Subject: Re: Travel wardrobe in a carry on
Hi Ziners, If I plan to carry on my bag, I take my little world with me in a backpack which is regulation size for carry-on. We ziners who live in northern climes have mastered the art of layering (out of the cold into an overheated store, office or restaurant). So pack with layering in mind.

I usually pack the night before I leave, but on a one month trip to Asia (hot Hong Kong, cold Beijing, tropical Thailand and moderate temperature Nepal) I had to sit back and think about what to take. I packed the following: 1 beach towel (doubles as a cover-up, blanket, pillow cover in so so rooms) 1 pair navy blue shorts 1 navy blue knee-length jumper 1 navy blue longish jean dress 1 bathing suit 3 t-shirts (navy, red, white) 1 oversize t-shirt for sleeping 1 pair navy blue pantyhose 1 pair black tights (doubled as trousers in a pinch) 3 rectangular silk scarves (for fun) 3 sets of underwear 1 pair running shoes (which proved to be totally useless) 2 pairs sports socks (again unnecessary) Recently I have added a black shawl to my packing.

The running shoes took up room on the outside pockets that I could have used for other things, and what was I thinking taking sports socks? I never wear either of these outside of the gym at home and I take a break from work-outs when travelling.

On the flight to Hong Kong I wore blue jeans, black t-shirt, cotton denim jean shirt, black socks, red Eddie Bauer fleece outer shirt, black Aerosole walking shoes. I now no longer wear/take jeans. They smell after a few wearings and can't be washed by hand. It's cotton pants for me. If it's cold, I slip on the black tights underneath.

Everything I took was interchangeable. I always buy new t-shirts, socks and underwear before travelling. I factor this into the cost - what's an extra hundred dollars when I'm spending thousands on travel? New clothes stay clean and fresh longer.

Yes, I was well and truly sick of the clothes when I returned home, but when I travel I don't think too much about what I'm wearing and if I look wrinkled, I fit right in.

One rule I always follow - and there aren't too many rules that I take notice of - is to colour co-ordinate. I'll be visiting Ireland in May and plan to pack as above (minus the shorts) but everything will be black and white with some colourful scarves in shades of red, because it will still be cool there and these colours will suit. I'll be in Languedoc in early September, where I'll lighten up with shades of green and black and perhaps throw in a few extra items - a short dress, a pair of black capri pants, a pair of sandals, because I'll be staying put in a house for two weeks.

I never take jewellry with me and keep my toiletries to the essentials (toothpaste and brush, shampoo, a few bars of soap, a roll of toilet paper, contact lense solution, aspirin, anti-histamines and calamine lotion (I never, ever leave home without them - they have saved me on many occasions). I leave the hairdryer at home. Some folks will have to travel with prescription medicines, which can be heavy.

I always travel with this in mind: If the Queen invites me to tea, I'll buy a suitable outfit. I'd have to anyway, there's nothing in my wardrobe at home that suits.

The only exceptions to my minimalist rule are cruises (pack to your heart's delight - the porter will take your luggage and you only unpack once), ski or golf holidays (who knew you would need so much stuff?) or when you are staying put for a few weeks and checking your luggage in cargo.

The bonus of travelling with a half-full suitcase is filling it up with the things you buy when you travel.

As an aside, I actually enjoy taking a few hours to sit in a launderette to wash clothes. Read the local newspaper over a take-out coffee and stop to relax. Sometimes when we travel, we don't take the time to reflect. Laundry time is a good time to write in the travel journal, send postcards to friends and family, read a book or just chill. After all, part of the reason we travel is to just chill.

Now if I could only figure out how to fit in the litre jar of peanut butter. Never travel without peanut butter, I say.

Lucy, Toronto