Picking your travel cloths for an extended trip is not easy and when you consider the big picture the right travel cloths can make your life a lot easier.
As a trip to any clothing store will prove the subject of clothing is a fairly broad subject so to start with we need to narrow the subject by setting a few important parameters.
TRAVEL LIGHT: If you’re traveling on a budget that means you have to travel light. Charlene and I try to hold our luggage to one carry on and one back pack. I hook stuff like my rain coat and my hat on the side of my backpack. There are some real life advantages to only carrying a back pack and a carry on. First, you won’t have to pay a surcharge on most discount carriers around the world. Second, you are more mobile, you can run to catch a train, ferry or quick connecting flight. Third, your motel rooms and cruise ship cabins are not completely cluttered by bulky suit cases. Fourth, you won’t be loosing bags on your flights. Lost luggage can really put a damper on a trip, with a carry on and a backpack those worries are gone.
GO WRINKLE FREE: When you’re traveling on an extended trip with limited cloths having cloths that don’t need to be ironed is a nice plus. I try to stay away from natural fibers that wrinkle and to pick shirts and pants that are made of synthetic or synthetic blend fabrics.
STAIN RESISTANT AND WATER WICKING: Because you’re traveling with only a few pairs of shirts and pants having them stain resistant is great. Also, when we’re traveling we are out walking and exploring a lot so the chance of getting rained on is a real possibility and having cloths that wick water make’s life a lot more comfortable. Having cloths that are manufactured from polyester or nylon accomplishes both these goals.
UV PROTECTION: We do most of our traveling in warm weather which means we spend a lot of time in the sun. Cloths that have UV protection make a difference, so it’s a good idea when you buy your travel cloths to check and see if the cloths you buy are designed with UV protection.
LAYERING: On any extended trip you’re going to encounter harsh weather. When you are traveling light having clothing for harsh weather gets complicated but the answer is the age-old technique or layering. You don’t have room for a bulky jacket when 3/4’s of your trip is in the tropics but if you pick your wardrobe carefully you can have a set of cloths that will form layers that will keep you warm enough to be comfortable. Two key elements in my travel wardrobe are my wool sweater and my rain coat. You don’t need a bulky sweater just make sure it’s wool.
DRESSING UP: If you’re attending formal night on a cruise ship or just going to nice dinner dressing is part of the fun of traveling. When you’re selecting you travel cloths plan so part of your wardrobe can act as semi formal clothing for when you go out for a nice dinner or a show.
So to recap, your choice of travel cloths should allow you to travel light. Your cloths should be wrinkle free, stain resistant and offer UV protection. Finally, you will want your wardrobe to layer for the cold and dress up for your nights on the town.
Once you look at all the realistic goals of a good travel wardrobe you see that it takes some thought to put together the cloths you need for your trip and somehow have them fit in a piece of carry on luggage. You could use some of the backpack but lets not forget along with all the cloths you will use for this trip you need to bring a dock kit, camera, computer, phone, power cords, and safety equipment like flash lights, a small first aid kit and a little suntan lotion.
I can’t tell you how to solve your wardrobe problems but I can tell you how I pack to accomplish these goals.
First, I’m a Bass Pro kind of a guy and almost every thing in my travel wardrobe was originally designed as clothing for fishermen. The fishing shirts and pants I buy are made from synthetic fabric which means they are very light and don’t take up much room in my luggage. It also means my shirts and pants are wrinkle free, stain resistant, water wicking and offer a high level of UV protection. The shirts I take have a collar and are button down so when you add a tie and a sweater they can be somewhat dressy. I also take different color shirts which Charlene claims, makes me less boring.
When I’m on an extended trip I take five shirts. That means, if I ware one shirt and I have four packed. Four of the shirts I take are button down fishing shirts, two of my fishing shirts are short sleeve and two are long sleeve. The fifth shirt I take is a polyester long sleeve “swim shirt”. My white swim shirt is a great layer for my wardrobe if it’s cold but also can double as a rash shirt if you’re playing at the beach, go snorkeling or diving. If you go with a swim shirt look at the polyester shirts, which are a little more expensive, and pick something with a very high UV rating.
You can find good quality fishing shirts on sale for $20 or less and you can find a good long sleeve rash shirt for around $30. I like Bass Pro but I have also seen the types of shirts I like on sale at stores like Costco.
Enough about shirts lets move to pants. I generally take three pairs of pants and a swim suit. I’m still a Wyoming kid at heart so I always take a pair of blue jeans. Because, blue jeans take up a lot of space in my carry on suit case I usually ware them on the plane or when we’re actually traveling. I will than pack my swim suit and two pairs of “Zip-off” fishing pants. Zip-off fishing pants can be bought at any sporting goods store. The beauty of Zip-off pants is you have long pants and shorts in a single piece of clothing. I look for Zip-offs that are made of light synthetic fabric so they pack easily and don’t wrinkle. Most of the Zip-off pants are designed for fishing so they also offer the additional advantages of UV protection and water wicking.
Because the “fishing cloths” I travel with are all made from synthetic fabric they ware like iron and look good enough to ware at semi formal occasions.
I mentioned, above, that I always take a light wool sweater. I go with a light sweater because it packs better and I can ware it when I dress up. I chose a wool sweater because it’s warm for layering. The only problem with my sweater is I have to dry clean or hand wash it.
I take two pairs of shoes. One pair of flip-flops and a pair of dress style leather walking shoes. When were actually on the move I pack the flip-flops and ware the walking shoes. It’s really hard to find a good pair of walking shoes that are comfortable, durable and dressy. One thing I have noticed around the world is people consider your foot ware and having a pair of polished shoes makes a difference in how certain cultures perceive you. I know, as an American, that seems old-fashioned but I still think it true. When I’m wondering thru an airport I have my shoes shined so even after a couple of years of wondering they still look good.
One last piece of clothing I want to talk about is my belt. If you travel long enough bad things will happen. Some rascal will pick your pocket or rob you or rob your motel room and there you will sit with no money and no ID. It’s one of those bad realities that we all have to live with. My answer to this nasty reality is my belt. My belt is a money belt. There is a zipper on the inside of my belt that exposes a long shallow pocket. In that pocket I keep both U.S. and foreign currency and a password protected flash drive with all my pertinent information including copies of all my necessary ID. On your flash drive you should store a photo of your driver’s license, and passport and all of the information you need to contact your credit card company and cancel your cards I also have my medical information and records so if I get hurt local doctors have my history. I also keep all of Charlene’s information on my flash drive. My belt is my insurance policy and no Geezer should go out the door without a well packed belt.
Simple things like the cloths you take can make a huge difference in the experience you have when you travel. In the “TRAVEL HARDWARE” section of the geezerswithpassports.com you will find articles on the items that you can take with you as you travel that will make your adventures more fun and less hectic.