Spring Break: Those two little words have the power to transport you from the confines of a cubicle to an exotic beach, majestic mountain destination, or serene lakeside cabin—and anywhere in between. Thankfully, Spring Break isn’t just for students and families anymore. In recent years, more adults are using it as a great excuse to escape the daily grind and to get out and explore the world—whether it’s a long weekend road trip or a week-long excursion on another continent.
While figuring out where to go is part of the fun and excitement (backpacking in Big Sur? Kayaking in the Outer Banks? Trekking in South America?), many travelers dread another essential element of planning: the packing.
Indeed, adventure-minded travelers often need to spend some extra effort on exactly what kind of apparel to bring to make the most of limited suitcase space (and to make the most of their trip). Fortunately, a few insider tips can help take the stress and hassle out of the process. Here’s what to know.
Choose clothes that are comfortable.
Any seasoned traveler has at least one horror story about ill-fitting apparel: hiking boots that caused blisters big enough to warrant their own zip code or an irritating waistband that made a long flight even more uncomfortable. So, when it comes to packing adventure apparel for a Spring Break getaway, make sure you choose clothes, shoes, and extras like hats that not only fit well, but feel good. For example, clothing made with wicking fabric is not only soft to the touch, it’s specially designed made to wick away sweat (which is salty and abrasive when it dries), making any adventure or outing that much more enjoyable.
Make sure your apparel can multitask.
When you’re packing for a week-long (or shorter) trip, opting for gear that does double duty as possible is extra important. For example, lightweight shirts with buttons and front pockets not only work for daytime adventures like hiking, but also carry you right on through cocktails or dinner. For the ladies, breezy skirts and sundresses also can easily transition from day to night—just top off with a wrap or jacket, and you’re set.
Also, choosing pieces and apparel that can easily mix and match is a great way to minimize how much you pack, while adding versatility to your wardrobe.
Choose apparel according to your destination.
Though it can be difficult not to ‘what-if’ about all the adventures you might do while you’re there, savvy travelers should pack specifically for the destination. In other words, if you’re headed to a warm, beach-y locale, you’re probably okay to leave the wool sweaters at home. (But on the flip side, it’s always a good idea to pack a bathing suit: They take up very little room in a suitcase or backpack, and you’ll kick yourself if wherever you’re staying has a pool, hot tub, or easy access to a secret watering hole.)
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the news, too, for intel that could affect your trip—and how to plan for it. If you’re headed to a destination where the Zika virus is present, for example, be sure to take extra precautions to prevent contracting the disease. ExOfficio, a leading adventure travel apparel brand, uses a proprietary process called Insect Shield that protects against mosquitoes and other biting insects that may carry illnesses like the Zika virus, as well as malaria, dengue fever, and the West Nile virus.
Choose apparel that travels well.
While extravagant fabrics like silk look lovely, leave them in the closet and rely on hard-working, lightweight apparel and clothing that resists odors, is easy to care for, and offers sun protection. Another feature that adventure-savvy travelers should keep an eye out for? Apparel that’s quick-drying, making it perfect for outings like paddling (and a breeze to, say, launder in the hotel room sink if necessary).
Once you’ve got your suitcase or backpack all ready to go, there’s just one more thing to add to the packing list: your sense of humor. Travel has an uncanny way of throwing an unforeseen challenge into the mix, but if you’ve got the right attitude (along with the right apparel), you’re all but guaranteed to have a memorable adventure.
Originally written for ExOfficio.