Consortium for International Education & Multicultural Studies
Information Worth Noting Before You Pack
Fashion vs Comfort:
In the continuing conflict of image versus comfort, most experienced travelers choose comfort.
The more you leave at home, the less you will have at risk. Think about what you will need and what you will be heartbroken over if it is lost or stolen.
The most important item in your luggage will be your shoes. Make sure your footwear is in good condition, waterproofed (or oiled with mink oil) and well broken in. Select shoes that are sturdy, with non-slip soles. Bring along some lambs wool or bandages to prevent blisters. Plan on wearing shoes at all times since protozoa, fungi, and worms enter the body through the skin, and often through your feet. Open toed shoes and sandals aren't very functional in some areas. Bring slippers or shower shoes, etc. Some foreign homes won't allow street shoes in the house and going barefoot is really taboo! Be prepared. Bring along wool or cotton socks. Chances are you'll be doing some walking and you might find yourself changing your socks more often.
Most natural fabrics (cotton, denim, etc.), stand up to laundry methods around the world - but not delicate items and knits. Pack some fine washable detergent and hangers and wash some items yourself. Don't bring clothes that require dry cleaning. Choose items for their lightness and washability.
Coordinate your wardrobe around one main color. Choose separates that can be mixed and matched. Scarves, belts, and costume jewelry can change your look. You may notice that women in other countries dress up more than they do in the U.S., especially for dinner in a restaurant. Although pants are acceptable the world over, you may want to bring along at least one skirt if you expect to be eating frequently in restaurants. Dressing with dignity is key in many foreign cultures.
If you'll be traveling to a country that has altitude fluctuations or temperature extremes, plan on layering clothes (i.e. turtleneck, flannel shirt, nylon wind breaker, light t-shirt, shirt/blouse, sweater combinations). You can peel off layer-by-layer as the day warms - replacing each layer in the evening. Most countries do not have central air/heat, so you'll feel the temperature changes more.
Items the streamlined traveler often does without include pajamas and nightgowns (a t-shirt will do); bathrobe (a raincoat will serve just fine); fancy clothes and expensive jewelry.
The ideal raincoat is crushable, dark in color so that it never shows dirt and looks great on you at any given time. Raincoats that can be folded, rolled and stuffed into your suitcase or carry-on are ideal.
Bring a hat. A beret or wool hat for cold weather, a crushable hat with a visor or baseball cap for sunny climates.
The black rubber galoshes people wear over their shoes are perfect for traveling because they take up little room in your suitcase, will save you from wet, uncomfortable shoes, and are easy to tote around daily in case of a sudden rain storm.
You may want to wear your bulkiest outfit, suit, heavy sweater or overcoat the day of travel. Pack one more complete, coordinated set of clothes, for a total of two complete outfits. Women should not include dresses in this formula, which are less versatile than separates. Many women travelers claim that a full-skirted, comfortable dress is great for flying.
Knits are also ideal. A jogging suit is also comfortable on the plane (but carry a change of clothing in your carry-on).