Knowing what to wear (and therefore what to pack) when you travel the world is really important. It’s not just about how to dress in more conservative countries, although of course this is important. I was interested to note on my recent trip to Morocco that tourists visiting there dressed pretty much the same as tourists visiting, say, Mexico or the Caribbean. It was quite hot and sunny and I saw lots of women in shorts and sundresses. Morocco is a very tolerant country with a robust tourism industry so I guess they have accepted that sunshine + sand + blue skies = shorts and t-shirts.
However, it is not just about being cultural – it is also important to know what to wear (or not) for the activities you are going to enjoy (or not). Take camel riding for example. If you include this in your list of activities don’t wear shorts. Depending on the length of your camel ride (and I have heard of two hour camel rides) you legs will be worn through.
Or how about walks through the markets of Asia? Yup – you might want to ditch those flimsy teensy little sandals. Go for some solid Sketchers with closed toes or even the hiking boots will do. Nothing worse than getting “bits” in between your toes.
On an African safari leave the red dress at home, girl. There is a reason khaki was invented. It is to help you blend into the scenery and so you don’t startle the lions. And in Barbados, forget about the camouflage gear. It will be confiscated upon arrival!
Even going through security you should be clever with what you wear. Jeans with decorative zips – yeah you are going to be pulled over for body search. Scarves, hats, sunglasses …. why? Keep it minimal so you can breeze through as quickly as possible and not hold up the lines. Well…. not too minimal
Zippers and small change and just a few things that will slow you up at airport security.
For those who travel frequently airport security can be a breeze. They will have their electronics out, they won’t be carrying any fluids, there will be no loose change in their pockets. BUT ….. if they get stuck behind a newbie then they might be held up much longer than they expected.
Small change might seem obvious but what about zippers? – Not just the zipper on your trousers …. that won’t cause a problem. But those fancy jeans, trousers and jackets covered with decorative zippers – yep – those are going to set off the alarms for sure.
So keep it easy and wear sweats.
Of course if you are travelling for business then you can’t get away with sweats (unless you work for Google maybe) but frequent travellers have got this under control. For newbies here are a few tips –
- Have your boarding pass ready – a real old fashioned printed one. Forget about having it on your phone – it is a hassle. And double forget about having it on a smart watch. Just give the man the piece of paper – that works!
- Do you really have to travel with all those bottles of liquid? I can understand medication but honestly I have seen people go through security with large plastic bags full of bottles of liquid that they obviously cannot live without. Pack your liquids in your checked luggage. If you lose your luggage you have insurance (you do have insurance don’t you???? Seriously!) and you can buy new stuff. BUT … an apology to all those super heroes who travel around the world with carry on. I did it once (a 2 week trip) – I SALUTE YOU!
- Wear shoes that are easy to slip off. It sounds simplistic but how many times haven’t you seen people fiddling with laced up boots. Why? On the other hand – wear a pair of socks if there is a chance that you have to waddle through security barefoot – yuk.
- Ladies – leave the charm bracelets at home. Nothing more irritating standing behind someone who has to remove multiple pieces of heavy jewellery with difficult clasps.
Nothing beats that feeling when you are able to put one bag and your boarding pass in a bin and walk through security without setting off any alarms. Yay – success! I even read one frequent traveller’s story about how when he gets through security successfully he gives a fist pump in the air as a victory salute. He says that security see the funny side of this and he always gets a smile. I wouldn’t be too sure about doing that. It might get you into secondary before you know it!
I think I am a fairly experienced traveller. I have my packing cubes so I fold and don’t roll. I never take a purse with me – just my backpack and my smallish sized suitcase. I even have my favourite flat Sketchers that I wear while flying as there are no laces or bits of metal to set off the security alarms.
Heck I even dumped my laptop in favour of an ipad so I don’t even have to open up my backpack going through security. Easy peasy – until this last trip. It’s what you call being over-confident.
Yes I will admit that in the past I have tapped my foot and raised my eyebrows when people’s carry on is searched only to reveal that two litre size bottle of shampoo. Jeez, do people not read the signs. No liquids. C’mon people. Work with me here – we all have a plane to catch.
So imagine my surprise when I breezed through security at Madrid airport only to be asked by security if this was my backpack.
“Yes” I replied (maybe a bit condescendingly).
“Do you mind opening it up so I can check it?”. Well of course not. I have nothing to hide.
So she goes through my back pack – ipad, kobo, medicine bag, shawl …. and yes those few little gifts – a bracelet and a pendant. Oh… but what is this?
“Is this a dagger which I see before me”
Was my face red or what?
Not a dagger but a small lethal letter opener made in Toledo.
Next time I see someone holding up security I am going to shut the hell up!