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!