a versatile option for those needing to pack light. The fit is also flatteringly cut close to the body while still allowing lightweight layers underneath. With technical outerwear stick with dark neutrals to downplay their sporty vibe. If you value function over fashion, a technical outer layer is the way to go. Travel backpackers and long term travelers will also benefit from the lightweight functionality of outdoor technical outerwear.

Insulating Layers
Insulating layers are your next level of protection against cold weather. Breathable materials like wool provide the most lightweight possible insulating layer. With proper layering you are layering light, thin knits over each other as opposed to bulky thick layers. In extreme cold weather you could add an additional insulating layer like the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket for further warmth. The J.Crew Relaxed Merino Sweater provides a versatile, lightweight merino wool layer that goes from day to night in a timeless style. For a casual, comfortable travel look the Athleta Merino Soma sweater can comfortably take you from the plane directly to casually chic sightseeing.

Mid and Base Layers
Your mid-layers as far as travel is concerned will be will be tees, tops, blouses or buttondowns that are layered over your base layers. If you’re trying to get the most effectiveness out of your layers it’s best to stay away from cotton materials and go with breathable synthetic materials instead. The air released from your mid layer is captured by your insulating layer. Shown above is a long sleeve H&M blouse that is 100% rayon which is breathable and can be part of a day to night travel outfit. A more casual top option is the Zara Striped Boat neck top. A dress like the Athleta Solitude Sweater Dress gives you a nice option if need to look a little more dressed up during travel, the merino wool material will provide a cozy warm layer. When planning mid-layers a casual and a dressed up option give you plenty of travel outfit combinations especially considering you are adding sweaters and coats to the mix.

The final and most hardest working layer will be your base layer. It will be your first layer and it’s job is to help regulate your body temperature by keeping your skin dry. The type of base layer I recommend is a lightweight wool base layer. Refer to my Guide to Cold Weather Layering for more on the different types of base layers. Shown above are the Icebreaker Siren Sweetheart Top and the Icebreaker Everyday Leggings.

Choose footwear that not only looks good but that can withstand winter elements like getting wet. Shoes like the Sorel Toronto Lace look great with jeans with a wedge heel that is comfortable yet can easily take you from day to night. They have the added benefit of being waterproof so you’ll be prepared for whatever the weather brings. The Merrel Captiva Boots shown above are waterproof and look great tucked into skinny jeans or worn with leggings and a dress. I really like a sneaker for travel and these simple Nikes provide a sporty chic option for cold weather outfits.

A simple black tote that can carry your daily necessities and an Ipad will serve your travel needs. The SmartWool Copper Basin Slouch hat made of merino wool will help you retain heat in cold weather. If you’re not wanting to give yourself hat head to keep warm, try some ear warmers like these. The Brixton Dakota Scarf and the Athleta Boucle Scarf add texture and warmth to your cold weather travel ensemble. In cold weather I like gloves that are tech compatible and these SmartWool Stella Ridge gloves fit the bill. Just as with your base layer, you want wicking materials for your socks and SmartWool socks keep your tootsies warm.

What’s your favorite way to stay warm and still look good?


Cold Weather Travel Series : A series of posts about the particular challenges of traveling during cold weather and how to address them while still packing light and looking fabulous. Tomorrow I will feature a Cold Weather Packing Capsule.

Winter weather can be harsh on your skin. Especially if you are traveling somewhere cold and your skin has yet to acclimate. Dry, chapped lips, windburned and dry skin are just a few of the issues you might be faced with. As a Rodan + Fields consultant I’ve discovered and used many products that can help keep your skin glowing despite the winter weather.


Healthy skin starts with exfoliating off dead skin cells making way for your moisturizer to better sink into your skin. Rodan and Fields Enhancements Micro-dermabrasion Paste gently exfoliates your skin and improves skin tone and texture (use 2 x 3 times a week). Depending on your length of travel, you can siphon off portions of the 4.2 oz container to suit your travel needs. The container can last awhile so your investment goes far. Your body along with your face needs exfoliation during winter weather to combat dry flaky skin. Rodan and Fields Body Enhancements Micro-Dermabrasion exfoliates, cleanses and conditions skin. For a deeper exfoliation treatment, perhaps before you leave on your trip, use the Rodan + Fields Redefine Macro-Exfoliator tool for smooth and luminous skin on your face, neck and chest.

The Rodan + Fields Essentials Daily Moisturizer rehydrates your body’s skin and helps repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier. During winter travel your normal moisturizer may not be enough, if that’s the case then you may want to add Rodan + Fields Soothe Moisture Replenishing Cream (1.7oz) to your facial skincare routine. The moisturizer will also help calm fragile, sensitive skin. If you’re expecting to visit someplace with harsh winter conditions you may want to pack the Rodan + Fields Soothe Sensitive Skin Treatment (1.7oz) that can help relieve dryness and calm irritation.

No matter the weather you should always wear sunscreen daily. Before I began using Rodan + Fields products I hadn’t integrated sunscreen into my daily skincare routine and my skin has suffered because of this. Commercial sunscreens may be too heavy and clog pores. Fortunately, Rodan + Fields has several sunscreens to choose from depending on your needs.

You can use the Rodan + Fields Essentials Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Body Sunscreen on any exposed areas other than your face. The Rodan + Fields Redefine Triple Defense Treatment Broad Spectrum SPF30 (1oz.) not only moisturizes but it reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection. It’s the last step in the Redefine Regimen but is a versatile product that can be used in your travel skincare routine. The Rodan + Fields Soothe Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30 (1.7oz.) is specially formulated without chemical sunscreens, fragrances, dyes or alcohol making it a good option for those with sensitive skin.

Eye Care
Don’t neglect your sensitive eye area during winter weather. Start by using Rodan + Fields Redefine Eye Cloths to remove eye makeup without tugging on your delicate eye area. While they remove eye makeup they are depositing peptides that reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and under eye puffiness. They can also be used to remove makeup from your face, making them dual purpose. The Rodan + Fields Multi-Function Eye Cream (0.5oz) moisturizes while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and puffiness.

Lip Care
The first place I start to feel the effects of winter weather is on my lips. With the right products you can get relief from painful chapped lips. Start by exfoliating your lips with the Rodan + Fields Enhancements Lip Micro-Dermabrasion (0.7oz.). This removes dead skin cells and makes way for the Rodan + Fields Redefine Lip Renewing Serum (the small capsules take up no room in your toiletry bag). Protect your lips further with the Rodan + Fields Lip Shield Broad Spectrum SPF25.

Hand Care
Winter weather along with constant hand washing to prevent winter weather germs can cause hands to get irritated and excessively dry. The Rodan + Fields Hand Treatment Regimen relieves dry hands and further protects hands with a SPF 30 hand balm.

As I stated I am a Rodan + Fields consultant and all links are affiliate links. If you’d like some more product recommendations take a skincare quiz using the Rodan + Fields Solution Tool. When you order items you can save 10% and get free shipping by becoming a Preferred Customer. You can also email me at for a personal skincare consultation and answers to any questions.


Cold Weather Travel Series : A series of posts about the particular challenges of traveling during cold weather and how to address them while still packing light and looking fabulous.

The principle behind functional layering is simple. Instead of relying on heavy bulky items you rely on several lightweight “layers” to keep you warm. Each layer releases air which is then trapped by the next layer until you get to your weatherproof outer layer. As the weather or your activity changes you can add or take away layers.

These layering guidelines are taken from backpackers and hikers but they can be applied to travelers as well. Understanding these principles will not only help you pack lighter but they will keep you comfortable even in cold weather. While traveling you can be exposed to a variety of weather conditions. Your trip doesn’t have to suffer if you are prepared for them.

When packing for cold weather it’s all about that base, layer that is. Your base layer will be your hardest working layer. Your base layer is worn close to the skin, almost like a second skin and it’s job is to wick away moisture away from your body. By drawing perspiration away from your body the base layer helps maintain and regulate your body temperature by keeping you dry.

The materials best suited for base layers are outdoor technical synthetics like Polypropylene and Capilene and merino wool based materials such as Icebreaker or Ibex brand. Both are very lightweight with synthetics being slightly lighter than wool. If you are traveling to an extremely cold destination your base layer should be a thick blend or what’s generally referred to as “heavy weight” or “expedition weight”. However, for more typically cold conditions, a silkweight, lightweight or midweight base layer will prove more versatile. Just stay away from cotton or cotton blend base layers because they will not wick away moisture, instead they will hold moisture in making you clammy and cold and they are bulkier than synthetics or wool.

The main differences between synthetic and wool base layers is price, weight and smell. Synthetic base layers are much more inexpensive than wool. However, after having done much traveling with synthetics one thing becomes very clear. No matter how much you wash it, you can’t get rid of the smells it absorbs. Wool, however is almost magical in its ability to resist odors. In fact when I purchased a wool base layer the salesman told me to hold off washing it as long as possible. This makes it an ideal option for long term travelers since you won’t have to do travel laundry as often. Additionally, an odor absorbing base layer will keep your mid layers cleaner and fresher smelling longer. Finely spun, technical wool base layers like Icebreaker are not itchy and most importantly are breathable. If packing weight is a factor, wool does weigh slightly more than synthetics.

When selecting base layers look to outdoor outfitters such as REI, Sierra Trading Post and Backcountry. Brands to look for are Patagonia Capilene for synthetic base layers and Icebreaker, Ibex and Smart Wool for wool base layers. You can often find many of these brands discounted if you google search enough. As a synthetic alternative, Lululemon produces moisture wicking technical tops that can be used as base layers and feature “anti-stink” technology. Shown below Patagonia Top Base Layer, Patagonia Bottom Base Layer, Icebreaker Siren Sweetheart Long Sleeve, Icebreaker Everyday Leggings. I also find the Ibex Long Sleeve Base Layer good for layering because of the scoop neck.


Your next layers in your layering system are mid and insulating layers. With a breathable base layer, your mid layer helps you retain heat. Once again lightweight is key because you don’t want to trap too much heat. For winter travel packing purposes this will be a long sleeve layer such as a blouse, button down or tee. Make sure the style you choose work well over your base layer. In cold conditions you will want an additional insulating layer such as a lightweight, thin knit merino wool sweater under your weatherproof outer layer (look for a high gauge knit such as 14/16 which means it is finely knit and lightweight). Shown above H&M Long Sleeve Black Blouse, Athleta Ambassador Top (made of synthetic materials, quick drying and lightweight), Athleta Moonbeam Top (sheer lightweight wool blend), Black J. Crew Merino Wool Tippi Sweater, Athleta Merino Soma Sweater.

Finally, your weatherproof outer layer will protect you from weather elements like rain and wind and be your final barrier of protection against the cold. A classic wool coat can get you through most travel situations. But keep in mind that you will have to wear it and keep track of it on your travel days and it offers no protection against rain. Styles for wool coats range from classic to trendy. Choose according to your style and the style of your destination. Classic styles like LL Bean feature thinsulate insulation for added warmth. J Crew, Zara, ASOS and H&M also offer options in a range of prices. I also like to check Ebay for good deals on coats. Shown above LL Bean Classic Lambswool Polo Coat, Three Quarter Length.

If you are in a multi-climate, long term travel situation or just want to pack ultra light a bulky coat isn’t feasible. In this case we look to outdoor technical outerwear to meet our needs. Technical outerwear also offers the best protection against cold, rain, snow and wind and can be lightweight and compressible. Even though technical jackets and coats were developed for outdoor activities they have become more mainstream and brands like North Face can be found worldwide. I consider brands like North Face and Patagonia (or Pata-Gucci as we call it in my house) practically luxury brands because of their high price. It’s up to you and your personal style and your travel needs and destination whether you should go with a fashionable or functional outerwear option.

If you go the technical functional route try and resist the urge to get the amazing bright colors some of the jackets come in. Instead, if possible, opt for dark neutral colors like black, navy, grey, olive or even a dark berry. Some technical coats are a hybrid of functionality and fashion and feature insulation, rain and wind resistance in a stylish looking coat. Shown above Merrel Haven Redux Jacket.

In non-extreme cold temperatures you could consider a water proof and wind proof shell paired with an insulating jacket. The shell on its own will not provide any additional warmth but it will help conserve the warmth you’ve built up in your layers by blocking out the wind. You boost the warmth of the shell by layering it over a lightweight insulated jacket. The wind proof shell paired with the insulated jacket gives you several outerwear options to deal with changing weather conditions. If the weather warms up you can remove the insulating layer or remove the outer shell layer. If you are in a multi-climate or long term travel situation, a shell paired with an insulating jacket layer provides you with several outerwear options. Shown above Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, Marmot PreCip Jacket.

Exteme cold weather calls for insulated outerwear. If you are traveling somewhere rainy or snowy you will also need your outerwear to be water resistant or water repellent. Once again you are faced with a natural and synthetic option when it comes to insulation. The differentiating factors are insulation effectiveness, cost, weight and moisture management. Natural goose down insulated coats cost more than synthetic but they provide more warmth than synthetics and at a lighter weight with better compression. However, if down gets wet it loses its insulating effectiveness and takes a long time to dry.

Some types of down are treated to be water repellent and can withstand getting slightly wet with a quicker drying time than pure down. Synthetics present an affordable option and the benefits of being able to withstand getting wet and drying quickly at a lower price than down. I own a Patagonia Nano Puff synthetic insulated jacket (Primaloft) and it got me through a half mile walk in a snowstorm after my car got stranded. With my base layers in place I wasn’t cold and the jacket never got soaked through. It dried in less than 15 minutes.

With both down and synthetics the more you move, the more body heat you produce and they capture the heat. So if you are not doing much physical activity but will be exposed to the cold, then down might be the way to go. If you will be briskly walking or engaging in light activity synthetics should keep you warm as well. As an example of how expensive down jackets can get the Canada Goose brand jackets are astronomical in price but they provide a high degree of warmth for extreme temperatures (like below zero cold). For most folks you will not need to go to that extreme. Other major brands to look for are Patagonia, North Face, Arc’teryx, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, Sierra Designs, Helly Hanson, Burton and Columbia. Look for good deals on these brands in the off-season. Shown above Patagonia Kai Lee Parka (synthetic), Canada Goose Victoria Down Jacket.

Additional cold weather accessories like gloves, hats and scarves will help you retain heat as well. In extreme cold weather make sure there’s plenty of functionality in your accessories like wind-proofing.

Excuse the long post but being warm when I travel is super important to me and I’ve researched it extensively. When you are packing light especially in cold weather every single item has to have a specific purpose and I wanted to extensively outline every layers purpose. Stay warm and travel happy!

How do you deal with cold weather travel?


When it comes to planning a travel wardrobe your shoes have the biggest impact on your trip. Uncomfortable shoes can doom a trip, especially one that relies on doing a lot of walking. Similarly, if you make the common mistake of packing too many shoes you will literally be weighed down by the excess and unnecessary weight.

A comfortable travel shoe that is also stylish takes a bit of hunting if you don’t already own a pair. I wish I could recommend a pair that would universally work for everyone but we all know everyone’s foot and foot needs differ. What I can do is recommend certain styles that pair easily with a travel wardrobe of basics. Within those styles you can find the pair that works best for you and your feet.

While I’ve had some success with regular shoes that aren’t “comfort” brands it really just takes some research and luck to find the pair that works best for you. Some comfort brands to look for when doing your search are: Dansko, Clarks, Naturalizer, Aerosoles, Mephisto, Birkenstock, Munro, Camper, Paul Green, Softwalk, Ecco, certain styles of Cole Haan, Born, J 41, Soffit, Softspots, Trotters, OTBT, Tsubo, Dr. Scholls’s, Kork Ease, Aquatalia, Taryn Rose, Miz Mooz, Naot, Farylrobin, Josef Seibel, Docs, Pikolinos, Rockport, Teva, Easy Spirit, Merrel, Chaco, Keen and Fly London.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a shoe:

  • Make sure there are no spots that rub uncomfortably.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day so that you can account for the slight swelling that occurs naturally in your feet.
  • If you are buying shoes that will require socks make sure and try them on with your travel pair.

If you live near a DSW or a Nordstrom Rack that’s a good place to start. They carry lots of the “comfort brands” as well as regular brands and you can take your time trying everything on to see what works. If you want a more customized experience visit a comfort shoe store or Nordstrom, both have been helpful in my search in the past. Online stores like Zappos have a friendly return policy so you can order and try on different brands as well.

The next shoe issue when traveling is taking too many pairs. Yes, I most definitely have been guilty of this myself. The problem stems from not properly planning your travel wardrobe which leaves us with the temptation to throw in an extra pair or two or three “just in case”.

If you have confidence in your travel wardrobe and know that you can mix and match and be appropriate for all your travel activities then you can resist the temptation to pack anything unnecessary.

A good pair of walking or sightseeing shoes will serve as the backbone of your shoe wardrobe. You bring a secondary pair to mix up your looks and maybe to relieve any foot stress that your original walking shoes may be causing you. You could stop there but consider the third pair you bring your “just in case pair” so you can bring a dressier pair of shoes or your favorite sandals and so on. So there you have it you are bringing three pairs of shoes. That’s right THREE pairs! These three pairs should cover most travel activities.


Are there exceptions? Of course, this is just a general guideline to strive for. For instance if your travel itinerary includes sightseeing mixed with adventure activities like hiking, etc. you will need to bring specialized footwear. If you are attending a wedding then obviously your comfortable walking shoes will be out of place and you will have to pack a dressy pair. For beach trips I also like to bring extra sandal and fit-flop options but luckily these take up minimal room and weight.

Use your judgement and if your goal is to pack light carefully consider your travel activities and corresponding footwear needs.

Do you need an extra pair of shoes for dining out? In my opinion, not particularly unless it is a five star affair. Short boots, tall boots, flats and sandals when combined with a smart travel wardrobe can take you from most day to evening activities.

What if? What if the queen invites me to dinner? What if I decide to splurge and actually get reservations to that five star restaurant? What if I decide to go to the Opera? If any of these above scenarios actually comes true well then that’s the time to hit the local shops and pick out that ball gown and shoes.

For you runners and wanna be runners out there (I fall into the latter category). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve packed my running shoes (as an extra fourth pair!)only not to even touch them during a trip. So be honest with yourself if you are debating bringing running shoes. Luckily, certain running shoes have become part of mainstream fashion so you could get away with bringing a pair AND incorporating them into your travel wardrobe.

Also keep in mind weather and cultural considerations. If you are going to a rainy destination consider how waterproof your shoes are or take steps to waterproof them. Bring thicker socks to wear with boots if you are traveling to cold weather spots. Keep in mind the culture of your travel destination. The shoes I would bring to France are entirely different than what I would take to Thailand.

Short Boots
Short boots or booties have become my new Fall and Spring travel wardrobe staple. They mix and match easily with skinny jeans or pants, dresses, skirts and even shorts (if you are daring). Adjust the thinness or thickness of the socks you wear with them depending on the weather. Most short boots can get you through warm spring weather and cooler pre-winter weather. They come in a variety of styles to suit your personal taste and budget. A dressier pair like the Black Sam Edelman Petty shown above can take you from day to night. Frye Phillip Bootie, Steve Madden Troopa. For travel outfit inspiration with short boots, check out my Pinterest Board.

Tall Boots
Tall boots are a no-brainer as far as winter and cold weather travel go. They keep your feet warm and look great with skinny jeans or pants or leggings. They can also be dressed up with skirts and dresses. Most are rugged enough to get you through rain and light snow situations. The only drawback to tall boots for travel is that they take up a lot of luggage room, so you might have to wear these during travel days. The Merrell Captiva Strap Boot has the added bonus of being waterproof. The Steve Madden Fairmont boot has the look of an expensive Frye boot but at a better price. Pinterest Board.

Flats are about as ubiquitous as it gets because they go with just about everything. They can pair with any cut of pant from bootcut to skinny, they are also a natural with dresses and skirts. Personally, I don’t find flats that comfortable and use them as a dressy third pair option. Cole Haan Manhattan Waterproof Ballet Flat. I’ve had luck with Merrell flats and I used a pair similar to the Merrell Avesso during travels through Thailand. The Naturalizer Maude flats have great reviews on Zappos. If you are ordering shoes online make sure and read the reviews first! Pinterest Board.

Sneakers used to be taboo in travel and a dead give away that you were a tourist. This is no longer the case, sneaker culture has taken over the world and you will no longer stand out if you were sneakers smartly. The key is that the rest of your outfit consist of classic or tailored pieces, wear sneakers as you would flats. Dark or neutral colored traditional gym sneakers are a good option like these Nike Free shoes in black and white (Nike Frees are also very lightweight!). It doesn’t get any more classic than old-school Chuck Taylors. I’m becoming a convert to the slip-on sneaker like the Steve Madden Eccentric and will be incorporating them into my travel wardrobe. I’ve got a Pinterest Board dedicated to travel outfits incorporating different styles of sneakers to give you inspiration.

A pair of stylish sandals can take you from day to night and are easy to pair with jeans and dresses. Many comfort brands have stylish options like Dansko and Birkenstock. Birks have made their way into mainstream fashion so you can be comfortable and in style with them. I like the versatility of the Gizeh style of Birkenstock in a metallic finish. The Bodhi by Dolce Vita is also a cute and comfortable sandal option. Pinterest Board.

Comfort and / or Functional Travel Shoes
If you have foot issues or just don’t want to risk blisters or sore feet you may have to choose a shoe solely based on comfort. For many years all I wore to Europe were Dansko Professional Clogs. Not the prettiest shoe but I rarely got any blisters and the rocker bottom on the sole of the shoe made it easy and comfortable to walk for miles and miles without thinking about my feet. The key to pulling off a less than pretty shoe is making sure it blends in with your travel outfits – Dark shoes blend in with dark pants and don’t stand out.

Some travel destinations will also determine your footwear options. For example if you are traveling to Thailand in the rainy season a water shoe like the Keen Whisper might be the way to go. Similarly, if you are participating in any high adventure activities like sea kayaking, long day hikes or thru hikes etc. you want to make sure you pack whatever specialized footwear you need for those activities. Pinterest Board.

What are your go-to travel shoes?


Holiday travel differs from vacation travel. Usually you’re going to visit friends or family and packing requirements change with this type of trip. As always check the temperature of your destination and as long as you have an idea of your trip activities packing doesn’t have to be difficult.

In my experience these trips are short 2-4 day trips. The most important thing to consider when packing is what activities you’ll be doing. Will you be a homebody visiting with family or will you be out and about visiting friends? Will you be doing shopping or sightseeing? I tried to come up with a general guideline for holiday packing to get you started on your packing list. Suit it to your needs and the climate of your destination.


1. Outerwear
Most places are cold this time of year so a good coat will be a necessity.

2. One Sweater Dress
I love the variety of Sweater Dresses available from Old Navy right now. Sweater dresses are versatile enough to wear for a Holiday meal with family without feeling overdressed yet you could also wear it out for drinks and dinner. I tried to highlight dresses that would work for several body types. Some sweater dresses can be bulky so be mindful of how much room you have available in your suitcase. I don’t mind packing these for a shorter trip because overall you are bringing fewer clothes. Dress 1, Dress 2, Dress 3, Dress 4.

3. One Sweater
A sweater is a another necessary layer during colder weather. I chose a longer length sweater so that it could also be paired with leggings. Try and stay away from overly bulky knits and let your coat do most of the work. There’s a great variety of sweaters out there, I found this sweater on the H&M website for only $24.95. H&M now offers online shopping which is great news!

4. One Long Sleeve Base Layer
Layering is key during travel in the colder months. The long sleeve tee I’ve shown is also an H&M find and is long enough to be paired with leggings as well.

5. One Button Down Shirt
I hate to jump on the flannel trend but they are quite practical for staying warm. Plus I associate them with coziness and the holidays. Once again I go with an H&M find for it’s longer length and traditional red plaid pattern. These flannel shirts though can be found at just about any major retailer right now due to their popularity.

6. One Blouse
I have to include a blouse for giving you an extra casually dressy option when paired with jeans. A simple black blouse, jeans, and flats is a classic look.

7. Jeans
Simple skinny jeans are the workhorse of any travel wardrobe. If you are wearing tall boots then you’ll need to wear skinny jeans.

8. Leggings
I chose leggings for this capsule wardrobe to conserve space but you could also substitute this option with black ponte pants like these from the Gap or another pair of jeans.

9. Winter Accessories
Pack whatever winter accessories are necessary for the climate you’re visiting. I showed a chunky scarf, but if you need more winter warmth don’t forget a hat and gloves.

10. Weekender Bag
A small weekender bag should hold all your clothes for a small trip and make you look like a packing pro.

11. One pair of flats
This fun pair of flats should add a little bit of holiday sparkle to your travel outfits. However, if your travel plans include lots of walking you might want to substitute a more walking friendly shoe.

12. Booties
Booties can be comfortable and stylish. These booties can work with the sweater dress, jeans, or leggings. You can find these at a variety of price points depending on your budget.

13. Tall Boots
Tall Boots aren’t going away any time soon. They are comfortable and classic and can help you look pulled together.

14. Optional – Lounging Outfit
If part of your travel activities include staying warm indoors by curling up with your favorite book or if you just want to look cute for Christmas morning pictures you’ll want a cute lounging outfit. These sweater knit leggings and hoodie are from H&M but Target and Old Navy have similar outfits.

15. Optional – Slippers
If you’ve packed a lounging outfit you may as well pack some comfy slippers to go along with it.


Happy Packing and Happy Holidays!

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