The Perfect Travel Outfit

Returning from a trip lately, I realised that I had not nearly passed out from the heat; I had slept like a baby on a freezing overnight flight; and I had not been arrested for indecent exposure. SUCCESS!! I had finally, after years of epic fails, nailed the thorny issue of what to wear when travelling from rainy Ireland to hotter climes. This question is further complicated if, like me, you fly slightly unconventional routes (be it to get to gigs in remote areas, or save the pennies), and are a bit clueless about clothes. 

There, I’ve said it. I am the furthest thing you can imagine from a fashionista. I tend to spend my days in pyjamas, or tracksuits. My despairing mother, sister and pals Muireann and Bogna tell me what to wear for gigs, and I only get dressed up for work or to please my (gorgeous, kind) mother. So if you’re a style queen, WOW – take a bow, I really respect your art!! – but leave now, because this article will not be useful to you. But if you’re a clueless colleen like me, these selfies taken in my kitchen may give you some ideas. 

My go-to outfit involves 4 layers, which I put on or take off as required.

Layer 1 is for arrival in hot climate: a short skirt, string top, comfy pumps.

Sample outfit for hot climate

On top of this, grabbed out of the handbag as necessary, goes Layer 2, for a warm airport / Irish summer’s day: a full-length top (thermal if it’s a bit nippy) and thick tights. (Penney’s sell amazing tights with fleece lining!)

Sample outfit for moderate temperature

On top of this, I put Layer 3, perhaps for a cool airport / Irish autumn day, which consists of… a long cardigan

Sample outfit for cool airport

And finally, for Irish outside temperatures or sleeping on transport, I throw on layer 4: a light scarf and a light raincoat.

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Sample outfit for rainy climate

If this works for you, or if you have any other ideas, please let me know!!  It would bring me great joy to know that someone has gotten more sleep on a bus because of me 🙂 If you want to design your own custom travel outfit, here’s a few questions I use for my jump-off point:

  • What’s the temperature at the destination? Imagine what would feel comfortable to be wearing upon arrival.
  • What will you need to wear to be warm and dry outside in Ireland, going between cars and buses?
  • If you’re getting a bus transfer to the airport, what will the temperature be like on the bus? (Irish buses are quite moderate, I find.)
  • Will you want to sleep on the bus? (If so, I wear something I can throw over myself as if it’s a blanket … every little sleep-cue helps …  🙂 )
  • What will the temperature be like in the departure airport?
  • What will the temperature be like on the plane? (I find overnight planes can get a bit chilly!)
  • How long is the flight? Do you want to sleep? (If so, see above 🙂 )
  • What will the temperature be like in the airports / areas you’re transferring in? (To me, the level of air-conditioning in American airports is actually a bit nippy. On the other hand, a small airport in a remote area of Asia might not have a/c, and be quite warm.)

And here’s a couple of final things to throw into the mix …

I wear glasses and contact lenses. It’s not advised to sleep with my lenses in, so I generally wear my glasses on journeys where I need to try and sleep, and keep a pair of ‘dailies’ lenses in my handbag to insert if needed.

I find that if I wear my hair in a top-knot I sleep better, and my hair doesn’t get quite as shtuck to my head as otherwise.

I find the J-Pillow to be a great travel pillow. I use the Healthy Back Bag as a handbag, and a carry-on with stow-away backpack straps like this.

So that’s it! There’s no substitute for experience, but hopefully these pictures / questions will trigger some interesting thoughts for you, and you’ll enjoy your journey that little bit more because of your extra sleep or comfort level in transit. If you’re also wondering about what else to pack, or what else you should be doing to prepare for your trip, read here for general travel tips or here for how and what to pack!

Wherever you’re going, go n-éirí an bóthar leat – may the road rise to meet you.

Úna

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