International Travel is an undertaking. Eye-opening? Yes. Challenging? Uh-huh. Enriching? Absolutely. But it can also be an exercise in mind-bending and questioning long held assumptions – and that’s just the packing bit!
Now, there are not many things that I can claim to be an expert on (unless you count ‘Pony-tail Wearing’ and ‘Compulsive Cheese Eating’) but travel fashion? After ten years and 27 countries, I’ve got a few tips to share, if you guys are willing to look past the crumbs of cheddar all down the front of my sweater.
Thou Shalt Not Wear White Sneakers
Are they comfortable? Sure. But they are also deeply unflattering and mark you instantly as a clueless yokel who’s obviously ‘not from around here.’ And you have no excuse when there are so, so many other options! If you’re in an urban area, Adidas or Converse are always good. If you want something a bit dressier try, I cannot speak highly enough of Clarks ballet flats. They’re crazy comfortable, dressy enough for a dinner out and small enough that you could pack a few pairs.
Thou Shalt Reconsider Cotton
Yes, yes it’s the fabric of our lives and everyone’s girlfriend Zooey Deschanel seems to love it, but you guys? Cotton is heavy, dries really slowly and it’s not so great with the sweat-wicking. I know that artificial fibers get a bad rap, but if you’re trying to pack light, it’s worth considering the poly blend. You don’t need to splash out on over-priced specialized ‘travel clothes.’ Target frequently has cute, non-cotton button-ups and tank tops.
Thou Shalt Not Wear Print T-Shirts
If you’re traveling through an hip, English speaking country you can probably disregard this one but in rural India? or Paris? or Bolivia? you’re going to look a little silly. Also, in twenty years, you will probably be embarrassed that all of your pictures in front of the Eiffel towel also prominently feature your U of M t-shirt. Opt for mono-chromatic tops in dark colors that won’t show drips of olive oil or all the sweat from hiking along The Great Wall.
Thou Shalt Only Pack What Thou Can Carry
Ooooh, that’s quite the challenge isn’t it? But don’t you want to be that woman who whizzes through baggage check, rolling only her enviously small carry on? Annnnd, $25 richer because you didn’t have to pay any of those ridiculous baggage-checking fees we’re all saddled with these days. A good rule of thumb is to pack everything you think you’ll need. And then leave half of it at home. And then pack the remaining half into your backpack and carry it around the block. If you don’t break a sweat, you win!
Stayed tuned for part two tomorrow! What do you think of these ‘commandments’? Yay or nay?