A great packing tip for backpackers is to roll each
item of clothing, then keep them rolled up with
the help of an elastic band. When you open your
backpack, and have to rummage around for an item
at the bottom, you may still create a mess, but
your clothes will still always be rolled. This prevents
the need to refold/reroll your clothes each time
you open your pack. It saved me a lot of time and
Carmen, Vancouver, Canada
dad was a pilot...
My dad was a commercial pilot who flew worldwide
for thirty years and he knew everything about travel.
One of the simplest but very important packing tips
he taught me is this: When you are moving from one
location to the next and are packing your bags,
first check your bed-sheets then underneath the
bed for any items of clothing. Then either make
the bed or throw the spread or cover over the entire
bed and check for any bumps (items you might have
missed). Then place all your bags on the bed and
repack. This has been my habit since I was very
small and it has saved me from losing or leaving
behind many of those "crucially important" belongings.
Dinah, Concord, USA
Went to Rome for 8 days over New Years. Rome
turned out to be the warmest city in Europe during
this period--cool (48-54 degrees F), intermittent
clouds and sun. Little rain. Took one 25" rolling
suitcase. Long microfiber raincoat with button out
lining--stylish and functional. Black pants (black
is always "in" in Europe), cotton turtle neck shirts,
and vests for extra layer. Also wore silk long johns
which were light, not bulky, and offered extra protection.
Polartec gloves, two pairs of black shoes with thick
soles, and a long scarf. Felt more in style than
I ever have before. Layers were the key and offered
opportunities for all kinds of combinations.
Carolyn, Oakland, USA
I travelled to Paris in December and learned
that a scarf is a great accessory. All the women
there wear scarves -- every color and any material.
I promise you that by the time you get home you
won't know how you ever got by without one in the
past. Younger people in Paris do wear sneakers occasionally,
but European sneakers are not the same as in the
U.S. -- they look a lot more like bowling shoes.
Expect plenty of high heeled boots and leather pants
on women of every age. And, always remember -- to
look truly like an American tourist in Paris, just
wear a baseball cap and hang a camera around your
Julie, Rockhill, USA
Ed. note: I have
a present drawer -- a place where I store gifts
that I buy when I'm travelling. Then, when the gift-giving
occasion presents itself, I have lovely things to
choose from. I find that Paris is a perfect place
to stock up on scarves. The variety is huge and
there's something for every budget.
Advice to students. Pack light. Don't pack very
many tops and buy local t-shirts in inexpensive
street markets along the way. This gives you the
fun of shopping and bargaining (if one top is $10.00
then two are usually $17.00, etc.). Shopping this
way also helps you to fit into the local fashion
scene. If any of these tops survive both your trip
and the laundromats along the way, then share the
"fun ones" with girlfriends back home.
Betsy, Winnipeg, Canada
wear pants in Syria...
I lived and travelled alone in Syria. It's a Muslim
country so dress modestly. Prostitutes wear pants,
which means that if you don't want to be hassled
it's best to wear a loose, skirt. Shorts and bare
shoulders are unacceptable in public places. Sleeves
should come down to at least the elbow. By dressing
modestly, I found that Syrian men were very respectful
to me. I wore a long skirt, long-sleeved white blouse,
and a hat. A Dutch traveller took my picture in
the ruins of a desert city because she said I looked
like "a turn-of-the-century lady archaeologist".
Heather, Chilliwack, Canada
Europe go easy on make-up...
I suggest you don't really need makeup in Europe.
While in Paris and London, we rode the metro and
ate out a lot, so I had plenty of opportunity
to observe the locals. We noticed that very few
European women wear make-up. If you do wear make-up,
I recommend sticking with mascara and a little
Stephani, Phoenix, USA
coat do I pack?...
I travel internationally for business a good percentage
of the time. Trying to find a coat that works for
semi-dressy situations, as well as at a mill work
site and in the city can be a problem. You need
warmth, water resistance, wind resistance and, if
you are like me, style. Style is important because
this is the outermost garment people see and judge
you by -- considered most important in countries
like Italy or Japan. For this reason, I have found
that good quality leather coats tend to be the best
option. These are not "biker" style jackets --my
favorite is a 3/4 length that goes well with pants,
suits and is just long enough to look OK with a
skirted suit, too. The best part is that leather
doesn't get dirty when I have to climb around a
building site or when I am travelling long distances
on a train. A spill can usually be cleaned up easily.
Linda, St. Charles, USA
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