Great Places to Shop for a Frugal Vacation Wardrobe
Space efficiency, durability, and price are some of the things I look for when shopping for travel clothing. How I hunt down great vacation wardrobe staples varies according to the situation. Here are some of my favored strategies for finding the best deals on the appropriate items. (See also: Vacation Hack: 7 Tips for Single-Bag Travel)
This one is more of a women’s clothing tip, but if you’re trying to pack light and want to pay less for things like multipurpose black travel pants and thin sweater dresses that store efficiently in your suitcase, then you may want to check out an online dance catalog. Prices for things like camisoles with stitched-in bras, lounge wear, and more typically cost less than they do with specialty retailers that sell to a luxury crowd.
The reality of adventure travel is that it requires a fair amount of physical activity. Clothing designed for such a task is able to stand up to the extra wear and tear. Purchasing high-quality sportswear, especially on sale, ensures you’ll have the clothing you need for hiking, playing golf, participating in more strenuous walking tours, or taking part in any sporting events that catch your interest. Since this type of clothing tends to wear like iron, you should be able to get what you need for several travel seasons from a single shopping trip.
Military Surplus Stores
As I mentioned in my travel bag solutions article, clothing and gear for SWAT, military, and police personnel is affordable for the quality you get. Why? Because people in those lines of work typically have to purchase much of their own gear, and these aren’t exactly the types of careers that pay the big bucks. Granted, as far as clothing goes, you won’t find much here that will be appropriate for cruise wear. But for adventure getaways on a budget, nothing beats a sturdy pair of cargo pants and a canvas backpack. Personally, I think it’s a smarter security move to skip the camouflage and go with olive or black here. It draws less attention, particularly abroad, helping you blend in successfully.
If you need some dressy shoes to pack for special events or some affordable warm-weather travel duds, try heading to your favorite discount chain store to get the best bang for your buck. While I don’t mind paying closer to top dollar for three-season clothing or high-quality cold weather gear, lightweight summer tops and strappy sandals don’t tend to hold up long-term no matter how much you dish out for them, so it’s best to get a good deal if you can. I like to pick up t-strap sandals and swimsuits at places like Marshalls, and Old Navy tends to have affordable capri cargos, shirts, and other items suitable for the whole family.
Sometimes, especially if you’re prone to traveling to more affordable international destinations, you can stay spiffy on the road and still pick up affordable souvenirs by shopping for at least part of your vacation wardrobe once you arrive at your actual destination. Some of the things I’ve purchased abroad over the years include alpaca jackets, beaded heels, lace tops, and wool sweaters. I paid far less for them on vacation than I ever would have in the United States and was able to use them far more than any trinkets I could have otherwise purchased.
Got a great tip for saving money on trip duds you don’t see listed here? Sound off in the comment section below.