Travel agents and tour operators nationwide were asked to make suggestions on what clients should bring for their vacations to various parts of the world and the answers were pretty interesting.
What it boiled down to was:
- Wear layered clothing
- Bring neutral clothing
- Bring plenty of sunscreen
This is how it broke down by destination:
Africa (East African Safari): Safaris require comfortable, casual clothing in light and breathable fabrics. Styles should be versatile and colors should be neutral. Bright colors and whites can startle animals in hiding. Black, navy and dark colors tend to attract insects. Camouflage attire is illegal in game parks and reserves so avoid any camouflage clothing. Bring comfortable walking shoes with low heals and, preferably textured soles for traction.
Alaska: Dress like an onion- with plenty of layers to peel off. While temperatures can range from the 40’s to the 80’s, from sunny to rainy, always bring a waterproof jacket and pants, sturdy shoes, a fleece or sweater to layer under the jacket, sunglasses, camera, and a hat and gloves.
Caribbean Islands: While usually warm and humid, cool and comfortable clothing is usually your best bet. Bathing suits and cover-ups are great for during the day at the pool and the beach but not to wear into town. Bring along some dressier clothes for evenings out at nicer restaurants. If you are at an all-inclusive resort, most will require men to wear long pants and closed shoes to dinner. Please note: camouflage attire is not allowed in Barbados and St Lucia.
Caribbean cruise: The word for daytime attire is comfortable and casual- shorts and tee shirts, bathing suits and cover ups, sneakers or flip flops. Please be aware that there will be other cruisers around you who may not appreciate your thong bikini in the dining room so please plan on wearing a cover up if you are anywhere other than on the pool deck. Dinner and evening attire is a bit dressier depending on the cruise line. Check with your travel professional for the expected attire for dinner. Do bring looser clothing for the end of the cruise as many of us tend to put on a few extra pounds. Bring a sweater or light wrap for evenings since it does tend to be cooler in the night clubs and dining rooms.
City Stays (Paris): With distinct weather seasons, it’s suggested to check for typical weather and an extended weather forecast before packing, to tailor what you bring to the expected forecast. Summer essentials include comfortable lightweight clothing, sun glasses, sunscreen and a hat. In winter, bring a warm, windproof coat, gloves, hat and scarf and extra socks. Comfortable walking shoes are a must in any season. For evenings, dresses for men and a jacket and tie may be good choices for some of the nicer restaurants in town.
Disney World or amusement park vacations- While hot and humid in the summer, Orlando can be downright chilly in winter months, so the time of year should be the deciding factor in what to pack. First and foremost, bring comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen. Lightweight clothing is the best for the summer months while jeans and a light jacket work well for the cooler months. Rather than getting soaked for $10+ for a souvenir rain poncho, consider buying one in advance at the dollar store back home. A tote bag for jackets, change of clothes, towels, extra sunscreen is always a good idea and can be put into a locker at the park.
Great Britain and Ireland: Comfortable clothing that can be layered to match the weather. Include comfortable shoes and a rain coat or poncho. Some of the more deluxe properties and restaurants will require men to wear a jacket and tie for dinner, so if that type of property is on your itinerary, come prepared.
European Cruise: First and foremost, bring comfortable shoes. You will be doing quite a bit of walking on uneven pavement in Europe so you need to be prepared. Comfortable clothing that can be layered is ideal for touring in Europe. If you are going to be touring any churches, conservative clothing is required. For women, a blouse or top with sleeves or a shawl to cover your shoulders and a skirt or capris or slacks that cover your knees is appropriate. Dinner will be a bit dressier with business casual or country club casual appropriate for most evenings. There may be a formal night or two on your cruise so check with your travel professional before leaving.
Hawaii: With so much to see and do in each island, comfortable clothes and sunscreen is a must. Shoes can vary from flip flops to hiking boots depending on your activities. Evening attire in 90% of the restaurants consists of nicer shorts and a Hawaiian shirt for men and skirt, capris or nicer shorts and nicer sandals for women. If you are planning to go to the summits of Haleakala in Maui or Mauna Kea on the Big Island, be prepared with a heavy jacket, gloves and long pants. It is 30-40 degrees colder there than by the beach.
Motor Coach Tours: most tours will limit guests to one suitcase so mixing and matching is key
Europe: Getting through a 10-15 night escorted trip means being able to mix and match, wear and re-wear and making the outfits look different by adding a different scarf or tie. Pack neutral, lightweight, soft cotton clothes that can be layered. A must for women would be a knee length neutral colored dress that can be dressed up or down as needed. (Rayon skirts are great and roll well). A pashmina or light wrap will take up less room than a sweater or jacket. Canvas wedges are great for comfort and will dress down the skirt or dress while one pair of dress shoes will dress it up. For men: khakis, polos, white shirts and one blazer and tie. In general, it’s worth investing in a few pieces of lightweight travel clothing from companies like Travel Smith.
India: Sun protection is a must, especially between March and October. Don’t forget a hat and light comfortable clothing.
Middle East (including Israel and Egypt): Plan to “layer and peel”. Temperatures can vary, even in the same country, so pack short sleeve shirts, long sleeve sweaters and light jackets to layer and peel as needed. Wear sneakers or other cushioned shoes for walking on cobblestones. Bring rubber shoes for wearing at the Red Sea and the beach. For women, a shawl is essential for covering shoulders at religious sites.
- Neutral colors work best for mixing and matching in most climates
- Skip the baseball cap and logo clothing. You don’t want to stand out as a tourist.
- Leave the expensive jewelry at home
- Bring purses or back packs with zippers that can be wrapped around your body to keep your valuable safe from pickpockets.
- Consider investing in a money belt to carry your money and passport safely under your clothing.