When I was planning what to pack for my RTW trip, one thing that I was definitely sure I wouldn’t bring was a pair of jeans. I brought 2 travel pants with me instead due to the following reasons:
1. Jeans take up a lot of room.
2. Are heavy.
3. Hard to wash.
4. Take a long time to dry.
I focused too much on the disadvantages that I didn’t realize until about 7 or 8 months on the road that it actually makes sense to bring a pair along with you. The advantages:
1. They look good and go with pretty much anything.
2. You can wear it pretty much anywhere. There may be times when you want to go to a nice club or a nice restaurant where travel pants may not get you in.
3. You don’t really need to wash them that often. You can easily wear them for 1 month straight without washing and no one would notice. Even small stains won’t really be that noticeable. This article even mentions people washing their jeans for the first time after 6 months!
4. Low maintenance. The more you wear your them, the better they actually look. You can abuse them until they have enough holes that it may actually look like you got a new pair. No fixing necessary.
5. Blend in. In a lot of places, especially bigger cities, you’d look a lot less of a tourist if you’re wearing jeans as many people around would be wearing them as well. You won’t stand out as much as you would in travel pants.
6. Keeps you warm in cold weather. I tend to avoid cold places as I’m not really equipped for them. But once in a while I end up somewhere very cold and wished I had warmer pants with me. An example was when I did a tour of the salt flats of Bolivia. It was very windy and very cold and the places we stayed in didn’t have a heater.
I ended up buying a pair of Levi’s jeans when I was in Buenos Aires (which, by the way, cost about 2.5 times more than the MSRP in the US) and I now wear them most of the time when I’m in a city. They fit me well, look great, and they let me blend in better.