What to Wear When Traveling

1. Cruises

What It Means: Cruise lines target destinations when and where the climate is temperate. Ports-of-call, on-board attire, and captain’s dinners dictate the wardrobe.

What You Need: Except for the one or two formal evenings, cruisers need lightweight, comfortable garments that are appropriate for extensive walking in various ports-of-call or around large ships. Wear casual styles that can be dressed up for the required captain’s dinner or dressed down for such activities as whale watching and canal viewing. Bring separates that can mix-and-match and give versatility to your wardrobe. A Gussie Holloway proverb: “If a garment has a thread of gold on it, consider it dressy.”

2. Hiking/Trekking

What It Means: Weather extremes, with few opportunities for washing and drying clothing. Rugged terrain, often in remote regions.

What You Need: An efficient system of packable layers. Lightweight fabrics that dry quickly (after hand washing) are essential. Clothing designed for maximum freedom of movement must provide good wind, rain, and sun protection. Look for technical garments with air circulating mesh panels and fabrics that wick perspiration away from the skin through moisture management. Function outweighs style. Look for abrasion and tear resistant nylon fabrics that provide excellent durability.

3. Tropics

What It Means: Warm to hot weather with rain and humidity a likelihood. Intense sun and biting insects a possibility.

What You Need: A wardrobe that protects you from the sun and insects. Bring shirts with the option for long sleeves, expandable high collars and built-in UV protection. Plus, bring pants to cover your legs from the sun and bugs. Big brim hats provide sun protection too. To beat the heat travelers can choose breathable natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and tencel or choose 100% synthetics or blends that dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin.

4. Fall/Winter Travel

What It Means: Temperatures from mild to cold and with rain and snow a possibility. For the typical leisure traveler it means mostly urban travel with some countryside excursions.

What You Need: Start with moisture management fabrics for the base-layer such as silk or Coolmax. A second layer provides insulation with low bulk sweaters of acrylic, polartec, or medium density wools. The third layer protects from wind, rain or snow. Rainwear must be water repellent or water proof via fabric finishes or Goretex. Bring wool-felt hats, gloves, and good socks to cover the extremities. Finally, don’t forget the umbrella.

5. Safari

What It Means: Typically but not necessarily Africa; can also include Australian Outback and U.S. deserts. Generally warm and dry, with cool nights and possibly rain and wind. Little or no city travel.

What You Need: Rugged, seriously functional clothing that protects you from sun and wind with room for photo equipment, binoculars, field notes, sun and mosquito protection, personal water supply and other destination-appropriate gear. Keep under consideration that safari tour companies often ask guests to wear garments that are khaki or earth toned in order to blend in with the terrain, and that will not alarm animals.

6. Northern Europe and Temperate Zones

What It Means: Itineraries may include travel in urban and non-urban areas with visits to London opera houses, hikes in the Swiss Alps, and cruises to balmy Greek Islands. European tours often include the cooler regions of Northern Europe and the temperate Mediterranean regions.

What You Need: Lightweight, insulating, and versatile layers look good in the city and perform on more strenuous excursions. Unlined raincoats, base-layer long-underwear and lightweight sweaters aid in packing light and in keeping warm. Accessories such as scarves and costume jewelry dress up an outfit for any occasion. Remember that in general, Europeans are dressing less formally today.

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