Shoe Solutions for Travel: From Hiking to Downtown Dining

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( January 22nd, 2015 )

The biggest travel puzzle in my mind is shoes. Most people suggest going on big trips (backpacking through Europe for example) with one or two pairs of shoes. Even then, you want those shoes to be as light and compact as possible.

I consider myself pretty fashionable and pretty adventurous. Two fairly opposite venues for shoe fashion and functionality are hiking and going out to a fancy dinner. These are the polar opposites I imagine when considering various shoe solutions for travel.

These are the approaches I’ve considered so far:

If you can, the easiest bet will be to find shoes you can do everything in. A pair of high quality combat boots might be able to bridge the gap. Although they are expensive, it seems like Frye Erin Lug Boots (for warmer seasons) and Frye Valerie Boots (in colder climates), might be the most versatile. I chose these specific ones, because the hefty handmade soles on them are likely to hold up and support your foot long term—and I learned the hard way in Cuzco, Peru, that boots without traction can be no fun when you’re climbing up hills and over cobblestones.

Travel Boots

Multiple lightweight options
Sandals with straps that lay flat can give you another outfit option while taking up very little extra space. Most pairs of Toms or converse will also lay fairly flat.

Backpacker in sandals

Outfits for your shoes
I was asking friends for pointers on shoe solutions, when someone said it sounds like I need shoe outfits. While it’s kind of a silly idea, there are a few options out there. Leg warmers, knit cuffs and boot covers can add versatility to a pair of boots. Try Etsy for some nice knit “shoe outifts.” Although the keyword “boot covers” will yield more results there.

Boots with Leg Warmers

If anyone wants to design something that could cover my hiking boots for a night out on the town, you would make my day.

Actual convertible shoes
They do exist. Nat 2 makes a few different sneakers that can be modified pretty drastically. One goes from a sneaker into a sandal!

Nat 2 Transforming Shoe

Rock the hiking boots

I managed to make an outfit with one of my favorite dresses and my hiking boots. The trick is to balance it out with chunkier, more rugged pieces on top. You may be able to find some vintage hiking boots on eBay for extra flair.

Hiking Boots with Dress

For more fashion inspiration, check out Ren Rong on Flickr. She shows off a lot of funky styles for all occasions with some pretty sturdy boots.

Photo Credits:

Travel Boots: Andy Matias via Flickr

Backpacker in sandals: Antoine K via Flickr

Boots with Leg Warmers: Joan!ta via Flickr

Nat 2 Transforming Shoe: Design Boom

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The Ever-Ready Pre-Packed Travel Toiletry Kit

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( January 15th, 2015 )

Still need a New Year’s resolution? Here, I’ll loan you mine. Make and maintain and ever-ready, already-packed travel toiletry kit.

I could spend weeks considering what clothing I might bring on a trip, but then when it’s time to go I start thrashing around throwing all my regular size toiletries into a ziplock and grabbing my whole makeup bag. Hello, Overpackers’ Anonymous!

Because I am usually living in the moment, my trips tend to sneak up on me. This is my solution: Instead of expecting myself not to procrastinate in preparing for routine trips, I will be ever-ready with a small, organized travel toiletry kit.

The first step for me was to find the right vessel for my travel toiletry kit. Preferably something that pleases me aesthetically, as I am motivated by beauty. I chose a hanging organizer to minimize my counter-spreading tendencies.

Pre-packed travel toiletry kit


I found this travel toiletry kit from Field & Stream. It’s a men’s kit, but who cares. Canvas and leather are classic—and aren’t you tired yet of women’s hanging toiletry organizers being pink and green polka dot plastic things?

Here is the list I came up with (adapted from Snarky Nomad, because I liked the category breakdown, and Her Packing List):

Packing Toiletries


  • soap (I cut a bar of soap I have to make it smaller)

  • shampoo and conditioner (I packed 2 ounces of 2in1 to cut down on liquids)

  • toothbrush and toothpaste (or consider a Toob Travel Toothbrush)

  • dental floss (doubles as string in a pinch)

  • dry shampoo (I recommend KMS makeover spray—they make a travel size)

  • jar of coconut oil (to moisturize skin and lips, remove makeup, soften hair, and soften cuticles)

  • Q-tips

  • contact solution


  • deodorant (If you like natural stuff, I just tried out Naturally Fresh Ministick Deodorant Crystal. It worked perfectly. 24 hours, no body odor.)

  • tweezers

  • nail clippers

  • razor (If you lack a blade cover, try a large paper clip.)

  • hairbrush (optional)

First Aid (for the truly prepared)

  • bandages in a variety of sizes

  • super glue

  • hand sanitizer

  • antiseptic

  • ibuprofen

  • anti-diarrheal

  • allergy medication

  • insect repellent (and perhaps anti-itch cream)

  • sunscreen (and maybe some aloe)


  • mascara, eyeliner, shadow, brushes, blush, bronzer

  • lipstick (This is Wanderlust and Lipstick, after all.)

Packed travel toiletry kit hanging

It may not be practical to have all of these things packed all the time. Still, get a good travel toiletry kit and travel-size bottles, and keep a complete checklist handy so you can pack it in a flash. It will give you more time to plan all the outfits you’ll wear under your trenchcoat.

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8 Reasons to Travel in a Trenchcoat

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( January 8th, 2015 )

Because I haven’t always been the most prepared traveler, I have taken special note of the items I am always glad I have along. Travel is full of once-in-a-lifetime moments, and being in the right outfit for the moment can make it that much sweeter.

The one coat that always feels right is my London Fog trench coat. It is my “everything” coat. It endured the rainy season in Peru and the high winds of Chicago in early spring—and it always felt like the perfect thing to wear.

Here is why I love to travel in a trenchcoat:

Sweet warmth!
My trench is the warmest coat I own, hands down—even warmer than my ski coat. I attribute this to coverage. When your coat covers your thighs, the difference in warmth is astounding.

Wearing my trenchcoat in Chicago

They’re adaptable.
Having a removable liner can make your coat useful most of the year, and you can wear it open for a different look.

Trenchcoated couple at the beach

You can wear lots of layers underneath.
Layers are key to being able to adjust to sudden climate changes. And do any of you ever have that light jacket or sweater you want to wear, but you really need an outer layer to brave the elements? I face that problem all the time. I find that even more structured jackets fit nicely under the right trench.

They’re classic.
Trench coats never go out of style. Hence this image from Australian Women’s Weekly 1978.

1970s trenchcoats

They’re Romantic.
Trench coats make me feel smart, pretty, and like I’ve got a captivating secret to keep, especially when paired with a bright, feminine cloche hat. Try it, you’ll feel like Audrey Hepburn.

Goorin Brothers teal cloche

They have huge pockets.
Cameras, phone, chapstick, keys, your whole hand. All these things at the same time still fit great.

You can dress it up or down.
Like I said, it is an everything coat. There isn’t an outfit worth wearing that I can’t throw a trench coat over and look remarkably stylish.

Open trenchcoat outfit

I already picked one out for you.
I love my London Fog. I wouldn’t switch brands—especially for the price. This one is a bit longer than mine and a bit lighter in color, but it has the same flannel lining, and I love the strings on the hood and the single row of buttons. Plus, more length equals more warmth and protection from the elements.

Sophia London Fog raincoat

Photo Credits

Trenchcoated couple at the beach: Thomas Brasington via Flickr

1970s trenchcoats: Bess Georgette via Flickr

Open trenchcoat outfit: Maegan Tintari via Flickr

Sophia London Fog raincoat: London Fog

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