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Staying Dry While Traveling

caught in the rain

*Image: You could end up like Brooke and her boyfriend: caught in the rain in Russia… unprepared!

Rainy days happen in travel, whether we like it or not, but it pays to be prepared when packing. Carrying a few extra items can make your rainy days and sweaty moments a little brighter. If you’re traveling to notoriously wet climates like London, Seattle or Bangkok, be prepared!


We’ll start with the most obvious items to keep you dry while traveling, your clothes. You don’t need a lot of waterproof items, since you still want to be able to pack light. A few basics will be all you need.

mountain hardwear epic rain jacketJackets: A waterproof jacket that folds up into a bag is ideal for traveling because you can throw it in your purse and be prepared. It’s the most reasonable option to keep dry. I was glad I had mine in Tropical North Queensland, Australia because it starts raining one minute and will be sunny the next, so I could take it on and off accordingly.

  • I Recommend: Mountain Hardwear Women’s Epic Rain Jacket for its durability and many color choices. The hood can also zip off. (Editor’s note: Can’t find this exact jacket anymore. Perhaps try this model instead.)

ponchoPoncho: A cheap plastic poncho is also easy to pack. You might only use it once and then throw it away, but you’ll be glad to stay dry. It’s a good product to bring if you’re planning on going to a music festival or similar event. Sometimes a trash bag can do the job just as well.

exo dri latticeMoisture Wicking Clothing: They keep out sweat as well as outside moisture, as Brooke told us. ExOfficio makes great wicking clothing, all that dries quickly in case you do get a bit wet. Wicking clothing can also be used for sports, not just travel.

  • I Recommend: ExOfficio Women’s ExO Dry Lattice Long-Sleeve V-Neck Shirt, $32.91 on Amazon, has Dri Release technology and dries four times faster than cotton.

Socks: Keep your toes nice and toasty with the right pair of socks. I typically wear Smartwool socks because they keep your feet warm when it’s cold outside and cool when it’s hot outside.

  • I Recommend: Smartwool Women’s Hiking Light Crew Socks, $11.87 on Amazon, because of the arch support and how they keep your feet from getting smelly.


Wet feet can take a day from bad to worse, especially in colder climates. While waterproof shoes can be a pain to pack, it’s all about priorities.

crocs welliesRain boots: While they take up a lot of room while packing, “Wellies” can keep your feet warm and toasty in places like London, known for their unpredictable weather. They can range in prices and designs, whatever your budget and personality may be. Hunter makes some of the most well known rain boots, but you can find cheaper alternatives.

  • I Recommend: Crocs Women’s Crocband Jaunt Boot, $28.15 on Amazon, because of the low price point. If they’re going to get beaten up while you’re traveling, you might as well buy cheaper shoes that get the job done. Plus, they come in some cute colors!

keen waterproof shoesWaterproof hiking boots: I will admit that waterproof hiking shoes aren’t the most stylish thing to wear, but if it makes you more comfortable, it doesn’t matter. If your trip takes you to the great outdoors or even the city, waterproof boots can save you a lot of misery.

  • I Recommend: Keen Women’s Alamosa Waterproof Multi-Sport Shoe, $109.95 on Amazon, because while it is higher in price, it is a multi-sport shoe, meaning you can use it for trail running, light hiking or walks around the city.


pack coverBackpack cover: If your backpack doesn’t come with its own case, it’s a good idea to purchase a rain cover. It prevents additional wear and tear on your backpack in addition to keeping your gear dry. Alison Suter told us how useful hers was in protecting her backpack from rain and getting the straps frayed at the airport. It also can protect you from theft. Some brands come with rain covers included, like Osprey. Other brands, like Kelty and Gregory, have them separately available for purchase.

  • I Recommend: Outdoor Research Lightweight Pack Cover, $28.27 on Amazon, because it comes in three sizes, depending on how big your backpack is, and it zips into a tiny carrying case.

mini umbrellaTravel Sized Umbrella: Some people would disagree with me, but I always pack a travel sized umbrella. It might not work in overly windy climates, but is the most effective way to stay dry. I will point out, however, that some TSA agents have been wary of my umbrella when taking it through security.

  • I Recommend: Totes Black Mini Folding Umbrella, $16.95 on Amazon, because it takes up hardly any room at just 7 inches but won’t break the first time you open it.

camera caseWaterproof camera case: Electronics can be damaged through moisture, so a waterproof case for your camera will save you lots of money.

  • I Recommend: DicaPac WP410 Underwater Camera Case, $24.95 on Amazon, because it fits most point and shoot cameras and is useful even if you’re not using it underwater.

How do you stay dry while traveling?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

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Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Scarves


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Splice Reversible Jaisalmer Tunic


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Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes


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Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack - Fits in the palm of your hand!
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack


Turkish Travel Towels


Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

Creative Ways to Minimize Your Toiletry & Beauty Kit – Practical tips alongside DIY recipes designed to help you pack lighter, smaller & with fewer liquids. (Also included as a bonus to Handbag Packing Masterclass.)

Book Your Trip

Viator – Enhance your trip experience by booking from thousands of tours across the globe. – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. […] Umbrella: Umbrellas are generally awkward to pack. There are several pocket-size umbrellas that can be packed or carried in your purse without much space-usage, but if you’re traveling to a place where you know it will rain and you’ll be outside in it, then take one that will offer better coverage. Luckily many hotels these days stock umbrellas for their guests. See other ideas for things to pack to keep you dry. […]

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