|Checking out my lists from previous trips, and perusing old photos to see what I actually wore.
I’ve been checking out packing lists from previous trips. Like the one below from our trip to Costa Rica in 2013. As you can see, I was just as concerned about planning a first aid kit as I was about what to wear. We always carry a travel first aid kit, especially when we go camping, particularly canoe camping when we’ll be in the bush far from… well… far from anything at all, actually. For our Costa Rica first aid kit, I used a great resource on the Government of Canada website.
|Costa Rica was a super easy trip to plan and pack. Only two weeks. One week we spent mostly around the pool, or on a beach or a boat. And one week on the road travelling into the interior for some hiking in the cloud forest. So… swimming attire, tanks and tees, shorts, jeans, a few pieces that could double as nice-ish dinner outfits, and one hot weather hiking outfit. Most items were things I didn’t mind getting sweaty or wet. What did I learn from packing for that trip? Always take my ski underwear, and a light fleece. We had one very cool night in a cabin in Santa Elena when I was happy to layer my long underwear under my sleeping attire and my fleece on top.
|On the road between Quepos and Monteverde, Costa Rica 2013
Three weeks in Florida in 2014 and four in France in 2015 were also relatively easy as far as planning and packing went. Well, except for my initial bout of worry about what to wear in Paris. But for the most part, I wore what I would wear at home. Jeans, tees, jackets, sneakers and sandals. Most of the walking on both these trips was in cities or towns, so I left my hiking boots at home and packed two pairs of sneakers. One pair that looked cool and one that was more fitness oriented. And even though we experienced a day of cold rain and sleet in Paris, and some hot days in Provence, I could just layer up or peel off layers, and change my sneakers for sandals as warranted.
|Planning lists for Florida 2014, and France 2015
I checked out my France packing list against our trip pictures to see what I actually wore and what I didn’t. Clearly my cropped jeans, striped long-sleeved tee, and my Stan Smith Adidas were what I reached for most often. This black Helmut Lang jacket was a great item. I wore it with jeans and sneakers walking around Paris, and out for dinner everywhere with white jeans and loafers. Similarly my red Columbia windbreaker came in very handy. I wore it every day in the north when we were touring WWI memorials, and also in sunny Provence when, even though it was warm, it was verrry windy. Next time, I’ll leave my denim jacket at home. I wore it, but only because I had packed it and felt I should. It’s bulky to pack and, although it provided an extra layer on cool days, a fleece would have been a more comfortable and more flexible option. Two things I learned about packing for this trip. What looks good, I’ll wear… and vice versa. And always pack a scarf.
|Paris near Notre Dame, May 2015
|At the beach at Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, Provence, 2015
|Rosie in Switzerland in her mauve and white tee, and plum cashmere sweater.
I learned some good lessons from the 2003 trip. The first is that Hubby needs far fewer clothes than I originally thought. The second is to stop arguing with him over why he never wears half of his stuff. And to pack less for him, which of course, leaves more room for my stuff. Win, win. Another lesson I learned is to always bring a light toque and gloves. For our day-long trek of the Tongariro Crossing, below, I could have used real gloves and a hat that didn’t fly off in the wind. It was bloody cold up there. Another lesson I learned is that if I don’t love an outfit leave it at home. I bought light-weight trekking trousers specifically for the 2003 trip, a tan pair and a black pair. They were good for hiking, but I hated them. Which leads me to my last lesson: if I don’t take fashion advice from Hubby at home, why oh why, would I take it from him when we travel? I bought the pants at his suggestion. And, as you can see in the shot above, spent most of the trip trying to cover them up with a jacket or sweater tied around my waist.
|Besides relying on my own packing experiences, I trawled the web looking for sites which feature packing advice for travellers to South America. This one is good for trekking, especially if you’re camping, which we’re not, phew, wipes brow with relief. This one has lots of information, and packing lists for all kinds of destinations, albeit geared to travellers a bit younger than moi. Okay, much younger. And this one, geared specifically for Argentina, is pretty useful too. Still, I find “packing lists” and “what to pack” advice interesting to read, but not that helpful when it comes time to pack my own bag. I never find one list that fits my exact needs. They usually apply to a shorter trip, with more dressy outfits than I need, and with much less diversity of activities. But, they’re useful as a guideline. Especially if written by someone who’s actually been on the trip. The biggest problem about these generic lists is that they don’t conform to my closet. I need to be able to parlay what I already own into a decent trip wardrobe, with a few new pieces bought specifically for my destination.
So, let’s recap. South America trip wardrobe planning so far. I’ve done my research. I’ve taken note of the lessons I’ve learned over the years on previous trips. I’ve made a list of activities for which I will need outfits. And the possible temperatures and weather we will encounter. I’ve reminded myself of previous trips and what I wore, what I packed but didn’t wear, and why. I’ve surveyed my closet, and drawers, and made a list of possible items I might take.
Next… comes the trying on, the keeping or casting aside, and the making of an “I still need” shopping list. Then I’ll draw up my final list of items to pack and possible outfits. Oooooh… such fun. I do love to plan.
I know it’s anal. I can’t help myself.
By the way, I hope you didn’t find the title of the post misleading. I’m beginning to have second thoughts about using the term “capsule wardrobe” for a trip like this… hot weather, cool weather, active wear, urban wear. Maybe two capsules would be more accurate? Cross-over capsules? Hmmm. I’ll think about that.
I also hope that you weren’t expecting to see my final packing list here. That’s a couple of weeks down the road yet.
Down the road… get it? Ha. Travel pun.
So how about you my friends? How do you go about planning a travel wardrobe?