Traveling with the LA Lady: basic travel essentials

So this year is going be big big BIG.

I will be traveling to Peru to hike up to Machu Picchu.

I will be traveling to Paris for two weeks just for funsies.

I may or may not be doing another trip to Europe… we’ll see…

But I’ve obviously been doing a ton of research (as I’m so apt to do) on my destinations, especially for my Peru trip. I want to be as prepared as possible since it will be a strenuous hike and well outside the norm. It’ll also be the first trip I’ve been on that requires a trip to the doctor for some vaccines and boosters… yeesh.

I’ll be detailing these trips, especially the gear and various preparations for Machu Picchu in subsequent posts but I’ve been browsing the internet looking for travel-friendly clothing and gear. Most of the time, anything “travel-friendly” falls under what has been (incorrectly) described as normcore. At some point it passes the point of simply being versatile and becomes boring. I swear… if I never saw a pair of wrinkle-free cargo pants again…

My point is that the term “travel-friendly” is mostly marketing. I started to look at things I already owned and love and the common theme is versatility. Almost all of my favorite bags, shoes and clothing to travel with can do double-duty. Here are some of the all-stars:


White Dress Shirt

I’m usually limited to synthetic knits when it comes to wrinkle-free clothing, but this shirt has the advantage of being tailored to my liking (some of the catalog brands out there also have plenty of wrinkle-free clothing, but they tend to be too boxy/blousey for my taste. I won’t go into the versatility of a white button down shirt since it’s been discussed at length. It also comes in this sateen cotton version and is available in a tall size!


While jeans would seem like a go-to, denim isn’t right for every occasion. A pair of dark pants, skinny or with a wide enough leg to fit a family of four (as is the new trend, sadly*) will get you more places than denim. A French woman once told me it’s easy to spot Americans shopping along the Champs because they’re wearing jeans. I think she was exaggerating but we Americans love our jeans for sure.

I’ve mentioned these pants before but I can’t say enough about them. These pants have a good amount of stretch so they’re great for the plane, too.



Footwear is very specific to the destination but a pair of flats will at least take care of your feet while walking around (and if you’re not walking around, maybe think about exploring a little!). Most of the “comfortable” shoes out there also look casual, but Cole Haan has successfully paired style and performance thanks to the Nike heritage. If you are tired of ballet flats, there are plenty of sandals, wedges, loafers and boots available that still offer some comfort. Take a peek here.


Shoulder strap can be used as a cross-body

Cross-body strap can be shortened to a shoulder strap.










Is there a bag that can do it all? Nope! Not by a long shot. But keeping with the form+functional trend, behold this laptop bag by Knomo Bags. Yes, it’s a laptop bag but it meets my personal criteria for a travel bag/purse:

  • a cross-body option for a little bit more security
  • large enough to carry an extra layer or two, a swimsuit, or whatever I want to tote around with me
  • doesn’t look like I swiped it from a bike messenger
  • has the option for carrying a laptop or iPad safely, should I need to haul those around

This might look gigantic but I’d much rather have a larger bag so that I don’t have to go back to my hotel every time I buy a souvenir.


If your travels are taking you to a warm, tropical place, a jacket might seem useless but having a little outwear for the plane or unexpected weather can’t hurt. NAU makes a lot of travel-friendly pieces and while some of them look pretty utilitarian, they are easy to dress up. This jacket will protect you from unexpected precipitation but is cute enough to pass off as a blazer. My husband has the men’s version and there are a lot of pockets and the details certainly justify the price.

Styled as outerwear. Cute, no?

Styled as outerwear. Cute, no?

So there are a ton of additional options like sweaters, tops, swimsuits (lucky you), dresses and accessories that you can tailor to your trip, but simplicity and packing lightly will make your trip so much more enjoyable without the chaos of overstuffed luggage. I don’t think there’s a trip I’ve ever taken where I haven’t returned home and looked at all the things I didn’t need. More often than not, they were boots or extra tops that just didn’t get worn.

Finally, I know it’s been a while since I posted and I thank all of you who stick with it. For new readers who’ve wandered here: Welcome! There will be more posts about beauty, fashion and fitness, all with a travel angle, coming up over the next few months. 



*also, have you ever tried to tuck in a wide leg pair of pants into boots? I think not! Maybe if I was petite I’d dig wide leg pants more… they’re just not for me.

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