Can You Travel And Still Be Sexy?

Muddy hiking boots, cargo pants, dirty week-old clothes, and a back drenched in sweat from the warm backpack you’ve been carrying for the last few hours… it doesn’t really sound like the sexiest look ever, does it?

Backpacking is far from the romantic idyllic pictures you see in travel advertisements where everyone always wear white perfectly ironed linen pants in the middle of the jungle. No, the reality looks a lot different. But does this mean that we all just have to put our need to look good aside for the moment? Or, is it possible to travel and still be sexy – do we have to choose between comfort and looks? When I look for travel clothing online and in shops it sure seems that way, and I’m still amazed that the designers in the travel clothing industry don’t try harder. They know that the majority of backpackers and adventurers usually are under 45 years old, so why not design something for us too?!  One dress that I find works great for travelers is the Le Sac dress by American Apparel, which can be worn in several different ways to create different styles.

I also found a (lightweight) dress from GoLite that can be worn inside out and offers a different color, so you basically have two dresses. I’m curious to know what you do to make yourself feel sexier when traveling. Do you avoid the cargo pants altogether, or do you make them work and actually look good? Travel Underwear ~ The Sexy Pair

What effort do you put into making yourself look good? For me, the details make all the difference. I think that you can definitely wear some shaggy clothes and still manage to pull it off, if you put some effort into details. Ok, maybe not the whole kit, but you can get away with quite a bit. I make sure to always bring long dangling earrings, and a bit of make up, which can help make the outfit look more complete. I also try to pack clothes that can work for as many occasions as possible. I want them to work for a dressed up look, as well as a casual outfit.

11 Sexy Suitcase Essentials for Every Trip

It’s no secret, every woman wants to look sexy but when it comes to travel, most women pack with only two questions in mind:

  • Is it comfortable? Do I really want to bring my favorite shoes that cause severe pain after five minutes? Is that new wool sweater going to itch and make me sweat? Are those extra tight skinny jeans going to cut off circulation to my feet during the flight?
  • Is it practical? Do I really need to bring a separate luggage for my toiletries? Are 10 pairs of shoes too much? Is jewelry appropriate in a third world country?

The one question that NEVER gets asked is… Is this going to make me look jaw-droppingly SEXY? As an avid traveler, I’ve learned that women don’t have to compromise comfort and practicality for sexiness.

Here are my 11 sexy suitcase essentials for every trip…

1. A scarf (or sarong) is sexy, functional, and a must-have in every suitcase. These chic pieces of  fabric can warm you up, cool you down (if dampened), block the sun, be used as a towel, and worn as several outfits.

I never leave home without it.

2.  A little black jersey dress is perfect for day or night and is stretchy, comfortable, and wrinkle free. For day, wear neutral make up with sandals and a scarf. For night, wear darker makeup, jewelry and heels.

3.  Leather sandals with arch and ankle support. Swap those rubber flip-flops for a cute and comfortable pair of leather sandals to wear day or night.

Arch and ankle support is necessary for sight-seeing and long walks, yet the leather gives your feet a splash of chic.

4.  Lingerie makes every woman feel sexy whether she’s traveling solo or not.

It’ll give you an extra spark of confidence to explore a new city or strike up a conversation. And the best part, a sexy matching bra and panty are lightweight, compact, and fits easily in a suitcase.

5.  A pair of large sunglasses to reduce sun and wind exposure and the effects of premature aging. Plus, you can “people-watch” without anyone knowing.

6.  A bottle of wine. While most people bring wine home from their travels, why not pack one to enjoy in your hotel room. Travel is stressful and a glass of wine will calm your nerves and to help you sleep, preventing further jet-lag. So laugh at those ridiculous minibar prices and pack your own.

7.  Panama hats were literally designed for travel and packing into a suitcase. Simply push the top of the hat into a dome, fold it in half, and roll. It’s that easy.

Not only do they block the sun, they’re ideal for travel days when you don’t have time to do your hair.

Fun Fact: Despite the name, Panama hats were originally made in Ecuador and then shipped through Panama to various destinations. People thought they were made in Panama because of the “Panama” stamps on the shipping crates.

8.  Tank tops are perfect for layering, adding a pop of color to an outfit and can be worn day or night. Spaghetti strap tanks tend to reveal more skin, while tee-tanks show a flirty side. Either one is chic, sexy and fun.

9.  Whether you’re headed to the beach or city, give your skin a healthy glow with sunless tanning lotion to avoid looking tired and pasty.

A little goes a long way so pick a color that’s only slightly warmer than your natural skin tone. For a more natural look, blend the tanning lotion with regular lotion.

10.  A sexy swimsuit is essential for any vacation, even if you’re not going to the beach. Hotel pools, spas, and saunas are a great way to show off your sexiness and relax on your trip.

Be prepared with a swimsuit that fits your body and is age appropriate.

11.  An over the shoulder and oversized bag for all your sexy goodies. An over the shoulder strap will keep your items close to you at all times and allow you the flexibility to use both hands to snap photos or walk comfortably. An oversized bag gives you room for all your goodies like a scarf, sunglasses, and Panama hat.

That wraps up my 11 sexy suitcase essentials. Remember, you don’t have to compromise comfort and practicality for sexiness.

(Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

29 Responses to Can You Travel And Still Be Sexy?

  1. Connie Hum November 21, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    By and large, I’ve given up trying to look even decent while traveling. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I’ve come to realize that in the grander scheme of things in the world, whether my hair is in place, if my eyeliner is smudged or what I’m wearing just doesn’t matter. BUT, that’s not to say that I don’t WISH I looked better. Sometimes I want to put the effort in and then maybe I’ll dig out my eyeliner and pink lip gloss, but I’m afraid that’s the most I go for on any given day. Any advice to improve my appearances?

    • Sofia November 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

      Well, one quick way that doesn’t take much effort to do is to do a cool hairstyle.
      I think a nice hairstyle can really transform an outfit and a look.

      There are, like Sara Wu says, some great video tutorials on YouTube to check out!

  2. Anonymous November 21, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    i found some cargo pants that look “ok” they’re baggier than the average so they look a bit like linen trousers. They’re from Northface.
    I had look into that dress as well but decided that it was probably too expensive and looked a bit flimsy material, so decided against it
    I’ve mainly given up looking like I would do at home but still try sometimes, but most of the time it is my favourite pair of shorts and t-shirt that find themselves on me everyday!

    • Sofia November 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      That’s great, I’ve been looking everywhere for some linen pants, I like the way they look, and the material is so nice in hot weather..
      I always wear t-shirt and shorts too, I like it, it’s simple, comfortable but still stylish :)

  3. Poor Travel Blogger November 21, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    From a guys’ point of view? I’ve seen a lot of sexy female backpackers in Europe so far. Especially in the hostel I’m in in Rome. The fashion trend around Europe seems to be to wear tight leggings underneath shorts or a skirt, so you can still show off your legs without getting cold. And it still looks great even if your wearing hiking shoes.

    • Sofia November 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

      Leggings are great, they’re so versatile! I always bring a pair of leggings when I travel, they take up no space in the bag at all, and they look good!

  4. Chichi November 21, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    I agree with everything you’ve written Sofia! A backpacker need not look like a backpacker: unkemt hair, muddy boots/tevas, wrinkled clothes and all. I love the AA Le Sac dress, perfect for a backpacker! In fact, I loved it so much that I featured it on our site:

  5. Ayngelina November 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    I finally gave into jeans after 6 months of cargo pants I just wanted to look like a normal person. I also bought heels in Colombia because flip flops don’t cut it when you’re salsa dancing.

    • Sofia November 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      Haha I agree, salsa and flip flops don’t go very well together – I’ve tried it too 😛
      Jeans are good in the way that it’s accepted and used pretty much everywhere, and you can dress it up or down – something which is hard with cargos..

  6. Anonymous November 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    I think an adventurous attitude is all the sexy anybody needs.

  7. GlobalButterfly November 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    I think it’s quite easy to look “sexy.” Doesn’t take a lot of energy to take a shower, brush your hair, and put on a bit of makeup. I chose dresses over pants for comfort, plus I think they’re 10X cuter. 😉

    Having said that, like Connie mentioned at the end of the day who cares what you look like; it’s the experiences that count!

  8. Sarah Wu November 22, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    I know friends who go on vacation mayeb just 4 or 5 days and brought 6 pair of sunglass.lol I know that is a bit overdo. I never done backpacking before, but when I travel. I like to travel light and I think make-up or ear ring or even a cute scarf does it for me. There is a lot youtube video that show quick and easy hairdo too. So I’m sure that comes handy for me.

    • Sofia November 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

      That’s a lot of sunglasses! For some reason I always lose mine every few weeks and have to buy new ones, another reason to “update” my look ;P

      Hair makes such a difference! Knowing a few cool but simple hairstyles goes a long way, thanks for adding your tip about the YouTube videos.

      • Sarah Wu November 28, 2010 at 9:03 am #

        I know sometime you just left it on the table when you dine and forget to put it back. You’re welcome. I subscribe to some girly hair style channel 😛

  9. Adventurous Kate November 22, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    There is NO EXCUSE not to feel sexy when you travel!! I’m actually working on a post about it as we speak…no worries, quite different from yours! 😉

    I agree with you about Le Sac dress. It’s my favorite thing that I brought to Thailand. Here is a pic of it in action. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=592113697426&set=t.18501639

    Also, get it in the color that looks especially AMAZING on you. You’ll be glad you did.

    • Chichi November 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

      Hey Kate! Actually saw the dress from your 7month SEA packing list post, it inspired me to feature it. It’s the perfect little dress to take backpacking with. Btw, great pictures. It makes us want to start our own SEA trip like now. Happy Travels!

    • Sofia November 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

      I actually ordered two dresses (one pink and one blue), but they were out of stock and back ordered, so I had to cancel the order :(

      Looking forward to read your post!

  10. zablon mukuba November 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    wearing jeans could make a big difference to your look as opposed to baggy clothes

  11. Wandrian Adventures November 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I’ve found that pieces that can be worn a multitude of ways and are WRINKLE FREE (who actually folds things???) are best.

    Try this piece from Sandra Baguero (I own it, it’s wrinkle free and I take it EVERYWHERE with me).

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=149374&id=50729171567

    • Sofia November 23, 2010 at 7:16 am #

      Wow you can really make anything out of that piece!
      Thanks for sharing, it seems like a perfect travel item.

  12. Katy November 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    I’m all about the wrap cardigan. I took a light weight and heavy weight one with me when I went on my 18 countries in 3 months trip. It dresses up a tank top and capris AND the lightweight one worked great in countries where I needed to cover my shoulders.

    I too got tired of looking back at photos of me in scrubby clothes and bad t-shirts. I have whole set from Asia where I’m wearing dri-fit shirts. What was I thinking?

    I also brought a great dress from Mexx that didn’t wrinkle. I find the biggest challenge to be shoes. I need them to be comfortable enough to walk 15k but I hate wearing running shoes all the time. Nothing screams tourist like running shoes.

    • Chichi November 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

      Katy, I know exactly what you mean by finding the perfect shoes. Let me share with you the perfect shoes that I found. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a paid post nor am i affiliated with them. I just love their shoes so much that I share it with everyone! Fold it, roll it or even flatten it. Takes up NO room at all in your backpack. Love love love them.

      P.S. Don’t know if they ship outside the Philippines though :(

    • Sofia November 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

      I like the wrap cardigans too, I’m thinking of buying one, I like the way it shapes the body.

      You have a very good point on looking back at photos in the future, you don’t want to be too embarrassed to show them to people.

      Shoes is a big problem, running shoes don’t go very well with most things.

      Thanks for sharing these! :)

  13. Caroline Eubanks November 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I’ve started caring a lot more about how I look when I travel because I want to look back at my pictures and not think “Did I really wear that shirt for a week straight?” I’ve found ways of wearing cute, cheap clothes, specifically those from Forever 21. You don’t worry about messing them up because they didn’t cost you much. Check out my post on Backpacker Chic here:

  14. Nomadic Matt November 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    I think we can all stay sexy. I’ve seen some attractive people on the road.

  15. enrolled agent cpe November 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    When I saw the title of this post, I asked myself the same question. And my answer is No. Sadly, I’m finding it hard to find clothing that works well for a backpacker. Although I do have a few that looks pretty decent it is still far from the stylish designs. How I wish someone can come up with pieces that are lightweight, easy to pack and yet can still complement one’s body figure.

  16. Lawrence November 25, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I’ve been trying to convince my darling fiancee to come camping for years but she’s so concerned with being clean (not even sexy!) well I’m still trying….I believe sexy is as much a state of mind as it is posh frocks and heels

  17. Anonymous November 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    I am definitely guilty of the cargo look – and I doubt I make it look good on a daily basis! But like you I bring a bit of makeup and some cute earings – I love to add in a scarf too to class it up a bit if it’s cool enough! Plus, my knee length skirt has consistently come in handy for going out :)

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