Packing for a vacation/trip can be quite tricky. You may be one of those folks who takes everything but the kitchen sink (i.e. my 16 year-old-daughter) or travel as light as you can (i.e. me). Obviously, destination plays a key factor in travel wear, but there are many ways you can pack light and still have the clothes you need and want. And men, this column isn’t just for women -- you will find tips as well.
My friend, Jeffery Laign, editorial director of the Fort Lauderdale-based The PPI Group, which publishes Porthole Cruise Magazine and other cruise-and travel-related publications said, “"I've traveled to more than 70 countries on every continent. In recent years travel has become more difficult and cumbersome. That's why I try to do everything I can to lighten the load -- literally,” He continued, “The less luggage I lug around, the less likely I am to waste time in long lines. By packing sensibly and efficiently, I can get by indefinitely with one small carry-on bag."
Many veteran travelers have downsized to one suitcase and a carry-on at that, keeping in mind the new luggage restrictions in place at airports like no liquids, gels etc.) That may be a bit extreme for some of us. Still, the lighter the load, the better.
Choose actual “travel wear”
We are lucky -- many clothing companies now have clothing lines specifically for traveling. What does this mean? It describes clothes that are made in fabrics that don’t wrinkle so easy, can be compressed for ease in packing, wash and dry quickly, and mix-and-match with other items easily. Two of my favorites are Travel Smith (www.travelsmith.com) and Chico’s (www.chicos.com). TravelSmith carries both men and women’s clothing plus has wonderful other travel essentials as well.
Kathleen modeling Columbia shirt
Laign’s favorite brands are Ex-Officio (www.exofficio.com) and Columbia Sportswear (www.columbia.com). “The best stuff to buy is clothing you can wash in the sink that will dry overnight or sooner: underwear, socks, shirts -- a Polo, a button-down, a couple of T-shirts,” he said. Like Laign, I find Columbia makes great clothing, especially for casual and adventure activities.
Choose a color scheme
Yes, guys, this applies to you, too. Just as building your regular wardrobe around a color scheme helps, so does choosing travel clothing using this method. For my recent trip to Ireland, I mixed play with fancier events so I needed to be able to mix my wardrobe as well. I used black, always a good base color, and added to that. I traveled in black jersey pants, not very dressy but not as casual as sweatpants and a whole lot more comfortable than jeans.
On an international flight or long car ride, comfort is a key issue. The pants were also handy for other casual happenings. For a step-up from those, I wore Super Slimming Linen Pants from TravelSmith. Don’t worry; they don’t wrinkle like your everyday linen. Add a pair of Travelers No Tummy Pants by Chico’s, a bit fancier still, and you don’t need any more slacks. These pants are fancy enough for any occasion with the proper top.
Add a couple of black jackets like the Pack N Go Shirt from TravelSmith or the Travelers Reya Jacket from Chico’s (dressier). Throw some camisoles or tops with bright colors to jazz up your outfits or stick to black/black patterns. I like both the Coolmax Sweetheart Cami top and the Pack N Go Geo Print shell, both from TravelSmith.
One key wardrobe element that I found (and this time men, this isn’t for you) is a UBU travel jacket. This innovative company makes tops and jackets out of silky, crunchy material that just doesn’t show the wrinkles, packs small and can top anything. Some are reversible, doubling their use! I threw in a black knit skirt that I already had in my wardrobe and I was good to go.
For play time, throw in some khaki shorts, a white top, and your bathing suit. A large scarf (I like the Night Flower Shawl from Chico’s) can keep you warm on the plane, dress up your black dress and act as a sarong over your swim suit. In packing, roll everything to prevent wrinkles, wear one of your slacks, tops and jackets and bon voyage.
By Kathleen Ganster
Kathleen Ganster may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.