What to Pack
Before getting too far on the subject, there is one thing that you'll need to pack that most people don't consider and that is a small, zip lock baggie of laundry soap. I'll get to why you'll need it in a minute.
These days, you need to think minimalist when it comes to packing for a trip. Consider that airlines are charging extra for bags, luggage gets lost, and all those sort of reasons, can just add more hassle to a trip. My first trip to Europe, pre nine eleven, I took three suitcases and a garment bag and my last trip, post nine eleven, I used a backpack. Don't groan. I am over 50 and if I can take a backpack to Europe, you can too!
No matter where you go, you'll need two pairs of shoes. One pair should be like the New Balance Comfort shoes that only weigh 22 ounces per pair. These are not Gucci but they are light, made of leather and have a construction that gives you support while you walk. If you get them from Travel Smith, a portion of your purchase will go to the Susan G. Komen Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Your second pair of shoes should be for evening or dress up occasions. Consider your trip and how much you will be on your feet when picking your second pair of shoes. Consider your heel height and decide how much you will be on your feet during the day so you pick the correct shoe for the evening.
Take whatever hose you feel is correct for where you are going. Your choice.
Underwear - two pairs of tops and bottoms, maybe three. You might be into thongs and going braless. But there will be times when you will wish that you had a pair or two of briefs and a good travel bra. You can use the laundry soap, mentioned above, to rinse the underwear out each evening and if you get the travel briefs that are nylon-spandex material they will breathe, wick moisture and fight bacteria for good odor control.
You should look for tops that do double duty. There are classy tops out there that have a built-in bra so you do not have to worry about bra straps. The underwire and seamless built-in cups come in many sizes. If you are going to a hot climate, you might want to check out camisoles with built-in bras too. I have seen them made out of Cool Max fabric that keep you cool and dry and come in a variety of colors. The sizes of camis are 34 to 42 B, C or D.
You might also look for reversible clothing. Most of it is made out of knit, so they are cool and comfortable and pack well. They come in jackets, tanks and skirts. The outfits are mix and match, so you can get a solid color on one side and a print one the other. Check around as the colors and sizes vary from store to store. This seems to be a woman only style, as I have not seen men's clothing that is reversible in some time. If you know of some places that carry men's reversible clothing, drop me a line.
While thumbing through a "Real Simple" magazine while at my doctor's office, I saw a feature about Cotton City Shirts with Nano-Tex. Supposedly, stain free that will repel oil, wine, coffee spills and other "slip of the lip" disasters that I always seem to attract. Now there is a shirt for me. The material is 45% rayon and 55% linen and packs well. I had never heard of them before, so I Googled "Cotton City Shirt" and found them in several web sites. Available for men too!
Many of the places I have stayed have good hot water. You know, for some reason, I always manage to get the ice cream cone with the top scoop that falls off and lands onto my shirt. Having laundry soap in my travel bag comes to the rescue and the people at the next stop never know that yesterday I had a BIG chocolate spot on my shirt.
You can send me your questions or comments on my bio page. My next article will be out shortly.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune, the Bella Online Budget Travel Guy
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