The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Chic Travel Style

Many of us will be traveling over the holidays, so I thought I'd share some tips for chic travel style. During a recent flight to Chicago, most of the chic travelers I spotted were wearing boots, a tailored wool coat, a warm scarf, and a cross-body bag. Yes, in my East Coast winter uniform, I fit into this category as well. It's not a look that will turn heads, but I think it's certainly a smart casual way to dress while traveling. Here's why:

Layers are key to keep up with the changing temperatures as you move from the outdoors to the indoors, as well as the uncertain climate on the plane. Start with a cami, add a long sleeve layering tee, then something like a boyfriend cardigan or wrap sweater, and top with your wool trench or peacoat. That's what I wore and I was cozy as a clam.

Flat or low-heel tall boots that you can easily slip on and off as you go through security are warm, comfortable and stylish. Tall shaft boots take up so much luggage space, too, which is why I always wear mine on the plane. They're also versatile enough to go with any outfit you might pack.

A cross-body bag keeps your arms free and secures essentials like your ID and boarding pass close at hand. I recently purchased an amazing modern-vintage cross-body by Fossil at Marshall's for $49 (originally $138). Made from genuine leather, this bag will only get better with time.

A warm, oversized scarf can double as a shawl and adds interest to an otherwise simple, neutral outfit.

A little bit of flair goes a long way--add a knit beanie, fingerless gloves, or legwarmers to show your fab fashion sense. Carefully selected colors can also speak volumes. I went with boring black this season because I got a great deal on my Honee coat at Marshall's, but I saw some ladies sporting taupe, gray, off-white and teal with fantastic coordinating accessories.

Limit jewelry and metal accessories as these will only slow you down. I was stubborn and wore a wide belt with metal grommets, and a ton of stackable bracelets, which I had to remove at the security checkpoint. Also make sure you're not carrying any liquid or gel makeup/beauty products over 3 ounces, as these could get confiscated.

How do you travel in style?

That bag is gorgeous.
#1 Kristen on 2008-12-03 07:00 (Reply)
very smart ideas!!!!
#2 Real Style Real people (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 11:34 (Reply)
I agree with all these tips! I've actually been working on a traveling post myself.
#3 Celeste (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 12:03 (Reply)
Jeans, long layering tees, a scarf, and flats with a pair of no-show ballet socks by Hue or another similar company always do the trick for me. I also bring a pair of slipper-socks for the plane ride, if it's a lengthy one. I love your ideas! I think I'm going to have to invest in a cross-body bag soon ...
#4 Katie on 2008-12-03 12:38 (Reply)
all fabulous tips that i try and follow whenever i travel! i'd add some multipurpose balm that can be used for lips or hands, some cozy socks and i like to make sure my boots are slip on so that i don't have to mess with any buckles or ties in the security line.
#5 Cupcakes and Cashmere (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 13:18 (Reply)
That's pretty much how I travel in style, actually.

I wear boots a LOT - which proves to be annoying sometimes. I mean, usually I HAVE to wear the boots because they don't fit in my luggage or make it too heavy. Like the time I came back from Italy with two pairs of boots - I had to wear one on the plane and after I switched flights after 8 hours, they made my take my boots off. And THEN I couldn't get them back on! My legs and feet had swollen so much from the flight!

I had to wear unzipped boots for the rest of the trip!

Also, I like cross-strap bags when travelling (nee, that's the only time I wear them) but only when wandering around a city. For the airport or train, I bring the BIGGEST bag possible, so it's almost like an extra carry-on!!
#6 Wanderlusting (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 13:19 (Reply)
An oversized handbag does make a great carry-on. I was toting my laptop as well which is why I had to go with a smaller purse :-)
#6.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-12-03 15:24 (Reply)
i think you've summed up traveling style flawlessly. i'm definitely in favor of cozy scarves and gloves. Sometimes I will even wear a pair of leggings under my jeans. And flats, flats all the way.
#7 megan (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 13:27 (Reply)
I love your coat (and your entire outfit). Mind me asking what brand/or where you got your lovely coat?
#8 Rebecca on 2008-12-03 14:12 (Reply)
The coat is this brand called "Honee" (I had never heard of it before), purchased at Marshalls. I couldn't decide if I wanted it at first, so I was wearing the coat around the store and two other shoppers actually complimented the coat, so I was sold! You could try Googling Honee to see where else this brand is sold, good luck!
#8.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-12-03 15:23 (Reply)
You are brilliant, you know that, right? I never thought to swap out my daily for a cross-body bag while traveling, but it makes perfect sense. My only add-on to this list is silk sock liners. My feet get cold on planes in the summer ... in winter, they're blocks of ice by the time we land.
#9 Sal (Homepage) on 2008-12-03 15:28 (Reply)
I found the coat on for $89.99.

What brand are those boots, I love them (and the rest of your outfit)!

#10 Hanna on 2008-12-03 16:44 (Reply)
Wow you're good, I couldn't find the coat online! The boots are Nine West's "Artiod" but I can't find that particular style online...I bought them at my nearest Nine West store, big boot sale going on. They have a real leather upper, plus elasticized panels along the shaft for pull on styling.
#10.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-12-04 10:03 (Reply)
This post was very helpful!
I plan to be traveling in the next few weeks and I wasn't sure hot to be comfy and stylish for a long plane ride, not to mention strolling throught the airport and waiting in long lines.
I think the idea of a across the shoulder bag was excellent, it keeps your hands free and you can probably bring another carry-on onboard besides your bag or purse. Plus, it's handy to fit in your flight ticket and identification.
#11 IndigoViolet on 2008-12-03 17:14 (Reply)
I love the coat and popping color of the fingerless gloves!

I believe it's spelled "flair", not "flare". LOL. X)
#12 Kitty on 2008-12-03 19:45 (Reply)
This whole look is fabulous!
#13 budget chic (Homepage) on 2008-12-04 08:51 (Reply)
After years and years of traveling (and the trip to visit family in Asia can take over 30 hours including stopovers in foreign airports) I've learned that, for me, the best thing to wear on a flight is a dress. I did a post about this a while back. I used to wear jeans, but I tend to swell up everywhere on a long flight and the waistband begins to feel a bit uncomfortable.

I've also found that the best fabric for air trips is a knit, preferably in a dark color. A knit wrap dress that you can layer works wonders!
#14 Anusha (Homepage) on 2008-12-04 12:20 (Reply)
I really love the look of this outfit. I'll be traveling to New York (from Los Angeles) in a few weeks and am rather out of my depths in terms of what to wear. Will boots like these be appropriate both for walking a lot and any warmth considerations?

Thanks and love the blog!
#15 Andrea on 2008-12-04 13:34 (Reply)
Absolutely, knee-high leather boots with a low heel are perfect for winter in the city where you do lots of walking and it's cold! One thing to consider is that you'll need to break in your boots a bit before a full day on-the-go. Also, I like to wear mine with wool/cashmere blend socks because they're thin but really warm too.
#15.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-12-04 23:16 (Reply)
Thanks for the tips!
#15.1.1 Andrea on 2008-12-06 17:22 (Reply)
I love boots for travel. Gilt Groupe is having a sale on Cynthia Vincent shoes and they have the cutest brown boots on sale.Its the Cora boot in brown and I got it for $128!! I love them!

#16 Tara on 2008-12-05 16:20 (Reply)
the bag is sick!
#17 Jaime (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 16:31 (Reply)
I always wear flat slouchy boots, for they provide much comfort and warmth. They are always easy to run around in and lounge in while you are waiting for flights or running to your seat. I usually also wear an oversized top, or dress with a light jacket to keep my cozy, warm, and comfy. I hate wearing a bulky jacket or sweater because you are just asking to be too hot and have the misfortune of having to work a way to take it off and lug it around.
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#18 Amy (Homepage) on 2008-12-07 22:37 (Reply)
That's a great look and layering is a great tip for this time of years. If you're traveling then you might want to get one of these. I've tried many a travel pillow during my years in the skies. I have finally found one that feels like my pillow on my bed. It has a satin pillowcase, so my hair doesn't get stuck in one spot while I'm sleeping on the plane or when I have a flight delay and I nap in the airport. I don't get off the flight with the "bed head" look. I can go to a meeting or lunch with clients and my hair looks great. The pillow itself is designed to feel like down and it's hypoallergenic. Both the satin pillowcase and the pillow are completely washable. When I'm home I throw it on the sofa and use it as a nap pillow. Now I won't travel without it. I wound up getting a satin pillowcase to take with me to use in my hotel room. The company I purchased the travel pillow from is
A Touch Of Satin. Their website is if you're interested. If you do any flying at all, or even take car trips, this travel pillow is a must to take with you.
#19 cathy fisher on 2008-12-15 08:18 (Reply)
My best travel bets are a White and Warren cashmere travel wrap. The travel wrap looks super stylish and will double as a nice cosy blanket on the plane, great for going to and from a different climate. I travel several long-haul flights a year and I love this! The travel wrap retails for $375, but if you watch their website or even, you can get a beautiful wrap for $150, definitely worth the investment:)
#20 cdnbgirl on 2010-02-18 13:21 (Reply)
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