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Vacation Clothing Buying Guide

by Staff Writer

Couple toasting outside their cruise ship

Packing for a trip doesn't need to be stressful, especially when it comes to purchasing vacation clothing. When you have all of the necessary clothing and fashion accessories ahead of time, you can pack without worrying. To make sure you have the clothes, shoes and other accessories for your trip, use this vacation clothing buying guide. No matter what type of trip you're planning, you'll know how to buy vacation clothing long before you get out your luggage.

Clothes for Every Vacation:

  1. Weekend away. Think about your schedule and the men's clothing or women's clothing you'll need for various activities. Many smart packers recommend creating a "capsule wardrobe," where all the clothes you bring can be mixed and matched. You can make this easy with neutral colors or have fun and shop for several pieces in coordinating colors. Not only will you be able to create more outfits with fewer items of clothing, but you'll also need to bring fewer accessories. Remember, too, that you can wear some items of clothing a few times while you are on your trip. A dinner outfit one night can be a lunch outfit a few days later.

  2. Just beachy. Sunny days spent by the pool or on the beach, warm nights by a bonfire or at an outdoor restaurant: A vacation at a tropic locale is all about relaxation. Pack clothing that lets you enjoy the sun in comfort:

  3. Swimsuit: The most essential clothing for this vacation is your swimwear. Unless you are going to be on your trip for more than a week, one swimsuit is probably enough.

  4. Beach cover-up: You'll want something to wear when you're walking from your room to the pool or when you get up from your beach towel to buy a drink. Choose a beach cover up that coordinates with your swimwear.

  5. Sandals: You'll want two pairs of sandals: one dressy pair that can be worn to restaurants and one casual pair to wear with your swimsuit.

  6. Casual clothes: Are you making specific plans, like horseback riding on the beach? Bring a pair of jeans. Or do you have general plans, like window shopping and maybe a spa treatment? Bring casual pants, shorts and T-shirts.

  7. Dinner clothes: If you're planning on going out to a few nice restaurants, make sure you have a few dressy outfits. A sundress or two for women and a pair of khakis and a few button-down shirts for men should be enough. Most places don't expect tourists to dress too formally, and the locals probably dress fairly casually themselves.

  8. Sunglasses: Protecting your eyes from the sun is important, especially when you are spending all day outside. Pick up a good pair of sunglasses before your trip.

  9. Sun hat: Sunglasses aren't the only protection you need. You're counting on the sun shining on you while you're on this trip, so prepare for it with a sun hat.

  10. Tote bag: Use a tote bag to carry your beach gear, to pack a picnic or to transport your souvenirs.

  11. Snow fun. Fun days playing on the slopes and cozy evenings relaxing in the lodge: A ski and snow vacation is all about enjoying a winter wonderland. In addition to your skiing or snowboarding gear, you'll need clothing for layering during the day and lounging at night.

  12. Sweaters: Not only will you want a sweater as a layer when you're on the mountain, but sweaters are practically the uniform of ski town restaurants and bars. If you bring one sweater for every day of your vacation, you will likely use them all.

  13. Coats: You can wear your ski coat all over town, but you may want to bring a winter coat to wear in the evening while your ski coat dries or airs out -- depending on how your day went.

  14. Boots: You can't wear your ski boots everywhere. You'll want to have a pair of regular boots to wear when you're off the mountain.

  15. Warm hat and scarves: Don't forget about the accessories that will keep you warm when you're not wearing all of your snow gear. You'll be glad you have a scarf on those snowy nights.

  16. Evening clothes: Plan ahead for what your evenings will hold. Restaurants may require dresses and sport jackets, while casual spots will allow you to pair your sweaters with jeans.

  17. Lodge clothes: After a long day on the slopes, you may want to just relax at the hotel or lodge. Bring loungewear, like fleece pants and hoodies, and slip-on shoes, so you can really kick back.

  18. City sidewalks. Museums, historic sites and interesting architecture: Whether you're visiting a large metropolis or a few quaint villages, you'll want to wear clothes that let you move about comfortably. Before you shop for this vacation, do a bit of online research about how the locals dress; you can learn what they know about the climate and lifestyle and you won't stand out too much while you're there.

  19. Comfortable shoes: More than any other item of clothing, you'll want to have shoes that let you walk everywhere. Bring two pairs, in case one pair gets wet. Sneakers make excellent sightseeing shoes, but you may want boots if you're going someplace cold and supportive sandals for summer weather.

  20. Casual sightseeing clothes: As you plan your itinerary, make notes about what you would want to wear there. Museum on Monday? Bring nice pants and button-down shirts. Hiking on Tuesday? Make sure you have jeans or sturdy shorts and a T-shirt. You may also want to bring swimwear.

  21. Jacket and sweater: Always be prepared with at least one jacket or sweater in case of inclement weather. Remember that if you are visiting religious sites, like cathedrals, you'll need to avoid shorts and wear clothing that covers you well. Bringing sweaters or wraps gives you something to throw on when you go inside and easily shed when you're outside again.

  22. Dinner clothes: Bring an outfit or two for visiting local restaurants. This will require a bit of research. If the local specialty is fish and chips or deep dish pizza, dressing for dinner would require more casual clothing than if the specialty is fine wine and lobster.

  23. Shoulder bag: Women will want to carry a handbag that holds enough essentials for a day of sightseeing. A shoulder bag can be worn across your body, warding off purse-snatchers who are looking for tourists.

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