The “fashion” of long-term travel

When we were getting ready to leave Winchester to start our 4 months of travel in South America, one of the most common questions I heard was “How are YOU going to pack??”  It wasn’t a general question of how does one pack for 4 months away… it was a very specific question about how was I, a girl who loves clothes and accessories, going to survive 4 months in the same few outfits.

It was a valid question, and one I gave a lot of thought to prior to our departure.  The point of travelling is often to be more adventurous and to go outside your comfort zone.  And sharing one medium sized suitcase and one small duffle bag for 4 months was definitely not in my comfort zone!  I have literally packed more for a week away than I’ve packed for this entire 4 month trip.

And now, a month into our trip, I have to say that I’m very pleased with my packing.  I gave a lot of thought to each item that went into the suitcase and so far I’ve found almost everything useful.  Here’s what I’ve got:

T-shirts– I packed three identical light-weight t-shirts from the Gap.  These are my everyday wear and I have gotten tons of use out of them so far.  They’re light and they don’t show dirt, which is KEY when you’re only doing laundry every 3 weeks!

Other shirts– I’ve got a selection of other, slightly nicer, tops for when I want to dress up a little in the evening or when I just don’t want to feel super grubby.  These have really come in handy when we’re in the cities and I want to look a little less like a backpacker.

Trousers– Bare-bones here.  I’ve got two pairs of black trekking trousers, one pair of jeans and a pair of grey shorts.  The jeans are mostly worn when we’re in cities and the trekking trousers are worn the rest of the time.  I’ve also got a pair of black comfy-pants for PJ’s!

Syracuse gear– Because, I can’t NOT bring some SU gear!  Plus, the t-shirt is great everyday wear and the hooded sweatshirt has been VERY useful when the temperature drops at night.

Sundresses– I admit, I was a bit hopeful about the weather in South America.  Most of the places that we’ve been so far have been at really high altitudes where it’s pretty cold.  But, I’m holding out hope that it will get warmer and I’ll be able to wear these more often.  For now, I’ve been layering the short dresses over jeans during the days.

Accessories– Oh, I love accessories!  It killed me to leave behind all my shoes and scarves and earrings.  I brought a simple selection of things that I can wear to keep warm / hide a bad hair day / dress up a shirt that I’ve worn 3 days in a row.  And, I have to admit, I’ve supplemented this selection with purchases from markets and street stalls as we’ve travelled.

And… that’s it!  Socks, underwear, tank tops and three pairs of shoes (sneakers, hiking boots and a pair of silver flats) make up the remainder of my gear.  Each item has to be worn multiple times before we can justify a laundry day, so I’ve been trying hard to rotate and let things air out at night.  I would KILL for a bottle of Febreeze right about now, but I don’t think I’m too smelly!

I’m certainly not a travelling fashionista, but I think I’ve done ok so far.  I’m sure that by the end of the 4 months I will be so sick of these clothes that I’ll want to burn them, but for now I’m doing ok!


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