The One Clothing Item You Should Always Travel With

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Minimalist travel is never easy. Condensing your entire wardrobe for a two-week trip full of unknown variables is a daunting task. What if it rains? What if it's blisteringly hot? What if you run out of underwear or find that you find you desperately need those sneakers you decided to leave at home?

Finding versatile items that serve more than one purpose is the best bet to make packing a breeze. You want to prepare for all kinds of weather and activities without cramming fifteen different outfits into your bag. That's where a classic long-sleeve work shirt becomes your best friend.

No, Not a Dress Shirt

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We're not talking about formal button down dress shirts — though those have their place if you're embarking on a work trip or planning on a nice evening out. Rather, I always make sure to travel with a long sleeve utility or work shirt that has many uses on the road.

Flannel, chambray, linen, or thick cotton, a utility shirt is a great travel choice for both men and women. Depending on your style, these shirts make for a fashionable addition to any suitcase. But it's really the sheer variety of ways you can wear such a shirt that makes it so valuable on the road.

Button it Up or Leave it Open

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Button up the shirt and wear it by itself or throw it on over a t-shirt for an extra layer on a breezy day. Use it as a cover-up for the beach or to keep the sun off your neck when strolling around the city. Slip it on over a dress or tank top if you need to cover your shoulders while visiting a sacred site. And if you can't stand wearing the same exact outfit in every travel photo, pull out this shirt as an extra accessory to make an outfit feel brand new again. If all else fails, wad it up to use as a pillow while on the train or waiting for a bus.

It doesn't matter if you rock a chambray or denim shirt, a flannel, or a nice cotton button up, the trick is to find a shirt that comes in a solid color so it goes with multiple outfits. Thicker fabrics tend to work better on the road, as they don't wrinkle in a suitcase and can function in place of a jacket if you're expecting a light chill. They pack up nice and neat, taking up more room than a t-shirt but less than a jacket or sweater, and they can function as either, making this versatile item worth the purchase.

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