Let’s talk shoes, the bane of everyone’s packing existence. They’re bulky, so they take up precious suitcase space, and you’re not going to be able to make up that space, no matter how many pairs of socks you stuff in them. Shoes can be heavy, so there goes whatever weight you saved by not packing every hair care appliance you own, and it’s hard to judge just which pairs are actually essential to your trip.
There are a plethora of travel articles that say you really only need two pairs of shoes plus flip flops. Others say three: the ones you’ll wear on the plane and the two you pack, plus flip flops. But how accurate is this? And do you really need flip flops?
The question of which shoes you need really comes down to the purpose of your trip. If you’re on a
business trip, I doubt you need more than two pairs, if even that: your work shoes and maybe a pair of gym shoes if you plan on hitting the hotel gym.
If you’re on vacation, well, that’s where things get trickier. Most of what you need depends on what you’ll be doing. You won’t need hiking boots if you’re going to spend most of your time in downtown Bucharest. Conversely, if you’re plans are camping and hiking, you can probably leave the stilettos at home.
The other issue is versatility. You can’t wear your gym shoes to a restaurant nicer than a local coffee shop, and you probably won’t go clubbing in them either. But you probably won’t want to do walking tours in heels.
So here are my recommendations on which pairs you should pack:
Most people will think this means gym shoes. But, in reality, it means any shoes you’re comfortable walking several miles in. I had a pair of flat boots I wore most places. They were black leather, so they did double duty for hitting bars and clubs.
However, if this does mean gym shoes, don’t worry, you’re not wasting space. Most vacations revolve
around a lot of walking. And unless you’re traveling specifically for the night life, you probably won’t be seeing the inside of too many clubs, and bars rarely care what’s on your feet as long as something is.
Do try for a closed-toe pair, though. Foot safety is important.
Unless you’re planning on eating at 5-Star restaurants every night or attending a black-tie wedding, you don’t need the heels you wore to your sister’s wedding. Any nice pair will do.
A nice pair of flats is usually a good all-weather option. But, if you’re in a warm area, or its spring or summer, a nice pair of sandals will do wonderfully.
The Just-in-Case Pair
What is the just-in-case pair of shoes? Well, that depends on you. For me, they’re a really nice pair of heels, just in case I wind up somewhere really nice. I have a friend who loves the outdoors, so she always brings hiking boots, just in case she finds a trail she want to do.
The thing with this pair of shoes is to know yourself and what you’ll be likely to do if the chance arises.
Yup, those. If you’re hitting the beach, spa, or pool you’ll be happy to have them. Besides, how much space do they really take up?
As an added bonus, here are the shoes I recommend leaving at home:
Seasoned travelers will be aware of this, but if you’re new to travel, don’t buy new shoes just for the trip. I don’t care how cute they are. You’ll thank me when you don’t have blisters two days into your trip.
The Pair You Haven’t Worn in 6 Months
For starters, see above. Shoes that haven’t been worn in a while can act like new ones. And, let’s be real,
if you don’t wear them at home, you won’t on vacation, no matter how much you swear you will. If they’re in good shape, donate them.
The Shoes That are Falling Apart
Yes, you love them. That’s why there’s no tread left, the soles are separating, and/or they’re full of holes. I know it’s tempting to get one last use, and you swear you’ll throw them away before you come home. Just throw them out now and start breaking in a new pair.
Besides, you don’t want to spend your vacation money on new shoes in a foreign country because these gave up the ghost earlier than expected.
So, there you have it, you really only need two pairs of shoes, plus flip flops. But it never hurts to have a third pair, just in case.