Plains, Trains, and Automobiles: Part 3 – Clothes

On a recent 3 week painting trip to Scotland and France I had to pack painting gear as well as clothes for 2 climates: Cool and potentially rainy Scotland, and hot and dry southern France. Everything was casual, but clothes are always tricky. Will I be going out? Do I want to look chic/cool, or just put together enough to get by without offending anyone?

In Scotland my hosts had clothes I could borrow which really, really helped. I didn’t need to pack Wellies but brought waterproof hiking shoes instead, which also doubled as my sneakers. I could have borrowed a raincoat if I needed it. But I found some resale shops (never underestimate the amazing finds in resale shops!) so I bought a raincoat with the thought it was inexpensive enough that I could leave it behind if space got tight. Plus, I needed one to replace a worn out one. I also borrowed a fleece. What I brought were 6 T-shirts – 3 long and 3 short, which I could layer when I was cold, a vest, a cotton cardigan sweater, a large flannel shirt that I use as a painting smock, socks (wool and cotton) and 3 pair of shoes. One I wore on the plane (clogs), 2 were packed (hiking shoes and super light Toms). I also brought 1 pair of jeans, 2 pair of shorts, and one summer weight dress shirt. I was able to do laundry and I wore shirts for a couple of days before feeling like they needed to be washed. On the plane I wore leggings with a long-sleeved top and a cami for extra warmth, and a scarf. This also doubled as my ‘going out to dinner’ outfit, and I could use the leggings for stretching and working out, or if the weather was really cold, as another layer under jeans.

What I found was that I wore all the clothes except the dressier blouse. Everything else got a lot of wear. I did manage to buy a couple of things along the way…Nothing I needed, but hard to pass up. And this brings up purchases that seem like they are ‘must haves’.

I admit I really like books. But damn…..weight wise they are expensive. I only bought a couple, and I’m glad I did, but the cost was my luggage was that much heavier. I was limited on my checked bag to 50 lbs. (40 lbs on certain smaller carriers). Any thing over that costs a lot of money, about $100. My painting gear already had significant weight and with cloths and supplies I was close to the limit. So that terrific ‘deal’ might cost very little until the extra weight fee is added on top of it.

So to sum up about clothes: 1) The less you pack and carry, the faster you can move around and the less likely you are to lose or forget something. 2) think in layers. 3) You can find amazing things in resale shops. 3) Think about what you REALLY need instead of what you would like to have ‘just in case’. Anything you pack should have more than one use or function. As long as you are warm/cool and dry, you will probably have enough. 4) Borrow what you can at your destinations.

For a good website with more pointers on packing and traveling light, OneBag is really helpful.

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