Laura Sutherland

April 19, 2011

Lindsey’s packing tips for international travel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Laura Sutherland @ 9:47 pm

Twenty-nine-year-old PhD candidate Lindsey Farnsworth has traveled extensively to foreign destinations. She’s worked in Ecuador and Bolivia and studied in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her most recent treks were to Bangladesh, India and Nicaragua.

“The best thing you can do is bring clothes that are plain and layer well,” she advises. “I’ve never been to an international destination where you couldn’t easily accessorize and fit in. Conservative is more important than trying to dress like you’re a local, especially if you’ve got my coloring. There’s no way I’ll ever look like a Latin American. Yet I want to be anonymous, so I try to look European as a way to blend in.”

“That means you don’t want your entire wardrobe to be pieces from REI (or Travel Smith) – If you’re all ‘quick dry’ you will look like an American tourist. Europeans tend to have more interesting accessories and use scarves more. They have a few more risky pieces, like one bold and bright article of clothing or colorful or unusually shaped glasses.”

“If you’re going to invest money in travel pieces they have to serve multiple functions,” she advises, “and a smartwool top is a good one with its four-season functionality. I’d also rather be hotter in something that breathes and is a dark color than looking dirty all the time in something that’s too light colored.”

When Lindsey travels for fun, she hikes, kayaks, tours cities and visits beaches, so she needs multi-purpose shoes and multi-purpose clothing. She wears Chaco sandals everywhere in warm climates. “You can get away with wearing them with skirts or tread through monsoon season without any problems,” she comments. “I’ve never been in a situation where I wished for a more sophisticated shoe, especially with the thinner, strappier models. “

Some of her must-haves for every trip – a rain jacket that fold into a little sleeve. “On an 18-hour bus ride from Dhaka, Bangladesh to the foothills of the Himalaya in India, the window molding next to my seat wasn’t sealed and water kept coming in. I put my rain jacket over the shoulder that was getting wet…and problem solved.”

“A sarong is another essential item. It can be folded around clothes to make a pillow, serve as a beach or picnic blanket or an extra layer for warmth and can be used to cover your head in places that require it. But look for something subtle with a small pattern” she advises, “so it doesn’t scream beach or tourist.”

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