Packing Nightmares.

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Packing has always been easy for me. I’ve packed for my friend who was going to be spending six months in Italy, and for another friend who was spending a week in St. Lucia for her honeymoon. I’ve even packed in a carry-on for a New Zealand winter and warm weather in Fiji. But, packing for my three and a half week Asian adventure is giving me nightmares, or at least it was.

To begin with, my biggest fear as a traveler is offending the people in the country I am visiting, nothing could be worse in my eyes. This is why I strongly mentioned “blending in” in my post, An American Abroad. Because I focus so much on this, I went searching for acceptable dress in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This is when I began to realize my dilemma.

Dress in Cambodia and Vietnam is very conservative and not just for visiting temples. People within the countries are almost always fully covered, which means no shorts or tank tops. I began to get nervous about how to still look good for all the pictures we’d be taking and maintain my style, while still managing not to offend anyone in the country. I also did not want to spend a lot of money on the clothes, because I would probably be leaving some of them behind to leave room for what I plan to buy while away.

So, after many trips to the mall, making many lists, and trying on many different outfits multiple times, I believe that I am ready to go. Here’s what I’ve learned (and relearned) through my experience.

1. Laying is key:
I bought a lot of dresses that I can wear when we got out at night. However, I also made sure they could work for during the day, so, I paired them all with a long, peasant skirt from H&M. By wearing the skirt over the dress, it creates a blouse-like top, with an appropriate length skirt. I will also pair this with an off-white, three-quarter length cardigan sweater.

2. Check out outlets:
I did really well at Guess and Banana Republic outlets. Cute, affordable dresses, that could easily be used for day and night wear with the switch of a few accessories.

3. Make sure the clothes you are bringing aren’t dry clean only:
I cringe upon reading the words DRY CLEAN ONLY. I thought I was all set to go, until I looked at the label of a dress I bought in the BP(Juniors) section of Nordstrom. Since I’ll be wearing a few of these pieces multiple times, I need to be able to wash them, which means dry clean only just won’t cut it.

After much trial and error, I was able to transform that disaster of a room into one clean line of basics hanging on a clothes rack. Next step, ironing and packing…finally!

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5 thoughts on “Packing Nightmares.

  1. sorry to butt in ^^;
    i’m a girl who’s living in Vietnam and
    “Dress in Cambodia and Vietnam is very conservative and not just for visiting temples. People within the countries are almost always fully covered, which means no shorts or tank tops.”
    this is completely false, false, false, ^^; i often go out wearing tank tops and shorts and there’s absolutely no problem with that, many youngsters wear that too, you only need to dress conservatively when you’re visiting pagodas or any religious places (actually jeans and casual t-shirt is okay)
    i hope this help. good luck on your journey ^^~

    • Don’t worry about butting in, I had no idea! Everything I read, said that dress was more conservative, and I didn’t want to offend anyone. Thank you for your advice, I truly appreciate it. If you have anymore advice for me, please let me know. 🙂

      • I agree with this girl. Tourists in genera are not expected to cover up except at temples and such. The locals mostly cover up for sun protection (they are obsessed with being lighter skinned) than for cultural/religious reasons. They know white tourists like to tan (though it baffles them WHY you want to be darker) so they understand we cover up less.

  2. I couldn’t help but notice the toms in this picture, and I just got the news that one of the CEOs of toms wrote a book called “Start Something That Matters.” It is available for pre-order and on sale on September 9,2011. Don’t worry, I already pre-ordered it on my nook! Have fun on your trip!

    • This sounds great!!! I hope that they are a reliable company. If the reading isn’t too difficult, maybe I could use it in my classroom. It can be my Three Cups of Tea replacement. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll have to pre-order it!

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