Are specialty travel clothes worth the extra cost?

If you’re a traveler, do you need travel clothes?

Maybe.

Travel clothes are specialty attire – belts, dresses, hats, pants and vests – designed for the jet set. With the busy summer travel season just around the corner, travelers may be tempted to buy this attire, which typically costs anywhere from 30% to 50% more than comparable department store clothes.

I say “maybe” because there are travelers and there are travelers. If you take a few trips a year, you might not need all of the features travel clothing offers, like fast-dry or wrinkle-free fabric. But if you’re on the road more often, you should consider it.

When travel clothing isn’t worth it

“I have never paid those premiums,” says Patti Worsham, a retired travel agent from Long Beach, California. She says she’s thought about buying those pants “where the bottom zips off” but in all of her travels, she never really needed a pair. Worsham also likes the designer hats, with mesh fabric and water-resistant fabric. But she buys those at the mall, not at an online specialty store.

“I wore a pink floppy hat in Costa Rica,” she says. “I blended in beautifully.”

Donna Pucciani, a retired English teacher from Wheaton, Illinois, also avoids travel-branded clothes.

“But I do purchase practical clothing specifically for travel,” she says. That includes nylon pants that drip-dry fast, and jogger cotton-polyester blend pants, which take a little longer to dry but are not as heavy as jeans. For her, the premium to pay for travel-branded clothes just isn’t affordable.

“I would love to be able to afford some of the pricey catalog or retail store pieces,” she says. “But then I’d have no funds left for travel.”

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