Any time someone asks me for advice on what to pack for a trip, one of the things I always tell them is a hat. For many reasons – all of which are listed in this post – I always pack at least one hat in my suitcase. This post covers the best hats for travel, my favorite hat styles, how I wear my hats, and all the reasons why I believe a hat should be an essential part of your travel wardrobe.
(Another) Pro Fashion Tip:
I always recommend investing in some good “staple pieces” for you wardrobe. A staple piece is an article of clothing that is made well, versatile, timeless, and something you will get a lot of wear out of. I have some hats from Gigi Pip that I love as staple pieces because they are well-made, good quality, and will last me forever.
Five Reasons You Should Always Pack a Hat When Traveling
1. A Hat is The Perfect Statement Piece
I love a good statement piece. My closet is filled with statement pieces: sparkly boots, sequin crop tops, big bold earrings, and of course, hats.
When you travel, you want to pack outfits that are cute yet functional, but you are limited to the amount of clothing items you can throw in a suitcase. A cute statement hat will accentuate any outfit – even something as simple as jeans and a plain tee – and give it that “pop” you are looking for. A hat is the perfect thing to take an outfit from “everyday” to “oh, look at her!”
What Are Good “Statement Hats?”
I have found that the best way to use a hat as a statement piece is to pick something that:
- Adds a pop of color – I love incorporating colored hats into otherwise neutral outfits
- Is a unique style – a good lieutenant hat is one of my favorites!
- Is a classic style that commands attention – Fedoras are my favorite hat style because they are classy, stylish, and go with a wide variety of outfits. Even the simplest fedora can be a statement piece.
My Favorite Gigi Pip Fedoras:
Another thing I love about Gigi Pip are the decorative bands that you can buy to change up the look of your hat. Most hats either come with a removable band or no band so you can accessorize it however you want!
2. A Hat Lets You Re-Wear an Outfit and Make it “New”
If you are someone that wants to save room in your suitcase or not need to check a bag, you probably want to be strategic with the clothing items that you bring. If you are planning on re-wearing some of your outfits but don’t want it to feel like you are, a hat is the perfect solution.
Tossing on a hat lets you take the skirt and tee you wore 2 days ago and turn it into a whole new look. Bonus points if you pair it with different jewelry and/or shoes. It seems like a minimal effort, because it is, and that’s what makes it so great! In terms of taking your look to the next level, adding a hat is the easiest thing in the world to do.
- For a great example of how I did this, jump to This Section below!
3. A Hat Will Save You Time Getting Ready
Don’t feel like doing your hair this morning? Running late for your brunch reservation? Want to wake up early and explore that new city with no tourists or people around? Throw on a hat AND GO!
I especially love doing this if I curled my hair the night before. Often times, I will wake up and my hair will be flat and some of the curl will have fallen out. A hat still lets your hair have its ✨moment✨ while disguising that it actually looks slept-in.
If you want to save yourself even MORE time, bring a pair of sunglasses so you don’t have to do your eye makeup. I love a good sunglasses/hat combo because it’s cute, you are still photo-ready, AND you are doing your skin a favor by protecting your eyes and face from the sun. We love a good triple threat out here. 😉**snaps fingers**
4. A Hat Will Protect Your Face From the Sun
I already alluded to this, but protecting your skin from the sun is so important that it needs its own section.
I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. Sunny, warm climates are my favorite, but the sun can be incredibly damaging. That’s where a hat comes in. A hat is great to keep the sun off of your face when you are walking around a new city or on a hiking trail. On my most recent hiking adventure, I wore a baseball cap every single time I went out, and my face did not get sunburnt (my shoulders weren’t so lucky!).
- Pro Tip: No matter what, I always wear sunscreen on my face. My current favorite is this Shiseido sunscreen because it is lightweight, has a good smell, and contains hyaluronic acid.
- Pro Tip: I’ll never forget the time I was working as a retail pharmacist and one of the other pharmacists with me said, “ever since I turned 30, I have been very strict about having no sun on my face.” Her skin was beautiful, and that statement always stuck with me. Like many people, I wish I would have implemented that rule when I was younger.
5. A Hat Serves a Purpose (More Than Just Looking Good!)
I love taking a winter holiday vacation. Many people like to go where it’s warm in the winter, but I have recently become a fan of taking a holiday trip somewhere that is decked out with Christmas lights, decorations, the works. Of course, you need to pack accordingly thanks to the cold weather, and that’s where a hat comes in!
I love taking beanies with me when I go on winter trips. They are not only functional in keeping me warm, but they also add to the winter-chic aesthetic that I have grown to love.
The 2 photos below are a great example of how you can get away with different fashion looks while minimizing the things you pack. You can see how just by throwing on a different pair of boots and a different color beanie, it changes up the look of this white jacket, which is the same in both photos.
- Fun Fact: I took both of these photos myself using this tripod camera – a must-have when you’re a solo traveler!
How Do I Pack My Different Hats?
As you can imagine, fedoras aren’t the easiest things to pack. When a fedora is well-made, it has a stiff brim, making it not easily bendable (and, therefore, not always easily packable).
I’ll be honest with you: If I am bringing one of my good hats on a trip, there’s a 99% chance I will be wearing it on the airplane so it doesn’t get crushed in my bag.. Once I get in my seat, I take it off and put it in the overhead compartment until I land. Is it a pain? Kind of. But not as much as having a crushed hat!
If you would like to carry your hat and you don’t have another carry-on bag you need to worry about, Amazon has this travel hat case that is made for cowboy hats and fedoras! I don’t have one (yet!), so if you purchase one, let me know how you like it in the comments!
The good thing about Gigi Pip hats is that you can re-shape them using a steamer if they get crushed! I try to conserve space in my suitcase, so I don’t pack a travel steamer unless absolutely necessary. This is why I elect to wear my hat so it keeps its shape!
Hats That Are Easy to Pack
Hats I WILL throw in my suitcase include baseball caps, lieutenant hats, beanies, bucket hats, and berets. If you know that you need a hat for your trip and you want something that will easily keep its shape, go for one of these options.