Packing for the rain forest
When I went to Venezuela, I explored the Amazon rainforest. It's
very very humid and very wet all of the time. I strongly suggest
that you pack a box of zip lock bags to store your clothes in. They
were a lifesaver for me because in the jungle you really have to
limit how much baggage you carry. I organized a shirt, shorts and
2 pairs of panties in one zip-lock, so that I could have one fresh
change of clothes for each day. The bags also help to store your
dirty humid clothes at the end of the day, so the rest of your clothes
won't get wet and smelly.
Gisela, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
North American tourists that visit the rain forest invariably
overpack. And what they do take is often hilariously wrong for the
climate. To find out what's right, click
Sandy Huff, Safety Harbor, Florida
As is the case in most Islamic countries, it is important for women
to cover as much of their body as possible in loose clothing. I've
found that in Pakistan, people are really appreciative of tourists
who wear the traditional punjabi dress, shalwar kameez. It's basically
a long tunic and baggy pants worn with a long scarf draped around
the neck or shoulders. You can buy simple, inexpensive cotton shalwar
kameezes in any market or clothing store. If you're going to Pakistan
in the summer, they're the best thing to wear.
Sabiha, Ann Arbor, USA
I've found that the best all-round outfit is a Western form of
the Muslim Shalwar Khamiz, a tunic top with a fairly high neck (doesn't
need to have a collar) that reaches to about the knees and has sleeves
to the wrist, and loose-fitting trousers that reach the ankles.
Good walking shoes on the feet and a long scarf that can be draped
over the head and shoulders completes the ensemble. The scarf is
necessary for Muslim countries. As a feminist, I don't of course
condone the covering up of women, but in remote areas of Pakistan
it is a courtesy to those who have not asked Western women to visit.
The main thing for women travelers to remember is that correct dress
should not be considered an option. In poor countries, where every
tourist uses up too much water, electricity, and food, it is the
least we can do to be considerate.
Carolyn Clarke, London, England
In ultra-orthodox countries like Yemen and Pakistan, Dress very
conservatively. I often felt more comfortable even covering my hair
with a long scarf.
I'm sending along this clothing advice based on my trip to Panama.In
spite of the heat, almost no one wears shorts in Panama City. Even
in the poorest sections, people wear long pants and appear to be
well-groomed. My advice is to wear cool slacks or a sundress in
the city so that you don't stand out as a tourist. I'm told that
this custom is a holdover from the days of Manual Noriega, who banned
the wearing of shorts in public because they were something the
Americans customarily wore.
Sandra G., Toronto, Canada
In 2003 I spent five months travelling in Central America -- Panama,
Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras-- a single woman travelling alone!
I read a lot of travel information on the area and they all said
that women should cover up, i.e. skirts or pants -- no shorts, to
avoid being harrassed by the local men. I found this to be absolutely
true. Some women I met complained about being followed, called names,
etc my local men, but they were wearing shorts! I never had any
run ins like that thanks to being properly attired while on the
street or travelling by bus.
Christine, Campbelton, New Brunswick, Canada
Papua New Guinea
If you're traveling outside the major cities/tourist traps, women
should stick to long skirts instead of pants/shorts. Not only will
this cut down on risks and offenses, but people will see you as
a person rather than a tourist.
Pete, Chicago, USA
Do not wear shorts in Papua New Guinea . Showing your thighs is
regarded as a "sexual come-on" in this part of the world.
Pat, Brisbane, Australia
Paraguayan day-to-day wear is generally very casual. But keep
in mind that the better you dress, the better you are treated --
especially in restaurants or malls or when asking for directions
or assistance. Jeans and a fitted t-shirt will work, but be careful
not to wear low-cut necklines or revealing clothing because this
will attract unwanted attention, stares, and even catcalls from
social deviants and, even old Paraguayan men. Also it is important
to note that in the city shorts are not common for women. Blondes
also attract a lot of attention here. Much of the dress code depends
on the season and fashion is strongly influenced by neighboring
Argentina and somewhat from Brazil. During the spring and summer,
clothing is generally white, light colors and lightweight skirts.
Fall and winter styles have become Bohemian. For men and even girls,
soccer jerseys are acceptable at any time, provided that you're
not rooting for the "wrong" team. For example, during
a Paraguay/Argentina game, Do not wear the Argentine colors of light
blue and white. Good luck and enjoy your visit.
Rebecca, Asuncion, Paraguay
I lived in France for a year. Many French women put a great deal
of time and energy into their appearance. They can spend hours on
personal grooming -- hair, nails, less is more make-up -- and deciding
what to wear. Even when they dress casually, French women give their
clothing a great deal of thought. They are taught from an early
age to make the most of what they have. If you want to blend in
but don't want to wear black I would recommend going for an "English
Country" classic look -- neutral blazers, jackets, suits, blouses,
skirts, dress pants, raincoats -- with special attention to the
details. The easiest accent is the neck scarf. And I did see women
wearing blue jeans in France -- at museums, on the weekends, walking
their beloved dogs -- even women of a certain age -- but the jeans
were crisply ironed and worn with tweed blazers, blouses and high
More on Paris, etc. back to http://www.journeywoman.com/ccc/ccc-f.html
I keep seeing posts advising Americans not to wear sneakers in
I agree with the part about not wearing sneakers to restaurants/out
at night to the theatre, etc. Yet it does seem necessary to be prepared
for a lot of walking -- whether around the Louvre, in the scenic
parks (such as Le Parc Floral w/ its wonderful music concerts) or
up and down the hilly area of Montmartre. Travel is much better
(and one is kinder/makes a better impression on the locals) when
one is not irritable and focused entirely on painful feet. Also,
I have seen pictures from Paris street fashion blogs of Parisians
and models too in Converse and other black sneakers. In Europe I
have seen Parisians and Londoners wearing more of the stylish skinny
jean styles with more formal or "flowy" tops. The Little
Black Dress w/ ballet flats is quite wearable too for more formal
occasions. Suggestion: wear ballet flats and bring heels in a purse
for Metro travel.
Audrey, SF Bay Area, USA
Just returned from Paris and want to pass along what women are
wearing this winter. Dark wool coats and jackets in many different
lengths accessorized with ruffled scarves, wool cloches and berets
are the choice of many women. Many young women wearing very short
skirts with boots and leggings and colored leg warmers peeking over
the top. Leave your high heeled ones at home. Flat boots in any
style keep you warm and sure-footed. It is cold in Paris and everyone
was bundled up but looked very stylish. Bring your fur if you have
one, the warmer the better. The most apparant fashion was the wearing
of black Buddy Holly style eyeglasses on women, men and children.
Lynne, Topsham, USA
See also Latin America
I visited Machu Picchu in late November and the daytime temperatures
were very warm so I recommend you wear lightweight pants and layer
your tops so during the heat of the day you can remove the outer
layer. Good tennis shoes are essential. Don't forget your sunscreen
as you can become sunburned very quickly high in the Andes Mountains.
Bridget, Houston, USA
Peru is a very poor country so it is dangerous (and in bad taste)
to show off expensive jewelry, designer clothing, etc. My girlfriend
brought an expensive leather jacket which was promptly stolen from
our hotel room. There is no need for dressy clothing in Peru because
it is a very casual place. In Lima and Cuzco, you may want a skirt
or dress to wear to a restaurant, but nothing like a cocktail dress
is needed. If you are going to Machu Picchu bring cotton khakis,
t-shirts and a fleece for the morning, depending on the time of
year. Remember the seasons are opposite of the USA. I went in September
so it was coming on spring. The mornings were cool and it got very
hot by noon and I would strip down to a t-shirt and jeans. By 3
PM the temperature starting dropping like a rock and by 4 PM I needed
my fleece. There aren't many restrictions about dress in Peru, but
if you overdress, you will look out of place. If you are taking
a raft ride on the Ollytambo (I recommend it), wear river pants
(waterproof khakis) and a pullover rain poncho. I stayed very dry
in this gear. If you are hiking, wear sturdy shoes but avoid the
heavy hiking boots which will slow you down. I wore Sketchers jammers.
Tennis shoes are okay, but there are a lot of rocks and it is rough
terrain. Make certain you have shoes with ankle support. Take a
small back pack for hiking, you will need it. You will want your
hands free for photo taking, etc. Always take spare batteries and
plenty of film for your camera because you won't have any place
to buy these things at the ruins. There is literally nothing in
Machu Picchu - no vendors, no hawkers, no concession stands after
you pass the front gate. Take water and sunscreen -- you are at
12000 feet! Also a sun hat with a wide brim and sunglasses are necessary.
Bottom line -- jeans and t-shirts with a fleece will carry you through
most of the trip.
Francesca, Steubenville, USA
In my visits to Peru I always try to fit in by wearing no name
brand stuff like jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirts and I don't wear
a lot of make up.....that's all I can say. People out there were
really nice to me and I never had any trouble with anyone. I loved
my visit to Peru.
Julie, Houston, USA
Women usually cover up -- avoid unwanted attention by sticking
to jeans/pants or knee length shorts/skirt with tops that have sleeves.
This is the general attire here. Polo tops are popular and very
comfortable. Natural fibers are the best for work clothing/suits
Louise, Sydney, Australia
I have lived in the Philippines before. If you are travelling to
this destination I suggest: any conservative outfit such as t-shirt
and long pants (lightweight but not transparent). No jewelry. Revealing
clothes attracts gropers, rude men and pickpockets. A handkerchief
is handy to wipe off sweats, or just to protect your nose from smog.
Jennifer, Orlando, U.S.A.
You can wear ANYTHING in the Philippines especially in the main
cities. Shorts and sandals work best with the weather
In Manilla people dress very well . Business women wear designer
clothes but they avoid black. P.S. If you are travelling with a
man you can pass this info along--Business attire for men may be
suits or at least white or light shirts with a tie. For social occasions,
men wear a "barong tagalog" or an open shirt.
Ruth Halcomb, Sherman Oaks, California
Ed. note: Ruth is Editor
of the newsletter, Network for Living Abroad, a resource for study,
work, living and travel abroad. It's great! Want to know how to
get a subscription? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because of the heat and humidity, try to wear lightweight clothes
made primarily from natural fibers, preferably cotton. Carry a collapsible
hand fan and use it when necessary. Take a flashlight, baby powder
and industrial strength deodorant. In a country where power failures
and reductions ("brown-outs") are frequent, a flashlight is essential.
In the Philippines, count on three to four hours of brown-outs (ergo
no air-conditioning) per day. If you are trying to conduct business
under these conditions, you'll be grateful you remembered to douse
yourself with baby powder before leaving your hotel in the morning.
Barb Ouimet, Montreal, Canada
Proper attire is very important in the Philippines. When going
to a bank, or other business foreigners will be better treated by
dressing in something more formal than shorts, flipflops and a tank
top. Foreigners that dress in beachwear everywhere they go will
be viewed poorly. When visiting a home, look for a row of shoes
at the entrance - this is a sign that you should also take off your
Joan, Tuscon, USA
Pack shorts, skirts and t-shirts. This is what I saw being worn
there as it is always hot, even after it has rained. But malls,
cinemas and hotels are all air-conditioned so that you will get
very cold in a shorts and t-shirt outfit. I suggest you carry a
light, cotton shawl (easy to carry and put in a handbag) at least
to protect your arms when you're indoors.
Issa, London, UK
Poland, Portugal and more...