Man leaning against a wall in a subway station

What to Wear While Traveling Agility x Fashion: Get that terminal style

[Feature image by Banter Snaps]

Being in transit is like a sport. Your goal is getting from point A to point B the smoothest way possible, and just like with runners and cyclists, the proper clothing allows for more agility, oxygen flow, and a greater range in motion. You’d rather look artful, swift than to be digging through various sacks and wedging your hands into pockets to retrieve a crumpled boarding pass. Knowing what to wear while traveling not only speeds up the process, but it also makes you look like an excursion aficionado.

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What to Wear While Traveling

Tips on how to dress well, even in transit. We’re breaking down the best travel clothes and what not to wear.

What to Wear on a Plane

what to wear while traveling airport looks
Lifestyle by PS / Hespoke Style / @official_muditmalhotra

While some claim that sweatpants and an old hoodie are sufficient for flights, airports are an inherently sexy place, and in the end, it feels good to look nice at these international hubs where people from all over jet to unique locales for their own interesting reasons. And if you’ve got some wait time, it’s fun to embody the archetypal well-dressed, mystery man at the airport bar. You may even strike up exciting conversations with strangers. We’re not saying you need to break out classy outfits on-the-go, but you can do better than your “3 AM Taco Bell Outfit.”

How long is your flight?

The first element to look at when determining what to wear while traveling is flight duration. Sadly when you’re on a thirteen-hour flight, not even the sexiest suit can keep you from irritation. For shorter flights of one to four hours, you can get away with wearing nice dark wash denim and Chelsea boots. For longer flights, though, you’ll definitely want looser fit pants.

Best Travel Pants

what to wear while traveling best travel pants
  • Commuter Work Pants
  • Track Pants
  • Tapered Sweats (if you must)

Our pick: Lululemon ABC Pant Classic

(Read next – The Essentials of Men’s Pants )

Dress in Layers

what to wear when traveling wear layers
Annie Spratt

You go through the wildest temperature changes when flying. For instance, you could be leaving the sub-zero American Midwest for a tropical destination along the equator, or vice versa. Then there’s the outside to inside temperature change. Sometimes you’re perfectly comfortable at the gate until flash freezing on the ramp while waiting to board. And airplane cabins are often too cold for most people’s comforts. This is why layering is king. You’ll want to be strategic with the articles you choose. Make sure every layer makes sense so that you don’t just end up with too many tops to keep track of.

Comfy Layers to Wear While Traveling

  • Base Cotton Tee
  • Vest
  • Cardigan or Pullover Sweater
  • Jacket

Chances are you’ll be keeping your vest on over your tee for most of the time. The jacket will likely be reserved for super cold stretches like the boarding ramp, outdoor airport shuttles, or overnight on the plane. You’ll want to go with a heavy wool jacket instead of a puffer one. Remember that saving space is of the essence, and you don’t want to be stuck with a large space-eating coat to carry.

The third layer, that is the cardigan or sweater, will be the most mobile. You’ll be pulling this on and off at whim for comfort, so make sure it’s easy to wear and take off.

Socks to Wear While Traveling

what to wear while traveling mid-calf socks
Alynn Socks

People will see your socks. There’s no way around it unless you go sockless, but then you’ll freeze. It’s tempting to wear old gym socks since they’ll be shuffling along the airport security ground anyway. But do you really want to remove your shoes to reveal big sock holes? Wear some nice looking mid-calf socks . They’ll keep you warm during your flight, and they look nice going through TSA.

Deep Pockets, Literally

Your cellphone, ID, and credit cards will make multiple appearances. Between showing identification, scanning a mobile boarding pass, and paying for wifi or snacks, you’ll need these personal items on hand at all times. It’s much better to have easy access via pockets instead of rummaging through your carry-on.

Wear a Crossbody Bag

what to wear while traveling crossbody bag

This current trend makes perfect sense. The men’s crossbody that sits on your chest is like a deluxe wallet for traveling light. Put your ID together with your boarding pass in the same pocket. You can even fit other essentials like earphones and a Kindle or small tablet in there. Furthermore, it’s easy to sling on and off, so you can remove the bag when going through security.

Hats for Bedhead

You’ll probably be dozing off in a lot of semi-uncomfortable positions. Your head is going to lean every which way and against various chairbacks and walls, so your hair will look a mess, not to mention greasy from hours of travel. Put a hat on it. Nothing is more stylish and low-maintenance than a baseball cap or beanie–just be aware that this is one more item to account for (and not lose) on your trip.

What Not To Wear While Traveling

Avoid Fussy Laces

And lots of buttons for that matter. Remember, dressing for flights is always going to involve a lot of on and off. When choosing the right travel shoes, you’ll want something comfortable that can slip off easily when going through security. A pair of athletic sneakers would be prime. They’re comfortable for standing in lines, running to terminals, and just long wear in general. But avoid sneakers with tight or complicated laces. You don’t want to have to untie your shoe every time you take it off or pause to retie them every so often.

If you’d like to dress a little more formal, opt for Chelsea boots . These fashionable laceless boots slip on and off with a tug.

Avoid Too Many Metal Accessories

This is hopefully as obvious as not carrying a full water bottle through security. Feel free to keep your wedding ring or Rolex on, but be aware that you’ll need to remove it when going through TSA. Anything more than one or two metal accessories will become a hassle. Plus, any expensive items that run the risk of falling off or being lost in transit just cause additional stress. Minimalism, traveling light–that’s the ideal.

Avoid Wearing Strong Scents

You know the embarrassment of spraying a little too much cologne and feeling like you’re holding someone captive in an elevator or car? Well, imagine if that person isn’t able to escape through sliding doors or rolling down a window. Do your ego and the person sitting next to you a favor by taking it easy on the cologne. If you need a refresher, stick to one to two pumps and try to apply it in the bathroom.

(Read next – How to Wear Cologne: An Introductory Guide )

What to Wear on a Bus or Train

what to wear while traveling subway

Almost all the guidelines for air travel clothes will apply for bus and train transit as well. You want to dress efficiently, comfortably, and in layers. The one variant would be your level of formality. You can opt to class it up in an airport, but public buses and trains embrace a grunge style. Think utility jackets and workwear . You also won’t have to worry about taking your shoes off, so feel free to go lace crazy.

Additionally, save your most expensive luggage for flights. If you’re planning on taking a long bus ride, the goal is to draw a little less attention to yourself and the value of your belongings. All the same, you want to look edgy, cool, and like a total pro.

Read next – How to Plan a Destination Trip 

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