7 Tips to Staying Stylish On Your Trip Abroad

We’ve all seen the giant backpacks, the baggy shirts, the sandals, the cargo shorts; we can spot a backpacker from miles away, and not just from the smell. I am here to offer some tips on how we can avoid some of the stereotypical fashion choices, and even look stylish while traveling abroad.

Before we begin, you have to understand that like most fashion choices out there, these tips will not be practical. You will have to make an extra effort to stay stylish, and might even regret some of your choices, but who said fashion is ever easy? If it were easy, everyone would look great! So here we go, 7 tips to stay stylish on your trip abroad.

1) Loose The Pack: Everyone’s first instinct when they go backpacking is, buy a giant backpack! This would seem logical, but who has ever seen one of those that is actually decent looking? With more straps and zippers than a swiss army knife, in my opinion they are over the top and over priced. Also, lets really think about how often you will be having to carry your bags. To and from the airport, and to and from the hostel. You can suck it up for that distance, you’re a big time traveler now.

My suggestion would be find a nice duffle bag, and a backpack. Your bags can be a great way to show off your style. Recently I picked up a backpack, and an overnight duffle from Hershel, great stuff!

herschel duffle bag

2) Pack The Basics: Dark jeans, v-necks, tanks, button ups (with a front pocket*), and a jacket. Try to stick with a color scheme that can go with everything. My suggestion would be dark grays, navy, whites, and denim jeans. You really can’t go wrong. Feel free to mix up the colors of the tanks, as you can get away with more variation. We will talk more about adding color and flair into the wardrobe in a bit. Also, basic is better. Do not try to get to crazy with the shirts and button ups. Stay with the general color scheme so you can mix and match, you do not want to pack something you can only wear with one outfit.

One more note about the jeans. You really need a great go-to pair of dark jeans. Something you can wear multiple days in a row without a wash, and do not stretch out. Levis are great, and inexpensive. With the 511’s from Levis, you can dress them up, and dress them down, something you should be looking to do with every item you pack on a trip. The ability to wear the same thing sightseeing and later on for the pub-crawl is huge.

3) Get a Hair Cut: The day before, or the day of the trip. Everyone knows there is nothing better than a fresh cut. So, wait until the very last second to get a fresh cut, and feel free to experiment with a new hairstyle. After all, you will be in an entirely new country where no one will know you. Have fun with it, and if worse comes to worse, it will grow back!

joe anhalt

Me doing my best impression of looking fierce with a fresh haircut. Compliments to ChicagoMale

4) It’s Gotta Be The Shoes: At the very least, a pair of black high-top Chuck Taylors, and a low cut H&M type shoe. DO NOT WEAR SANDALS. This is not 2002, sandals scream informal, and we are trying to be classy people!

The black high-tops are great again because you can wear them up or down. Side note – similar to the hair cut – try to buy the chucks at the last minute. Clean black high-top chucks look great, and you will look the most fresh with new chucks, dark jeans, and a grey button up when hitting the town.

Another side not is a personal favorite of mine, Feiyue shoes. I fell in love with these guys when I lived in Shanghai, and have not forgotten them. Very cheap, but very stylish.

feiyue low cut

5) Accessories: This is where we can have some fun. Feel free to get creative and try things you wouldn’t normally say yes to back home. For starters, you gotta have two watches. One going out classy watch, and one every day, sight seeing watch.

Sun glasses are a must, and you do not need to spend an arm and a leg. Actually, I would highly advise against this. Sunglasses break easily, especially when you are traveling. Also, sunglasses are a very easy thing to forget, or misplace. My advice, just pick up a cheap pair at a market in the city center, wherever you are. Almost every destination has some cheap rip-off ray-bans, or something that is popular and stylish. Spend the $7 and snag a pair, no one will be able to tell the difference.

Besides the watches and sunglasses, feel free to mix it up with colorful socks, a swimsuit (that can double as a pair of shorts if need be) and don’t be afraid of some fake glasses! There are a lot of haters out there for wearing fake glasses, but I say they are the male form of earrings – simply for style! If you do decide on the fake glasses, something I highly recommend, don’t be afraid to tell people they are fake if they ask. Really, who cares?!

6) Outerwear: No matter if the forecast is 100 degrees and sunny every day, you need to have an outerwear option. It might be hot during the day, but at night believe it or not, it will get cooler. I’m not talking about picking up a winter coat, but at least a light jacket, and a solid hoodie. I would suggest a Members Only jacket, and a hoodie from American Apparel.

Layering is huge fashion staple, and these options will allow you to mix around, and see what works best. And, if it actually does get a bit nippily at night, you can rock a tank, button up, and a jacket. Looks great!

7) Try Something Crazy: You are traveling to an entirely new place, so have some fun with it. Jump outside of your comfort zone and get crazy. Maybe pick up a red blazer at H&M, or try some fake glasses for a change? Whatever it is, rock it with confidence, and you might be surprised with how well it turns out. 


Roll Up: Your button up cuffs half way. This allows people to see your watch a bit better. Also, rollup your pants. This is a trend that has been happening for a while now, and highlights your colorful socks.

Feiyue: Again, a personal endorsement. If you are traveling to Asia, pick up a few pairs of the low cut style. Really stylish and very cheap!

Belts: Find a classy one that can walk that line between formal and casual. This one I got at Zara works great. Last trip this is the only belt I brought along. 

* Get button up shirts with pockets so you can utilize them. Your passport or phone fits perfectly, and looks great.