The Most Underrated Travel Essential

The Most Underrated Travel Essential

74

Generally when people give advice about travel essentials, it revolves around things like noise canceling headphones, portable chargers, international adapters, etc. Well, I suppose you don’t realize just how important something is to you on a trip until you forget it at home. I’m dealing with that on my current trip.

I forgot to pack a hoodie or sweatshirt

I’m currently on a review trip, which is taking me to Peru, New Zealand, and more. As usual, I only packed for my trip shortly before leaving home — I hate packing any earlier than that, since Winston senses I’m leaving once my suitcase comes out, and I don’t want him to feel stressed. I try to pull off more of a disappearing act.

My last minute packing is almost never an issue, as I’m hardly a fashionista (Ford, as the more fashion forward person in the relationship, has a different take). It’s really just a function of throwing some underwear and socks in my bag, and deciding which of my athleisure clothes I’m going to take. I could basically pack in my sleep… or so I thought.

I guess I’m a bit rusty with these kinds of trips, because within minutes of arriving at Miami Airport, I realized I didn’t have a hoodie, a sweatshirt, or any sort of long-sleeve top.

Picture from 2019, but my packing situation in a nutshell

Why a hoodie is important for travel

Of course the obvious answer is “it’s good to have warm clothes if you’re going somewhere cold.” I am briefly going to New Zealand, where it’s the tail end of winter, and a bit colder than what I’m used to in Miami.

But when traveling, the use of a hoodie goes so far beyond just being needed in cold climates, at least for me:

  • Airport terminals are often kept ridiculously cold, especially Miami Airport; in summer I feel like it’s a 25+ degree temperature drop when you step inside, and it’s consistently the airport where I feel the coldest
  • Airplanes are often cold as well, and on top of that when you’re exhausted, you’re more likely to feel cold
  • If you’re flying, a hoodie that you can just bunch up makes a great pillow; this is useful if you’re on a flight where pillows aren’t offered, but it’s even useful for extra support if you have a pillow
  • If I’m trying to rest in a non-flat bed airplane seat, I find that having the “hood” up is ideal for sleeping; you can rest your head against the headrest “widget” with your hoodie, and it’s about as comfortable as you’ll get

I can’t count the number of times over the past few days that I’ve thought to myself how nice it would be to have a hoodie. Unfortunately I haven’t really been in an area with any shopping, and I’m even looking in airport terminals for them. Short of a $500+ duty free sweater at a designer shop at LAX, I haven’t come across anything.

I find that while on planes or at airports, I typically spend well over half of my time wearing a hoodie, as it’s always how I’m coziest.

Bottom line

I probably feel more strongly about this than others, but a hoodie, more than anything else, is what I try not to travel without. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, it always comes in handy. If I could only travel with a hoodie or headphones, I’d choose the former.

Am I the only one who is almost always on #TeamHoodie when traveling?

Conversations (74)
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  1. Ted Guest

    I bring a thin wool beenie cap because planes are cold and when I use with my earplugs and eyeshades I can go silent and either sleep or get active deep rest. Throw in a mask and you are like a mummy.

  2. Mike Guest

    how about a PPE? that's warm and comfortable inside!

    (just joking haha, i'm myself a fan of hoodies lol)

  3. Sue Guest

    What a great idea - and I see the points you have made ! Enjoy New Zealand -hope you get the opportunity to come here again and spend more time exploring!
    Cheers, Sue (from bottom of South Island, NZ)

  4. Fetzer Mills Guest

    I wear sweaters, heavy ones. I also wear a sports coat. People take me seriously and I get better service. It gets me upgraded on flights and in hotels.

  5. Ed Guest

    I like to bring one of those packable down jackets, they take up minimal space and can double as a small pillow for the flight.

  6. Jules Rosen Guest

    You definitely need something as there's no such thing as a blanket anymore unless you want to pay 10 or 15 bucks. On my carry-on I have several essentials like aspirin, anti-itch cream, chocolate, a book, headphones, sometimes underwear, pen , paper, meds,
    I have to say flying Asian airlines like jal was wonderful as they gave me a set of pajamas for a 14-hour flight

  7. N1120A Guest

    Airports are never, ever cold. Airplanes are never, ever too cold. I do take a sport jacket with me when I travel, both in case nights in a city get chilly and to carry stuff in the pockets.

  8. Beverly Guest

    My favourite hoodie has inside pockets as well as the outside ones. I find them perfect for stashing a passport or other items like a credit or debit card so you don't have to dig into your purse. The shape of the pockets is important because you don't want items falling out. Check it out before you buy.

  9. Kel Guest

    I am So team hoodie. I'm a sixty-two year old woman and a black hoodie is my go to for every trip.

  10. MJay Guest

    I concur . I also usually wear it under a blazer if I am traveling for business . Also for those that think they are juvenile or less elegant I buy what we call the CEO hoodies, I love the Theory brand. Try it folks very chic look

  11. T- Guest

    Agreed! A Hoodie is a must have when traveling. Unless I were traveling to a desert or other hot destinations in the summertime. They're great when one gets cold in airports & airplanes. Even better as a pillow or soft place to rest one's head. Great info.

  12. Lauri B Guest

    I have a cashmere hoodie I bought from Land's End that ticks every possible box a hoodie could cover. Exceptionally light weight, zipper front, makes such a comfortable pillow or cozy jacket through the cooler temps while traveling. I'm 56, and for me it's perfect for travel. It's material is elegant and luxurious.

  13. yas Guest

    https://www.vollebak.com/product/100-year-hoodie/ here you go lucky. this is my go to brand and solid. doesn't matter if I come back to humid hawaii or fly into the cold mainland or land in nasty heat singapore.

  14. Judy Guest

    Why do dog owners think their dogs are sad? How does a dog know a suitcase makes them sad? Looks to me like they want to go for a walk outside, in which that’s what dogs do they stare at you. Unlike babies they cry when they sense your leaving, I don’t like to compare children to animals, as some pet owners do, because there’s no comparison at all

    1. N1120A Guest

      Dogs are far more intelligent than you give them credit for.

  15. Derek Kerton Guest

    A credit card is top of the list. Then you buy a hoodie.

    Also: A ZIP hoodie is even more versatile. More suitable for variable temps. Easy on/off. Won't mess up your hair.

  16. iamhere Guest

    So what....This relates to nothing about points and miles. Probably needed an extra topic.

  17. Bee Guest

    I am frequently on 10+ hour flights. I also love a hooded sweatshirt for warmth and also for covering the orthopedic neck brace I wear for sleeping.

  18. Warren Kable Guest

    I use a polatech jacket very light, warm stretches and good fit.... Also l use it as a nice pillow.. And don't forget Merino socks and underwear... Been travelling for 40 years never travel without Merino even in hot climates. In the Philippines now

  19. JetSetFly Guest

    You should get an oblique hoodie (ask Ford. He knows exactly what I’m talking about). He will think you are stylish and oblique pattern is only inside of the hoodie so nice and discrete. 90% cotton and 10% cashmere to keep you warm but not overly warm. I know I love mine! ;)

  20. Holli Guest

    Good article, I was going to ask a question about the dog ..then I realized it was insensitive. Always bring a hoodie, seriously planes get cold also doubles as a pillow.

  21. glenn t Diamond

    I have a wash-basket handy for a week or so before I pack to drop things into that I might otherwise forget. The dogs are accustomed to seeing partly filled wash-baskets lying about (my bad!) so are not alerted.
    Actual packing happens the afternoon before a early morning departure, so it's then the hang-dawg mood starts!
    As a recent convert to HLO no matter the destination, only a regulation 4 wheeler cabin case...

    I have a wash-basket handy for a week or so before I pack to drop things into that I might otherwise forget. The dogs are accustomed to seeing partly filled wash-baskets lying about (my bad!) so are not alerted.
    Actual packing happens the afternoon before a early morning departure, so it's then the hang-dawg mood starts!
    As a recent convert to HLO no matter the destination, only a regulation 4 wheeler cabin case plus a smaller 'personal item' , both sitting near the maximum 8kg each are taken.
    Not a fan of the hoodie, but do take a nice somewhat expensive lightweight one for its water resistant qualities.

  22. Nat Guest

    This is a phase in becoming a parent. You lose that perfected ability to pack your own bag without forgetting something. It took me several trips to give up and make an essentials list for myself.

    1. Momo Guest

      I have traveled all over the world to 50 countries. I don't own a hoodie or intend to buy one.

  23. jane blogs Guest

    Wow, I don't even own a hoodie let alone take one on a plane! Hit up Uniqlo and get yourself either an inexpensive cashmere or even cotton sweater which will do the job and look much more stylish, Ford will be proud to travel with you And as already mentioned, their fold up jackets are a must for travelling anywhere! My travel bag has its own collection of toiletries, fold up jacket, computer accessories that...

    Wow, I don't even own a hoodie let alone take one on a plane! Hit up Uniqlo and get yourself either an inexpensive cashmere or even cotton sweater which will do the job and look much more stylish, Ford will be proud to travel with you And as already mentioned, their fold up jackets are a must for travelling anywhere! My travel bag has its own collection of toiletries, fold up jacket, computer accessories that literally never get removed so I am ready to roll. I do however agree that it has been a little trickier getting back into the swing of travel after the break. Also I agree with @JD Hohol - buy yourself some Possum while you are in NZ. You obviously don't need it in Miami but it is the warmest, softest gear you can get for when you are going somewhere cold - not cheap but worth it. Hats, gloves, sweaters, the lot & always in great colours too.

  24. James Guest

    Love my Hoodie
    Mine has Canada over it. I live in Toronto and it helps open chats to people.

  25. Ian Donaldson Guest

    I never fly and I took an A350 900 ULR from EWR to SIN (19 hours) and I was cold the ENTIRE time even though they have blankets. It must have been set at a lower temperature because the flight coming back wasn't nearly as cold!

  26. stu Guest

    Cotton hoodies and sweatshirts are very comfortable until they get wet.

    I suggest non-cotton clothing for travel.

    1. EK_engineer Guest

      Stu,

      The chances of rain (or for that matter thunder & lightning) inside an aircraft is quite low.

    2. CSJewell New Member

      I wouldn't think it's inside the aircraft that Stu is worried about it getting wet... It's getting to the airport (and possibly boarding an aircraft with no jetbridge - have done that before) that would be the worry. Maybe put it inside the carry-on if that's the case and put it on after you enter the airport?

  27. Kaylee Guest

    A lightweight, hooded down jacket that stuffs into its own pouch is indespensible to me. It folds up small enough to fit into my bag, then comes out to serve as pillow/extra layer/snuggle into and hide from everyone else on the plane.

  28. DEE Guest

    Most airports and lounges are very warm. I go thru Atlanta a ;ot and even the plane train underground is a HOT BOX...Never need a jacket on the plane either as If someone complains they ar hot the HEAT comes on and cooks all of the rst of us.. I wish they would tell people if you are cold close the vent over your head with the safety instructions....

    1. Sunny Guest

      A hoodie?...
      I guess I am old school. That falls right there with sweat pants and flip flops.
      I tend to dress like the lady scientists in the 50s sci-fi movies. The ones who no one took seriously until it turned into a crisis and they had to listen to her.
      I wear dress trousers, sensible shoes and a comfortable jacket or blazer.
      I think you can relax and be comfortable without looking like you just couldn't get a good pair of pants or a decent shirt on.

  29. Darren C Diamond

    A thin waterproof shell/jacket always accompanies me, to protect against wind in Chicago, rain in Singapore, or snow in Utqiagvik. I can layer underneath.

    Shells/rain jackets are extremely light, takes up little space, and is more stylish than a hoodie.

    1. Sunny Guest

      A hoodie?...
      I guess I am old school. That falls right there with sweat pants and flip flops.
      I tend to dress like the lady scientists in the 50s sci-fi movies. The ones who no one took seriously until it turned into a crisis and they had to listen to her.
      I wear dress trousers, sensible shoes and a comfortable jacket or blazer.
      I think you can relax and be comfortable without looking like you just couldn't get a good pair of pants or a decent shirt on.

  30. JD Hohol Guest

    In 2016 I was attending a conference in New Zealand and asked a friend to recommend something from NZ to bring home. He suggested a possum sweater. I bought 3 different styles. My favorite is a hoodie. It is unbelievably soft, warm and ultra lightweight. On your trip to NZ you should check it out. You won't go wrong. Here's the style I bought by McDonald: https://mikaelknitwear.com/products/possum-merino-mens-casual-hoodie

  31. Globetrotting Girl Guest

    For a neat conversion of hoodie to pillow, fold in the sleeves and body to the width of the sweatshirt hood. Then fold the body up into a neat square or roll and lastly tuck the body into the hood. Practice your folding at home before your next trip!

  32. Robin Guest

    Hoodies can be warm & practical, especially on chilly plane flights; However... As a mature woman in My late 60's, I find it's a really sloppy, juvenile look for Me... Thinking more of a layered, elegant look for Myself.

    1. JK Guest

      It's a sloppy, juvenile look for men in their 30s also!

  33. JB Guest

    I value my hair too much. Whenever I take off hoodies, my hair starts to feel really weird, and i dont like that feeling. I prefer jackets.

  34. John Guest

    Just use a light cashmere pullover, they are more elegant, warmer, more breathable and take less space than a cotton hoodie.

    1. Robin Guest

      I concur about the cashmere pullover; typically, I think younger travelers are less concerned about appearance, even to the point where they'll wear pajama bottoms and slippers while traveling.

  35. Linda C. Guest

    I find that a hoodie or sweatshirt is needed for the same reasons noted. I usually bring two. Essential is for sure.

  36. Ingrid Guest

    I am with you on this one I always where a hooded sweatshirt or jacket on any trip airline or train.

  37. Tony N Guest

    No hoodie. I'm going to look stupid.

  38. K4 Guest

    Strange you say airport terminals are kept cold. I find it quite opposite in the following places.

    LHR, T5 especially I’m always uncomfortably hot by the time I get to the plane, especially in winter when the heating is blasting.

    NCE airport France, the air conditioning is pathetic given how hot this city gets.

    DXB, given most of the UAE sets a/c s to quite a low temperature, the airport is strangely hot, and I always seem to be sweating in the lounge.

    1. N1120A Guest

      Exactly. I've never found an airport cold in my life.

  39. Annette Guest

    Always!!! I live in west Texas but airports and hospitals, 105* outside and people are looking at me on my way to Vegas for example, oh yes and something for the casino floor

  40. Lorraine Guest

    Oh yes I agree!! I was stuck in Miami airport coming from St John last week. When I dat stuck I mean 24 hours worth of delays and cancellations! What I would have given for a warm comfy hoodie in the freezing Miami airport and bitter cold plane! #hoodie

  41. Santos Guest

    A hoodie is always a good choice for visiting AKL and agreed it’s good to have in your suitcase for travel just about anywhere (freezing air conditioning in HK, lookin at you). I also bring a usb-powered mini fan I got on Amazon for super hot aircraft cabins.

    1. Bridgette Guest

      What a great idea! Next thought of that. I just hope it’s quiet enough.

  42. Raj Guest

    Wired earbuds, a close second.

  43. Duaneger Guest

    Hoodie has been my essential carry-on for the past 10yrs. Planes are too cold for me. And if I want to sleep, I let the hood droop over my eyes rather than wearing those eye covers.
    Uniqlo had some nice ones.

    1. Bridgette Guest

      I’m the same! In the past, one long haul international or red-eye flights, I used a sleep mask to get some shut eye but I find that pulling up my hood to cover my eyes is so much easier particularly if I want a quick snooze on shortly flights!

  44. Sam Guest

    Tip 2: If you like a soft lightweight hoodie, the alternative apparel eco-zip light weight (available on amazon) is a perfect shirt-weight hoodie that folds down to almost no volume in a carry on.

  45. Sam Guest

    I completely agree with you that a hoodie is an absolute necessity, and as a chaotic last minute packer who forgets things ALL the time, here's my trick:

    Hudson News (or the local equivalent). The same shops that sell $10 bottled water will usually have a corner of local souvenirs, and it will usually include a <$50 hoodie. This hoodie will be pullover usually (not zip up, which I prefer) and include the name of...

    I completely agree with you that a hoodie is an absolute necessity, and as a chaotic last minute packer who forgets things ALL the time, here's my trick:

    Hudson News (or the local equivalent). The same shops that sell $10 bottled water will usually have a corner of local souvenirs, and it will usually include a <$50 hoodie. This hoodie will be pullover usually (not zip up, which I prefer) and include the name of a local sports team or something weird. But I find them often to be a more comfortable fabric than I'd expect!

    I would have a drawer full of Hudson News hoodies if I wasn't also spacey enough to be constantly leaving them on planes.

  46. Mark Guest

    My dog is the same as Winston and he gets sad when he knows I’m about to leave. What I started doing is packing earlier than I normally would and then putting my bag in the car. Once I’m back in the house with him and following my routine without my bag, he forgets he saw me packing. When I leave the next day, he just thinks I’m heading on an errand and isn’t sad.

  47. Grey Gold

    I much prefer a Uniqlo down jacket. They come with their own bag. They are warm enough, but not too warm. They get very compact and much lighter than a hoodie. And they are waterproof. Personally I find them more versatile and mobile than a hoodie. But to each their own.

  48. Alan Guest

    Lol not even sure I own a hoodie I do travel with a jumper though so I've got layer options, however I find the main problem on planes is normally it being too hot rather than too cold!

    1. Donna Diamond

      I agree that most flights in my experience tend toward hotter than cooler.

  49. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Spend an extra $20-$30 and purchase a dedicated travel hoodie that is stored in your travel bag. I do this with a number of “must haves” for my trips.

    1. Linda C. Guest

      Really good idea!!! I do that with toiletries. Awesome idea thanks!

    2. Cam~ Guest

      A hoodie has worked well for Jimmy and he offered his advice to other flight travelers. Nice of him.
      Hoodies have also seemed to work out well for many of the comment community, too. So, to the nay-sayers; why the sarcasm and rebuttals? He merely gave his viewpoint about regretfully forgetting to pack his hoodie. He thinks it's the most essential travel necessity that he wants to share it's functionality with others, anroad...... a...

      A hoodie has worked well for Jimmy and he offered his advice to other flight travelers. Nice of him.
      Hoodies have also seemed to work out well for many of the comment community, too. So, to the nay-sayers; why the sarcasm and rebuttals? He merely gave his viewpoint about regretfully forgetting to pack his hoodie. He thinks it's the most essential travel necessity that he wants to share it's functionality with others, anroad...... a thoughtful gesture for the inexperienced, not yet, frequent flyer club. What's the problem with that? If his rave about flying with a hoodie sounds like good advice then, use it.
      Otherwise, passing on his advice would be the way to go but, I don't think it was necessary for anyone to leave a negative reply. Really? There was no need to go that insultingly far! Nobody has a right to be rude or disrespectful of the differences or choices of others. So what that his advice doesn't "fit" your age, status, hair crises or whatever else might be a deal breaker for you to wear a hoodie..... Wear what you want, take his advice or not but, leave any insults out of the subject of conversation. My viewpoint on this is that; It's not a hoodie some of you blatant haters need, it's a fricken life..... Take a flight!

  50. Shar Guest

    100% on point Ben. I don’t travel without my James Perse cotton hoodie, which is the perfect comfy wear for cool temps.

    1. Beachfan Guest

      I wear a long sleeve shirt and bring an LL Bean down vest. Much less weight than a hoodie.

  51. Donna Diamond

    No conventional cotton hoodie for me as it takes up way too much room in my carry on bag and backpack duo (I don’t check bags). I’m in the lightweight pullover cotton sweater camp which compresses easily and fits in a backpack pocket without taking up too much space and is readily available. For winter flights, I wear cotton layering tees that can be easily worn under a shirt.

  52. Mike Guest

    Lightweight Merino wool hoodie is my must have. Works in almost any environment. And can be worn for multiple days without getting funky.

  53. Joey Diamond

    I'm team hoodie as well! I don't think it's underrated though. If not using as a pillow, it can also be used for lumbar support.

  54. Hobbs Guest

    Bestow your wardrobe a lucky hoodie and you will never forget it again.

  55. Lee Guest

    REI has hoodie windbreakers that can stuff into a small pouch. Windpants as well.

  56. Mike C Gold

    Yup, Auckland daytime highs mid-high teens (low 60s on that 'other' scale) so short sleeves will be, umm, 'bracing' after south Florida. Much the same in Lima for that matter!

  57. Alvin | YTHK Gold

    Get one with Winston's face on it!

  58. AnishReddi New Member

    What about a pen?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Robin Guest

Hoodies can be warm & practical, especially on chilly plane flights; However... As a mature woman in My late 60's, I find it's a really sloppy, juvenile look for Me... Thinking more of a layered, elegant look for Myself.

5
Mark Guest

My dog is the same as Winston and he gets sad when he knows I’m about to leave. What I started doing is packing earlier than I normally would and then putting my bag in the car. Once I’m back in the house with him and following my routine without my bag, he forgets he saw me packing. When I leave the next day, he just thinks I’m heading on an errand and isn’t sad.

3
Sunny Guest

A hoodie?... I guess I am old school. That falls right there with sweat pants and flip flops. I tend to dress like the lady scientists in the 50s sci-fi movies. The ones who no one took seriously until it turned into a crisis and they had to listen to her. I wear dress trousers, sensible shoes and a comfortable jacket or blazer. I think you can relax and be comfortable without looking like you just couldn't get a good pair of pants or a decent shirt on.

2
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