Packing for a trip that goes from a week to a year is pretty easy, provided that you keep a zen state of mind. It’s all about keeping the bag as light and as carefree as possible so that you can focus on the import things, you know like enjoying yourself. Having a ‘light state of mind’ can involve some sacrifices and for some this can become a very emotional task. I spend a great deal of time on choosing my travel clothing. I need them to look good, fit well and be appropriate for where I’m traveling to.
Travelers should first figure out type of clothes are going to work out best and at the same time trying to keep the bag light. For myself, choosing pants is always biggest obstacle. My trip was going to be taking me to places where the temperatures didn’t go below 50 F and could reach 110 F and it could be dry or very humid. This meant the pants needed to be lightweight, easy to clean, wrinkle-free, the right colors and fit well. To my horror, and after countless hours of online research the unlikely match for me ended up being the unfashionable convertible travel pants. The kind that transform into shorts in a matter of minutes. I and many others associate those who wear them as being big travel dorks. I reluctantly purchased the pants since they were what I needed but oh so ugly and expensive.
These pants that set me back $75 USD soon became my only pants and for 6 months. When I wasn’t wearing them, I would wear the long skirt I had made for me in Vietnam. The way I saw it, who was really going to care what I wore and how I looked. In the Middle East, temperatures on most days went well over 100 F degrees. These pants kept me comfortable in the desert heat and protected me from the scorching sun. In the end, I found that without those convertible pants I could have never gone hiking inside the canyons in Petra in the middle of the day, walked down the streets of Damascus, seen the towering Pyramids at Giza or the inside of any of the numerous mosques and churches along the way.
For many, it’s difficult to figure out what to bring and to leave behind. Many refuse to buy the convertible pants because they are indeed ugly. Companies like Patagonia, The North Face and LL Bean have all put out a great selection of travel/hiking gear that are both light and fast-drying but basically produce the same style. If they would only put some effort into the style and look of women’s travel pants. We women need ones that don’t ride up and have a little more give to them. This should be simple, right? Myself, along with many other traveling women, are waiting patiently.