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She Packs It and She Leaves It
her disposible biking wardrobe

Annie McKinlay of Hayden Lake, Idaho recently completed a 5 week bike tour of France and Germany. She strongly believes in travelling light and packs a disposable wardrobe.

Many weary travelers haul their heavily laden suitcases filled with dirty clothes through customs and wished their loads were lighter. To lessen this problem you can leave your clothes as you travel through various places. A disposable wardrobe is relatively simple, you just need to know how to pack it and how to leave it! It is a great way to make room in your bags for souvenir T-shirts.

Collecting Your Disposable Wardrobe:

The first place to look for clothes you may want to leave in other countries is your own closet. Everyone has T-shirts they rarely wear and a few pairs of pants or shorts that they wouldn't miss. Clean the closet and fill your suitcase.

Let friends know about your disposable wardrobe and you will be amazed at the amount of contributions you will get. Some people are excited that their clothes go to better places than they do. One friend gave me a brand new pair of underwear that was too small for her with explicit instructions to leave them in Paris!

Rummage sales, thrift shops and garage sales are an excellent place to find clothes. Some people have a hard time leaving clothes they paid full price for but can easily toss the rummage sale twenty-five cent T-shirt.

Collect throughout the year. Don't wait until a week before you leave to find your clothes. Keep a bag in your closet to collect your disposables year round.

Leaving Your Clothes Behind:

You would think leaving your clothes is relatively simple since we do it all the time without trying to, but it is sometimes difficult to dispose of your wardrobe. A hotel maid once flagged down my bus with a few T-shirts I was throwing away.

Leave your clothes in your room with a note telling the maids to take the clothes or give them to someone in need. This way the hotel will not hold on to them thinking you are going to write and ask for them back.

A disposable wardrobe not only makes your traveling easier but also helps other people. Many Third World countries are very grateful for your castoffs. A family in Jamaica was extremely pleased when I left everything but the clothes on my back for them.

So.... lighten your load and.... throw as you go!

Don't Leave Home Without....

Few people pack a travel bag more often than Sharon Wingler, twenty-seven year flight attendant, a member of the Journeywoman Network and the author of Travel Alone & Love It: A Flight Attendant's Guide to Solo Travel. (Chicago Spectrum Press)

Sharon's a list of essential small things I always pack. They definitely will fit easily into bike panniers.

Clothespin -- (or large safety pin) Great for closing drapes that don't quite meet in the middle.
Corkscrew -- Most countries produce their own wine. It's nice to have a bottle in your room to drink as a before dinner or bedtime treat.
Pocket Calculator --This is all you need to figure exchange rates in foreign currency.
Tape measure -- Pack a tiny one to help you figure out foreign sizing.
Washcloth -- Most overseas hotels do not provide these so come prepared with your own.
Candy to share -- Take along some individually wrapped candies - not chocolate if you're going someplace warm. Offer these to hotel staff, taxi drivers and others you'd like to be nice to. It's a great way to break the ice and meet new people.
Your "life story"-- You will meet many people in your travels. They will be as curious about your life as you are about theirs. It's nice to have photos to show of your family, friends and home. Include pictures of your pets, garden or hobbies as well as postcards of your town.

Interested in more eco-adventure stories?





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