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What to wear on a sightseeing holiday

Getting ready to see the world? If you have a sightseeing holiday planned, you’ll want to pack in as much as possible on your trip. 

Whether you’re jetting off for a weekend city break or a fortnight-long adventure, you’re going to need to be comfortable. Sightseeing holidays can be tiring and you’ll often be at the mercy of the elements, so packing appropriately is key to a successful trip. 

Read on for our tips on what to wear on your next sightseeing holiday. 

What to wear when sightseeing

You’ve just landed in a historic, ancient city like Rome, or a vibrant, culture-rich metropolis like New York. Or perhaps you’re temple hopping in Kyoto, or exploring ancient ruins in Peru. You’ll want to see as much as you possibly can before you fly home. This likely means lots of walking, even if you can save yourself some steps by using public transport or driving where possible. 

This is why the number one item to pack in your suitcase for a sightseeing holiday is sturdy, comfortable footwear. You need to cushion and protect your feet, whether you’re climbing to the top of a historic church tower, wandering through quaint cobbled streets or hitting a forest trail. 

It’s also important to prepare for the weather. Take some time to research the climate and typical weather conditions for your destination for the month you’ll be visiting. This can give you an indication of what you’ll need to pack. 

But remember that the weather can be very hard to predict, so it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality. Pack a raincoat, warm layers, an umbrella and some sun protection. It may seem like overkill, but you’ll be thankful if you ever need to use any of it. 

And as long as you have some great footwear and wet weather gear, you can otherwise pack as you normally would for a holiday. Check out our handy summer holiday packing guide for ideas.

We’ve also put together some tips on what to pack for a business trip

What to wear when travelling

A major part of many sightseeing holidays is the journey. While plenty of incredible sites are found in Europe, which is easier for us in the UK to reach, there’s also a whole world of cultural, historical and natural attractions located further afield. This will usually involve a long-haul trip, whether by plane, ferry or long-distance train. 

If you’re planning a longer journey, you’re going to need to prepare properly. This means choosing your travelling gear carefully, and packing a few essentials to make sure you have a comfortable trip. 

Below, we’ll run through a few handy tips on what to wear when travelling by plane, public transport and by boat. 

On a plane

Long haul flights can take a little getting used to if you’ve never experienced one before. You’ll want to pay a little more attention to your clothing than you would for a shorter flight. Comfort is the absolute top priority, because you’ve got many hours of sitting or lying down ahead of you. 

Here’s a quick list of must-pack essentials for a long-haul flight:

  • Loose, comfortable trousers or leggings. Tight jeans or any items with buttons or zippers that could dig in are best avoided, as are bare legs - you don’t want to be cold on the flight. 
  • Compression socks. These improve blood flow and circulation, helping to reduce swelling caused by sitting in one position for long periods. 
  • Comfortable shoes. Slip-on trainers are an ideal choice. 
  • Lots of layers. Choose items you can easily take on and off as you need to, for example, if the temperature changes in the cabin or you’re getting ready for sleep. 
  • A scarf, wrap or light blanket. This is a versatile item that can be used for comfort, warmth or even as a makeshift pillow or eye mask. 

If your luggage is feeling a little heavy by the time you’ve packed everything you need, you probably don’t want to lug it on and off public transport. It could make life a little easier to arrange airport parking, then you can pop your luggage in the boot and drive straight to the airport ready for your flight. 

By car, bus or train

Long journeys by road or rail can be uncomfortable, but dressing appropriately will make all the difference. Prioritise loose, breathable and comfortable layers, such as cotton tops and loose trousers. These should be easy to take on and off, and lightweight enough to pack away in your hand luggage when not needed. 

Warm socks are also a must for travelling by public transport. Temperatures can vary dramatically between different buses and trains, and that along with the fact that you’re sitting still for a long time can make your feet feel very cold. 

By boat

Travelling by overnight ferry, or taking a cruise? The same tips apply as when travelling by long-haul plane, bus, car or train ride, such as wearing loose, comfortable layers. 

But journeys by boat also involve exposure to the elements. You won’t want to be cooped up inside all day, so make sure to pack warm, waterproof clothing for strolls up on deck. Even on a warm spring or summer day, it can still be blustery and perhaps even rainy too out at sea. 

You’ll also need some sturdy footwear, especially if the sea becomes choppy during the trip.