The Article Of Clothing That's Worth Splurging On Before Your Next Trip

We often think of vacation as a time to rest, but if you wear a fitness tracker, you know that you can end up getting far more steps in while traveling than you normally do at home. After all, when visiting a new place, you want to move around and look at the unfamiliar sights. That means some serious walking, especially if you're visiting a destination notorious for trails and hikes. Plus, if you're vacationing in Europe, you're likely to find a lot of cobblestone streets or uneven paths. So, you need to pack the right shoes. 


Vacation and travel can be expensive, so often, we try to save money wherever we can. One place you should absolutely splurge before a trip, however, is on those shoes. More than most other clothing items, having quality footwear can mean the difference between a wonderful day in another city or country and a long night of putting ointment and bandaids on blisters. While you can get an inexpensive pair of pants or cheap sunglasses (which usually have UV protection these days), shoes are another thing entirely.

Why the right shoes matter on vacation

When choosing vacation shoes, go for comfort over fashion. You'll be walking a lot in the airport, so wear comfy ones for the flight (and avoid taking off your shoes on the plane). If you notice flight attendants paying attention to your shoes when you board, it's because they keep track of whose shoes might need to be left behind in an emergency. Try one pair of walking shoes and, for dressier occasions, a pair of nice flats.


The wrong shoes can also cause blisters, which come from too much friction between the shoe and the skin. As such, well-fitting footwear is a must. It might sound old-fashioned, but it's worth getting measured at a shoe store if you tend to have achy feet. If they still hurt after wearing the right shoes, you might also want to look at insoles. You can even get custom ones. They're pricey (often over $200), but you can get measured for them at a running store or get a kit online. 

Speaking of running, professional runners have a great tip: "Nothing new on race day." That translates to, no matter what shoes/insoles you're bringing, try them out and break them in before you leave for vacation. That way, you know if they're going to work out or be a nightmare. If you're wearing socks, try out nylon or moisture-wicking ones to help prevent friction. 


Preventing blisters on vacation and what to do if you have one

In addition to having the right shoes, breaking them in, and choosing moisture-wicking socks, there are a few other things you can do to prevent blisters and achy feet. First, flats are your friend. Cobblestone streets are no joke if you're not used to them, and it's easy to get a heel caught between stones and turn your ankle. If you have high arches, make sure your shoes have arch support. Those pretty sandals that are flat as a pancake might look cute, but in an hour, you'll likely be in pain. 


That said, you can still have issues if you're not used to walking as much as you do on vacation. To prevent blisters, you can skip the expensive anti-chafe sticks and use a dedicated deodorant stick to lessen friction. You can also coat your feet with petroleum jelly before you put socks on. Baby powder works as well. 

What if it happens anyway? Carry Band-Aids in your bag or pocket, and cover the spot as soon as anything starts to hurt, before it turns into a blister. If you do get one, wash the area gently with soap and water and dry it. Don't pop it unless you absolutely must for comfort. If you do, sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol and be very gentle. Never remove the skin. Put petroleum jelly on it and cover loosely with a bandaid to prevent germs getting in.