Globe-Trotting Simplified

Changes in Latitude knows just what you’ll need

By Anne Bliss   |   Photos by Phil Mumford

Whether it’s a Colorado ski weekend or a trip around the world you’re about to embark upon, you may tear out your hair over what to take and how to pack it. Fortunately, there’s help at hand. Opened in April 1993, Changes in Latitude Travel Store has become a favorite haunt for people seeking high-quality travel gear and clothing. 

In addition to stocking just the right pair of pants, packable sun hat or guidebook to a far-off land, the shop serves up excellent travel advice and hosts programs designed to help travelers understand the places and people they will encounter. 

Owner Cindy McClelland had years of experience in owning and managing outdoor-equipment stores in Nebraska and Alaska before taking off for nearly two years to travel around the world. Returning to the U.S., she found no stores that fully served travelers’ needs, so she decided to open one. After reviewing opportunities in several other cities, she chose to locate her store in Boulder, where she found interested travelers, a dearth of travel goods for sale, and a young population of curious students eager to explore the world. McClelland’s store serves its clientele so well that it has received the “Best of Boulder” award for the past two years.

Tourists & travelers

Changes in Latitude is “the best” because it serves both casual tourists and serious travelers, who may be somewhat different from those who fly to a beach destination to relax for a week or two. A tourist tends to interact with other tourists, and have a great time; but a “traveler” is usually a bit more adventuresome, wants to explore on his or her own, to get off the beaten track, to seek out hidden adventures even in popular tourist sites, and certainly to interact with local people and get to know them on their terms. Travelers learn that they don’t have to be afraid to experience new things: food (if the locals can eat fried scorpions, so can I), physical activity (how about riding a slackline or bungee jumping?), strange transportation (camels, three-wheeled tuk-tuks, or hollow-log canoes), or other adventurous, even scary, activities. Most of us enjoy being tourists and getting some rest and relaxation, but many Boulder County residents also relish the harder work of travel, either with a group or on their own.

No matter whether you’re a tourist and leave the planning to someone else or do it yourself, Changes in Latitude can help you find just the right equipment for the places you go, the things you do, and the climates or seasons you’ll experience along the way. 

Travel wear

Operating from an adventurous “boutique” perspective, Changes in Latitude is a one-stop shop for clothing for all reasons and seasons. Such garments as the Ex Officio “drilite” shirts and travel towels that dry in minutes, knitwear from New Zealand’s Icebreaker brand 100-percent washable merino wool, Cocoon travel pillows and TravelSox compression socks are but a few of the internationally recognized, highly packable brands that are offered alongside silky blouses, flowing skirts and dresses, well-tailored pants, and accessories for less-rigorous travel. The shop typically carries one of each size of specialty garments; thus, you won’t meet yourself coming and going. So, whether you’re heading for a safari in Africa, a backpacker’s trip across Bolivia, or a winter cruise in the Caribbean, you’ll be able to select appropriate, well-coordinated clothing.

Special services

Because McClelland has such a passion for travel she has hired eight employees, all widely traveled. Their practiced advice about travel to nearly everywhere on the planet is free for the asking. If they have not been there, they typically know who has, and may offer to connect you.

Such connections also can be found in the travelers’ network that has formed during weekly programs (often attended by 100 or more people) where travelers discuss experiences in various parts of the world. Recent programs have featured such varied topics as “Mountain Gorillas of Uganda,” “North Korea,” “Patagonia, Chile” and “England by Travel Boat.” These travel programs are interspersed with the store’s popular Packing Light Clinics that teach you how to stop hauling a huge load of stuff you may not use—or even how to travel around the world on 20 pounds of gear. In these sessions, staff members discuss luggage (the store stocks a wide variety), and what and how to pack to meet new airline baggage restrictions. 

Changes in Latitude occupies a very special niche in Boulder.  Whatever your next destination may be, whether you need a French phrasebook for a hosteling tour, a packable raincoat for that business trip to San Francisco, or mosquito repellent for a Madagascar adventure, you’ll find it at this locally owned and respected travel shop. As the sign over the service counter reads, “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends.” 


Anne Bliss works regularly in Chile and China, and travels widely. She recently returned from an around-the-world trip that included trans-Siberian travel on slow local trains.

Changes in Latitude (303-786-8406; www.cil.com) is located at 2525 Arapahoe Ave., in The Village. It is open 10am-6pm Mon-Sat and noon-5pm Sun. Free travel programs happen on Tuesdays (except Dec. 24) at 7pm. Visit the shop’s website to see a schedule of travel presentations or sign up for a monthly newsletter. The site also offers featured specials, links to PacSafe security products (which prevent others from stealing phone, passport and other identification information), and many other goods