Trust me, I see them too. The absolutely gorgeous pictures posted by insta-babes posed perfectly atop a cliff with a free flowing dress that was effortlessly caught by the wind at just the right moment. God, I envy them. I wish that I could hike to a location, have my hair look great, my makeup perfectly blended, and my dress I had stowed in my backpack unwrinkled. But that is just not who I am. I sweat, I curse when a steep hike is killing my quads, and I have baby hairs that frizz out into ringlets the moment I leave my apartment. So if you are one of those gorgeous girls who makes pictures in exotic locales look so effortless, I tip my hat to you. You rock, and are insanely talented. I wish I could be more like you. But I’m not like you, and that’s why I wear yoga pants when I travel.
When I travel, I love to be up and moving. I will never shy away from an impromptu jump into the ocean, an arduous trek up the side a pyramid, or a humid walk through a market used predominantly by locals. There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than feeling restricted in what I’m doing by how I am dressed. Yoga pants and leggings give me the range of motion I need to do everything I want to do. I can rock climb, I can hike, I can walk down the Champs Elysees if I want to!
And now I know, yoga pants aren’t REAL pants. Or, at least that’s what people like to tell me (come on people, they have the word pants right in the description…how can they NOT be pants). But here is a list of other bottoms people tell me are leaps and bounds more pant-like than leggings, and why I rarely travel with them:
- Jeans – Denim is the universal language of pants which everybody speaks, but hear me out. Denim for me is this awkward material that is neither insulating, nor breathable. I always find myself hot, sticky, and seriously uncomfortable in jeans, or freezing cold with a metal buckle wedging its way into my stomach. Believe me, sometimes, a dark pair of jeans are the perfect item to wear out to dinner when leggings are just too casual. I get it, and you will always find a pair in my luggage. But I promise you this, those dark jeans are always more spandex than cotton, and make an appearance all of once on a trip.
- Shorts – No thank you. I find that shorts tend to be a huge waste of space in my suitcase. If you are traveling abroad, a lot of places you will more than likely want to and have planned to see (i.e. churches, royal palaces, conservative cultures, etc.) won’t allow them to be worn on their premises. When I was at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, a few tourists didn’t heed the warnings of no shorts and tank tops, and had to walk around the grounds in tops and wrap skirts made of the thickest cotton imaginable. So not only are they not allowed everywhere you travel, but do they really keep you THAT much cooler? Didn’t think so…
- Skirts – Don’t get me wrong, I love a good a-line skirt more than the next girl, but not so much when I travel. There are too many factors, a strong wind, an awkwardly placed table to slide into for lunch, an off the beaten path attraction that would require a little bit of bipedal off-roading. I will always bring a great skirt or dress on every trip for those special nights out, but they stay in those special nights out.
Don’t get me wrong, wearing yoga pants abroad can be just as disastrous, which is why I follow a few simple rules when wearing these spandex wonders:
- I always aim to cover my rear end when I won’t be scaling structures. If I am climbing a waterfall, or ascending an ancient pyramid, it is pretty much expected that you will be wearing sneakers and active wear, so I see no necessity in being extra careful here. However, when I know I am going to be doing more casual strolls throughout my day, I aim to cover my booty with a long sweater or top. I layer with a scarf and jacket, knowing I can always de-layer, but still look presentable and respectful of the culture.
- I make sure I am respecting dress code at all times. As I said earlier, some moments just call for a special skirt, or even just denim. I make sure I know where I’m headed, and always aim to blend in.
- I wear a thicker material. Nobody wants to see a flimsy pair of leggings stretched across a sweaty body on a hike. Invest in your leggings and yoga pants, and thank me later.
I love to travel in leggings. I find I am happier and less stressed out when I don’t feel like I’m being strangled by a bunch of thick cotton wound around my legs. If jeans are your thing, you go girl…or guy! More power to you and your own personal comfort. I’m not here to tell you what you must or must not wear while traveling, just give insight from my own experiences. And from my experience, climbing to the top of the Moon Temple in Teotihuacan requires the range of motion only yoga pants can provide me.