General Clothing Comments
I've traveled in Asia and Central America. My advice is to forget
tank tops unless you plan to wear a shirt over them and always carry
a hat. I usually pack 3 piece outfits - a shirt, a skirt and matching
t-shirt. In many cultures (ie. Thailand), bare arms are not acceptable
anywhere except on the beach. The hat is necessary for respect (as
in churches), a sun shade or for warmth. I always pack a wide brimmed
canvas travel hat (add a scarf and it can be dressed up a bit).
I've been surprised by the number of compliments I have received
from locals about my hat.
Barbara, Kitchener, Canada
I always pack fast drying underwear. While these are not the most
attractive briefs, they will dry in an hour. Especially while travelling
in hot, humid countries, drying cotton underwear can take days.
Mine can be towelled dried and hung up or even put on very slightly
damp and will dry on the body.
Barbara, Kitchener, Canada
When packing stick with basic, solid colors that coordinate easily.
Bring clothing that can be used in layers and can be mixed and matched.
(You won't need to pack as much) For Europe, stick with tan, navy
and black. For tropical climates, stick with white, tan, khaki.
In both cases, use scarves, jewelry, hats, etc. as accent colors.
Or perhaps wait and buy those things while you are there.
Sherry, Bristow, USA
I've travelled in many countries. My advice is: long, wrinkled
"broomstick" skirts are ideal in almost any situation, including
those where pants/shorts are not appropriate. They can be cool in
hot climates, or layered with leggings in colder places. Secondly,
it's a good idea to wear a light jacket or sweater wrapped around
your waist in case you want to enter a church where bare arms are
not allowed, or you visit unexpectedly cool places (catacombs, wine
caves, over air-conditioned restaurants).
Sally, Fort Worth, Texas
Women of size take note -- When travelling in France or Italy,
I'd highly recommend that you bring all of the undergarments and
pantyhose that you'd ever need. Trying to find stores that sell
plus-sized clothes abroad can be like looking for a needle in a
Keisha, Philadelphia, USA
Ed. note: Has anybody found good plus-sized
shopping anywhere abroad? Click here
to send the details. We'd love to know.
I have a plus size shopping tip for London. For large size clothing
try Evans Outsize shops. Not cheap, but they have a wide variety
and you can get good buys on sales. I have a wool/angora sweater
in beautiful shades of blues/greens/purples that is at least 10
years old, washes well and still looks like new.
Travelling in developing countries and not sure what it is appropriate
to wear? My advice is try to find two or three different very motherly
looking women and ask them what they think is best...and ask several
times in several ways as many cultures will not give a direct answer
to a direct question because they believe it is not courteous.
Norma, Santa Maria
I pack very little---no more than three to four changes of clothing.
However, they're all mix and match, and mostly dark colors to blend
in with European locals more. I love fabrics that are relatively
wrinkle-free like supplex and microfibres, and try and take garments
that will get me everywhere. For instance, lightweight knit pants
and a tunic top with a scarf will be perfectly comfortable for a
day of sightseeing, but will also get you into St. Peter's Basilica
(most churches in Italy require arms and knees to be covered), and
take you out for dinner in a nice place. I have one pair of good
walking shoes, and a dressier (but still comfortable) pair of flats
for evenings. But definitely pack light! I bring one carry-on bag
and a small day pack---even when I'm gone for a month. It makes
such a difference, especially since I travel solo; I'm the one who
has to schlep the luggage around
Mardee, West Chester, USA
In most of the European cities we went to, people dressed fairly
well -- casually elegant. I often felt underdressed in my t-shirts
or sundresses. Next time, I will take nicer clothes, so I won't
look like such a tourist!
Sonia, Victoria, Canada
When planning your travel wardrobe, bring and wear only what you
are comfortable in. On a recent trip to Scotland, I brought only
slacks because they were significantly lighter than my customary
jeans. I ended up borrowing my friend's pair of jeans as often as
I could. For me, the little extra weight in my suitcase is worth
Fiona, Melbourne, Australia
The first and best thing a woman should buy when travelling in
hot climates is a sarong. They're cheap, versatile and beautiful.
I use mine to lie on at the beach, use as a table-cloth, sheet,
towel, skirt, dress, bag, scarf, headgear and pillow/cushion!
Anna Leger, San Francisco, USA
If you are travelling with a friend coordinate items with each
other, so you can swap! It makes for lighter travel, more variety
and less laundry when you get home.
Kimberly, Gregory, Australia
If you are travelling light and there is the possibility of having
to hand wash clothing -- avoid cotton -- it will NEVER dry (with
hand wringing) and will be a sodden mess in the bottom of your suitcase,
backpack, pannier, etc. Instead invest in shirts, socks, underwear,
etc made of "wickable" materials, such as polypropylene, "Drylene",
or other common brand names -- these materials absorb perspiration,
wash easily and dry very quicky. Pants, shorts, and even some shirts
made of nylon fabrics can also be easily washed and dried, without
wrinkling. Cotton is great when you have access to laundry facilities
-- otherwise, leave it at home. I recently travelled by bicycle
in Ireland for 3 weeks, and didn't need to be hauling around any
extra weight -- this was the best tip given to me.
Patti Maguire, Anchorage, Alaska.
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