Jeans are one of the most popular and debated travel fashion topics for women: To pack them or not to pack them?
The truth is jeans are actually necessary and ideal in many travel journeys especially in cold weather. Jeans don’t take up much more space than some bulky travel tech convertible pants and you can buy them in a variety of fabrics making them more lightweight and travel friendly than ever before. Here are a few key points helping you choose the best jeans for your trip:
When you Need Jeans
Jeans are essentials when visiting large cities and they are also the perfect travel clothing item in cold climates.
I’m going to use Africa an example because this is one destination where everyone thinks you need Safari gear. Believe it or not, jeans are great travel pants if you are doing an overland tour in Africa. If you find this surprising, the fact of the matter is, with the exception of the Congo and the Okavango Delta which are standard destinations on many safari trips, you’ll hardly spend much time out of your off-road vehicle so as long as you’re comfortable, it doesn’t matter how many cargo pockets your pants do or don’t have.
In fact, the majority of safaris in Africa are experienced from a vehicle, so travel pants or cargos can only take you so far. When you’re just sitting on your bottom 70% of the time on your overland tour, why not just wear leggings or jeans if you feel comfortable wearing them for long periods.
Also, as I experienced on two separate occasions in May and August in Kenya and South Africa. It gets cold! Jeans are a life saver in cities like Nairobi and Capetown.
Switching continents – I can’t imagine not having jeans in Peru or for cities in Europe, Oceania, and North America. They’re a must!
Why Jeans make Great Travel Pants
Although jeans don’t dry quickly when you wash them, you hardly have to wash jeans making them ideal travel pants. Because of their sturdy fabric, they are also very durable and don’t show stains easily.
The biggest argument against jeans is that they don’t dry quickly. Well they don’t, but unless you’re only planning to hand wash your clothing; there are cheap laundry services in every part of the globe. From Africa to South America, and hostels in Australia and Europe; you can pay someone to wash your clothes starting at just $1/kilo or wash them yourself using hostel machines.
Jeans are also versatile. You can mix and match your clothing with ease and dress them up or down. With so many options in fabrics to flexible sizing options such as petite or tall womens jeans, denim is scoring high on comfort level making them practical and functional. You just can’t go wrong with denim.
How to Choose the Best Jeans for Travel
❶ Fit: Choose a style that you find most flattering to your body. Pack clothes you feel great wearing!
❷ Fabric: Look for lightweight fabrics that use minimal space and weight. Stretch denim fabrics are good.
❸ Color: The color should match all your clothing to maximize your travel outfits- the key to packing light.
❹ Cost: Choose a price tag you’re comfortable losing, giving away, or damaging – especially if on a RTW trip.
My personal choice for the best jeans for travel are “disposable” ones from Forever21 or H&M that I can easily give away or ditch should I decide jeans are no longer necessary for my trip. Lightweight and easy to wear in a stretch denim fabric, you can’t beat their price points starting at just $10!
When Not to Pack Jeans
The main time when you should avoid jeans is when you plan to strictly hand wash your clothing items, are planning to spend the majority of your travel time doing trekking activities, and when you will be in high humidity destinations.
The only time I don’t pack jeans is when I go to South East Asia. On my RTW trip in 2010, I ditched my jeans after I left Australia and bought some denim shorts instead, and when I lived in Thailand last year for 6 months I much preferred my new Anatomie travel pants. However, some travelers find the heat tolerable in this part of the world and happily wear denim.
My best tip is to travel with inexpensive jeans you can giveaway on your trip should you not need them anymore or buy some cheap ones along the way if you decide you want them. For more help deciding on what the best jeans are for your trip, check out this post for some more insight on theDenim Dilemma.