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Let's Have a Cyber Packing Party


Evelyn Hannon

Part of the fun of getting ready for a trip is deciding which clothes to pack for your time away. Will it be your old reliable black pants or the new navy blue ones? Two pairs of easily launderable underwear or one undie for each day that you're away? All those decisions are usually easy. It's the culturally-correct clothing choices that often stymie us.

That's where your Journeywoman Network comes in handy. Each day, via e-mail, travelling women around the world choose to share their clothing tips with us. We read each and every one of those messages, then sort and choose the ones most appropriate for our readership.

In this article, everyone's invited to our Cyber Packing Party-- a time for sharing packing secrets, no matter where in the world you live. So let's start with the advice below and if you have something to add, please send us an e-mail with the word 'clothing' in the subject line.

Sunny days in Suzhou, China...
When traveling in Suzhou, a small town just outside of Shanghai, I noticed that none of the local women were showing their shoulders -- nobody wore tank tops or halter tops. Since I had packed mostly long tank style dress and sandals, I made sure to always wear a blouse as a cover-up over my dresses. This way I didn't offend anybody.
Cindy, San Francisco, USA

Smoggy days in Beijing, China...
If you are in Beijing in the summer or fall when heat and humidity are high, pack a pretty handkerchief in your purse. I used one to cover my mouth and nose because the air pollution can be intense at times, especially when traveling by taxi. When traveling in the countryside, wear plain, modest styles in darker colors. You will attract plenty of attention just by being a foreigner.
Brandi, Bowling Green, USA
Ed. note: When I was in China I wore gray, totally bland, uninteresting clothes all the time and was still swamped by attention. Imagine if I had worn a bright orange T-shirt!

Be sophisticated in Spain...
Spaniards are very fashion conscious people so always leave your hotel or hostel looking well groomed. Fitted clothing is preferred as baggy clothes are considered sloppy. Black is a favorite color. Don't wear shorts. Believe me, I know. I live here.
Rose, Madrid, Spain

Black in Australia & New Zealand...
Both Aussies, and Kiwi's wear an awful lot of black. Pants are equally correct to skirts. In Samoa, just buy a lava lava (sarong), and be sure and wear it over your bathing suit.
Susan, Tauranga, New Zealand

Travel light, travel smart...
I travelled to Madrid in November. The people here dress very well. Pants were ironed, clothes were not too tight or too loose. I saw a lot of black jeans and beige pants (not many blue jeans), the jackets and shirts were monotone, no design. There were no logo shirts that said "Nike" or "DKNY" across the chest. I would suggest wearing something very warm in November and no running shoes even though you will be doing a lot of walking. A wool scarf and hat would come in handy.
  P.S. Pack light. In most photos from that trip, I am wearing the same sweater but I had more energy than those with a set of matching luggage who had to take a taxi everywhere they went.
Nancy, Seattle, USA

Your bra is your purse...
A WonderBra is my favorite way to carry money--take the pads out and put the money in. Much nicer than a money belt anywhere in the world.
Becky, Michigan, USA

Turkey from a teenager's point of view...
When I travelled to Turkey I was very surprised. Their modest standard of dressing is often ignored in the 'touristy' area. I saw international sunbathers wearing only a bikini and sarong out doing a bit of shopping. These women were inevitably subjected to the usual whistles and unwanted attention we try to avoid when travelling. I believe that long sleeveless cotton dresses are perfect in Turkey as they are cool, while still respecting the local culture. Outside the tourist regions, it is advisable to cover up as much as possible. A fake wedding ring can work wonders for getting rid of any male attention, even for girls of 15 or 16 like myself.
Layla, Blackpool, England
Ed. note: Layla, to avoid problems, it's probably best not to wear sleeveless tops anywhere in Turkey. Read what happened to another travelling woman in the countryside.

A German woman's point of view...
Here's a lesson for all of us. Avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops when travelling in Turkey. My sister-in-law had stones thrown at her by farmers in Northeast Turkey, a very rural area.
Doris, Regensburg, Germany





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