General Clothing Comments
When travelling abroad and trying to conserve space in your luggage,
take clothes that can be used in a variety of situations. For example
I have a skirt that is made from wrinkle-resistant fabric and has
a drawstring waist so it is super comfy! It can pass as a casual
skirt and be worn with a tank top or T-shirt and regular shoes or
sandals, or if worn with a blouse it passes for something you could
wear out in the evening. It doesn't show wrinkles if you roll it
instead of folding it when packing, and comes in a number of colours
which can usually be found at any travel/outdoor type store. One
of the best purchases I ever made.
Adele McGuey, Bracebridge, Canada
Brown became my favorite color while traveling from Indonesia to
London. A brown, cotton, slightly loose short-sleeved blouse, with
baggy, very lightweight brown patterned rayon drawstring pants were
my main ensemble throughout Indonesia, Nepal, Egypt, and Turkey.
These clothes were comfortable in hot weather, kept me well-covered,
and didn't show dirt. Also, avoid all white underthings. Black bras
and panties are the way to go because they don't show the dirt after
lots of in-the-sink washings!
Anita, San Francisco, USA
Being trendy could give you away as a tourist. Low cut tops and
short skirts are a no no in some countries. Do your research and
see what is appropriate apparel for the places you are going to
visit. My advice would be to dress on the conservative side.
Sharon, Rohnert Park, USA
Be sensitive in Europe. Don't be so insensitive as to wear shorts
and tank tops into churches and cathedrals. These buildings are
in daily use by locals -- try not to offend them.
Jane, Highland, USA
Germany is getting better in the market of plus size clothing!
Don't despair...chic plus size clothing is out there! Especially
the nightgowns..it's always a treat to bring one home from Germany
since they are made with the nicest cotton...as well as undergarments...go
to the local department stores for those...they make beautiful white
cotton underwear in a multitude of sizes!
LouLou, Boston, USA
Large Size Clothing. I lived in Europe for three years. In many
countries, clothes up to size 48 or 50 (European) are available,
but tend to be matronly, and accessories can be hard to find. You're
better off bringing extras of "basic" items such as underwear. Helpful
hint: buy a tape measure in centimeters, measure yourself before
you leave, and bring your dimensions with you. Very useful if you're
in a drugstore trying to buy pantyhose and the size is listed in
Paula, Santa Fe, USA
Black clothing! This helps you to blend into the crowd and suddenly
you aren't the target of the machismo men that seem to prey on American
Maxine, Fort Nelson, Canada
The most useful item I always pack is a long, natural fiber lightweight
broomstick skirt. It is nice and cool in warmer climes, can be very
nice with a pair of nylons and leggings under it in colder areas,
and it doesn't matter if it gets wrinkled, since it's supposed to
be anyway. It keeps you conservative without looking bad or getting
too hot or cold. Also a large scarf is ever essential in Eastern
Europe for entering churches.
Liz, Sonoma, USA
When travelling in hot climates I always try and take a couple
of sarongs with me. They pack down small and can be used for just
about anything, skirts, dresses, beach towels, or even a blanket
Sandra Tooley, Boulder, USA
The best shoes for Europe on the off season are sturdy, comfortable,
black leather walking shoes. If you can tolerate wool, wear them
with black wool socks. (Wool continues to insulate even if it gets
wet.) With black slacks, and a nice sweater or jacket, you'll look
much more polished than you would in jogging shoes, jeans, and sweatshirt.
And you'll even be more comfortable, because your feet will stay
Martha, Cahors, France
Don't forget even in the warmer southern European countries to
bring a long skirt and a shawl or sarong to cover shoulders before
entering churches. A crinkly skirt can be rolled up in your daypack
and slipped on over shorts for modesty.
Molly, Seattle, WA., USA
I have noticed that travelling women who wear nice, conservative
clothing with maybe one or two daring items will receive the most
respect. For instance, nice slacks, a short sleeved shirt, and sandals
can be dressed up or down, and a tank top can be your "daring" item,
without looking provocative. At the same time, you can also be comfortable.
In addition to a comfortable pair of walking shoes, I suggest taking
along a pair of the "Chinese shoes" found in import stores and funky
clothing shops. They are made of canvas or velvet(dressier) in a
"Maryjane" style with hard rubber soles. Though not comfortable
for walking distances, these shoes are very light weight, cheap
(around $12US), take up very little space in your pack, and can
be used as dress shoes or as slippers. They can be stuck in a daypack,
purse or fanny pack in case you happen on a restaurant or religious
site where sandals, sneakers and the like are discouraged or banned.
To make them more comfortable, buy a neoprene mouse pad at an office
supply store (around $3US), and cut out insoles to fit your shoe.
Very cushy, especially at the end of the day when your feet are
Tracy Hamilton, Tallahassee
On a recent trip to Europe, I traveled in an acceptable, but no
longer desirable outfit and after all those hours of wearing it
on the plane, I left it in my first hotel room with a note saying
I had left it on purpose. On a more intimate note, I also saved
my old underpants and socks and discarded one pair per day, leaving
a trail and no dirty laundry in my suitcase.
Trisha, Atlanta, USA
I spent a month in Belgium and France in the summer of 1996 and
my main problem was not what I took to wear, but the fact that I
took too much. Also, I bought a new suicase for the trip. A beautiful
29" pop-up handle one with wheels. Quel horreur!!!! This is a suitcase
designed for travel in the US only. The train and metro stations
in Europe have stairs! Try "lugging" a beautiful piece of "luggage"
around Europe for 4 weeks. You, too, will want to throw it into
the Seine. Also, on trains that travel across Europe, there is only
enough luggage space for each person to place an extremely small
bag. These overhead luggage racks are definitely not made for U.S.
sized suitcases. My advice, which I plan to follow this summer,
is "if you cannot carry it up a flight of stairs, don't take it"!
I hope this saves a few women from making the same investment that
I did and not be able to use the piece of luggage for what it was
Deborah, Stockton, California