We have talked about the importance of traveling with quality clothes and gear. The right clothes can make a big difference on how comfortable you are out on the road. They also help with packing light. However, finding affordable travel clothes for women can sometime be a challenge.
Travel clothes. Travel accessories. Travel gear. All of that travel stuff can get expensive, especially if you are looking for quality. There are brands out there that bill themselves as travel specific. I like many of them. But there are also brands that are geared toward adventures (e.g. camping, hiking, etc.). These brands make excellent options for travel. They provide a quality product that should hold up under the strain of life on the road. The trick is finding these products at an affordable price.
Affordable travel clothes for women (and gear!)
Below are my top eight suggestions for finding affordable travel clothes for women. You can also often find affordable travel gear and accessories at the places listed below. I have found varying degrees of success with each one. In no particular order:
1. Off-price stores
If you are looking for affordable travel clothes for your next trip, I recommend an off-price store. These stores sell closeouts, overstocks and seconds from brands you will recognize (e.g. Columbia, Outdoor Research, PrAna, etc.). They also sometimes sell travel gear, but I find them most useful for affordable travel clothes.
R and I especially like Sierra Trading Post. We are lucky enough to have a store nearby. If you are not as lucky, you can buy online and they often have good deals on shipping. The prices are already pretty good in general, but I love shopping off the clearance rack. That is where you can find some great prices on travel clothes for women.
2. Online stores
Speaking of online shopping, the internet is home to some really great stores that offer affordable travel clothes for women. You can shop stores you recognize (think REI, The North Face and Patagonia) and look for clearance items. Or you can head over to online stores like Steep & Cheap, Backcountry and The Clymb. I have found some fantastic deals on clothes for travel, as well as my latest backpack (read the five things to think about when choosing a backpack), from these stores. So be sure to check them out.
There are a few downsides to shopping online of course. You cannot try before you buy. Many places offer refunds and a few even offer free shipping, but there is still some risk. If the fit, color or feel is wrong, you may be out of luck. If the deal is too good to pass up though, I think the risk is worth it.
To be honest, I have done more selling on Craigslist than I have shopping. But all that means is somebody else is getting my good travel gear! Personally, I would not bother with Craigslist for travel clothes. It seems more work than it is worth. However, you can definitely find good travel backpacks for women on Craigslist as well as quality camping and outdoor gear. You will have to be patient and diligent in searching, but it is possible to land some affordable travel gear.
4. Garage and yard sales
In general, garage and yard sales are a great place to find deals. Of course, it can be hit or miss when it comes to travel gear, clothes and accessories for women. But it is possible. I recommend you check out yard sales in more affluent towns and neighborhoods. In my experience, the chances of finding quality brands, especially in regards to clothes, increases the higher the median income of an area is. The Ketchum/Sun Valley area is a favorite of mine for yard sales. During the summer, there are yard sales happening all around the valley every Saturday. The folks there know quality and rarely wear an item out before selling or donating it.
5. Thrift or second-hand stores
Speaking of donations, thrift or second-hand stores are one of my favorite places to find affordable travel clothes for women. There is nothing more satisfying than finding that new-looking Icebreaker shirt for $4 (and yes, that experience has happened to both R and me). It requires digging, patience and an understanding that you may not be successful. More times than not, I head home empty-handed. But those times I am successful make all the effort worth it.
Again, in certain towns and neighborhoods (think resort towns like Ketchum/Sun Valley), the thrift stores will be more likely to have the kinds of clothes and gear you are looking for. On the flip side, they usually know what they have and price accordingly. Most likely, you will still find some great deals. But the prices will probably be higher than what you would pay at your local thrift store.
Your other option is an online thrift store (like ThredUp). These are becoming more and more popular. I have yet to score a good deal myself, but I am on the lookout. Our friend C, is a big fan.
6. Consignment stores
Consignment stores, specifically those geared towards outdoor adventures, are an excellent place to find affordable travel clothes for women, as well as affordable travel gear. We have a couple of outdoor consignment stores here in Boise including my favorite, Outdoor Exchange. They have an online presence, but I prefer to go in and explore. I also enjoy selling items with them. They make it easy to buy and sell lightly-used travel clothes and gear.
I recommend you do a search for outdoor consignment stores near you. Then go in the check them out. You may find a treasure trove of affordable travel clothes for your next trip.
7. Seasonal sales
End of season sales are great! I often buy winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter simply because the sales are too good to pass up. If there is a particular store you just love, find out when their big sales are. For example, find out when your local REI Garage Sale is. This is for members only, but a lifetime membership is only $20 or so and you can score some really good deals.
Also, always look for markdowns toward the end of a season. Just because there are no big “sale” signs around does not mean an item will not be marked down. I recently purchased a new wool sweater from Pendleton that I had had my eye on. The store was advertising their sleepwear sale, but there was no mention of any other items being on sale. I checked the price tag and found a large red slash with a new price I was comfortable paying. Now I am the owner of a beautiful wool sweater that was much more affordable than the first time I saw it.
8. Subscription deals
I hate the amount of email I receive. However, I love coupons and insider deals. So I guess I will continue to deal with copious amounts of email in order to take advantage of whatever deals may come my way for travel gear. Sierra Trading Post often offers coupons to subscriptions. I have taken advantage of it, and others, many times. If you do not find a particular subscription worth it, you can always unsubscribe.
Well, those are my suggestions for finding affordable travel clothes for women. They also make great resources for finding affordable travel gear and accessories. Some require more effort than others. Some will be a dead-end. But some will provide you with all you need to look and feel great on your next trip. The best part is that once you invest in quality products, they will last a long time and you will not need to replace them anytime soon…unless you want to. Happy shopping!