Travel Tip – The 3 Pairs of Shoes Rule

Thanks to your votes, I’m sharing with you one of my all time favorite travel tips - only pack 3 pairs of shoes. “What?!?” you ask.  Yes, that’s right – just THREE pairs of shoes. It’s quite simple, really. During a typical business trip, I’ll pack my travel sneakers, a pair of heels, and a pair of flats (either ballet flats, ankle boots, or sandals, depending on the weather). During a tropical vacation, it’s the aforementioned sneakers and two pairs of sandals – one dressy and one casual.  I may swap a pair of sandals for a ballet flat. For this recent vacation, I bent the rules a bit and allowed myself an extra pair of shoes.  I packed these Rag & Bone ankle boots, Ferragamo flats, Dolce Vita sandals, and my travel sneakers.  It was a three week trip with two different climates.  Another pair was justified. Don’t believe me that three pairs are all you need?  I’ll prove it to you:

Travel Tip - Pack Only Three Pairs of Shoes

Business Trip – Since I stick with a black palette for business trips, I opt for a pair of heels and flats in the same color.  Between meetings and dinners, I rarely have a moment to myself.  You can find me pounding the treadmill at the hotel gym (wearing my all-time favorite travel sneakers) or sitting on my bed, pounding away on my laptop.

Wedding Weekend – I’m about to make your life so much easier here.  For wedding weekends, pack ONLY metallic or nude heels.  And pack a pair of Tieks to slip into at the reception and to wear through the airport.  That’s it!  Given my shoes are ultra-feminine for these trips, I like to round it out with a masculine oxford.  As far as working out goes, that just doesn’t happen during wedding weekends.  If I have the time, I’ll do a quick sneakerless workout in my hotel room.

Cold Weather Vacation – Let’s be real – when are you going to pop on a pair of stilettos while on a ski vacation, or visiting a new city in the winter?  It’s not gonna happen.  A flat boot for the day (and the airport – always wear your biggest pair of shoes) and a heeled bootie or a low pump for night are all you need.

Warm Weather Vacation – I like to employ the same rule for this trip as a I do for a wedding weekend - nude shoes only.  Keep it simple with a flat sandal for day, a heeled sandal for night, and a sneaker for runs on the beach or exploring rough terrain sites.

Home for the Holidays – I don’t know about you, but I rarely change out of pajamas and don proper shoes when home for the holidays (or any trip home, really).  BUT if we had lots of family plans, I’d bring out an elegant flat for a formal dinner, ankle boots for running around time, and log some miles on my father’s treadmill with these travel sneakers.

Other Tips:

  • Employing a shoe bag is key for sticking to this rule.  My Hudson+Bleecker bag neatly fits 3 pairs of shoes.  When it’s full, my shoe packing is done.  The shoe bag also prevents the rest of my belongings in my suitcase from getting dirty and helps me re-pack quickly.  All in all, a WIN.  (Win your OWN bag and enter my H+B giveaway).
  • If you work out religiously, I highly recommend investing in a pair of travel sneakers.  This pair takes up very little room and provides ample cushioning for short-distance runs.  They live in my shoe bag, which lives in my suitcase.  And they rock.
  • Cardio workouts not your thing?  I really love my Nike Studio Wrap kit, which makes my in-room yoga or ballet-inspired workouts far easier (no slipping on the carpet) and packs up nicely.  When it comes to packing workout gear, be brutally honest with yourself.  Are you actually going to do it?  If so, pack away!  If not, pack the Studio Wraps and a set of workout clothes, and try to fit in at least one workout every three days.  Skipping the sneaker allows you to pack another pair of shoes – but as long as they all fit in the bag!
  • If you choose a pair of Tieks as your flat shoe, I’ll give you an extra pair to pack.  As long as it fits in your shoe bag (I know, I’m a broken record).
  • A well-known tip, but it’s worth repeating – wear your bulkiest pair of shoes while traveling.  AS LONG as they’re comfortable and can be slipped on and off with ease.
  • Wear compression socks while traveling to prevent feet swelling.  An unglamorous tip, but necessary if any of your shoe selections fall on the snug side.

Disclosure – even though it seems like it, Sole Society did NOT sponsor this post.  I’m just that much of a fan of their shoes (and really, everything they sell).