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Packing for Comfort

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Packing for Comfort

by Lorry Patton

Comfort on a holiday is more than wearing comfortable Adida's. Comfort on a holiday means thinking about where you're going, what you're going to do and for how long, as you pack your bags.

For example, if you're planning to explore the Everglades, take bug repellent with you and tip-to- toe, snug about the neck, wrists and ankles clothing no matter what the temperature. For cruising you'll want at least one fancy outfit and if you're planning to hike in the desert, a good pair of boots. For business travel, you'll need one suit with two or three shirts or blouses in solid shades and scarves or ties for a splash of color.

The more you move around the less you need. (Wash your undies and socks nightly; you don't have to change your clothes as often because the people around you do-- unless you're traveling with a group). Bring 2 or 3 outfits in the latest space age fabric. They're light, wrinkle-free and hand-washable. (Wrap in a towel to squeeze excess water before hanging to dry.)

Skimpy halters and short shorts look good by the pool, and if your going to a tropical resort, throw in a couple of jersey pants and tops and a floor-length cotton dress and that's all you'll need. However, some countries frown upon sleeveless dresses, shorts or mini skirts. A mid- length skirt with a shawl or slacks and T-shirt are ideal and will allow access to most cathedrals and museums.

Stay color coordinated. That means more looks for less space. Try your outfits on before you leave to make sure no buttons are missing and things still fit -- right down to the accessories -- socks, shoes, etc. Bring a needle and thread and a couple of safety pins, just in case.

For temperature comfort the layered look is best. Then you can peel as the weather changes. For example: An nylon rain jacket can fold into a pocket. A cardigan can be tied around the hips. A shirt can be unbuttoned or taken off to reveal a tank top; replaced when the sun's too hot. Keep in mind that tight jeans might be great to boogie in, but sorely uncomfortable if you plan to scale a pyramid. The same goes for high heels on cobblestones. A shapely leg may turn a head, but it may also turn a ankle. And bare feet on hot sand is definitely not cool, In fact, sometimes, it can burn like blazes!

Leave your valuables behind ( diamonds and gold and grandma's heirloom watch ); someone may take your inventory. An exception is when cruising. If something goes missing when you're out to sea it could be grist for an Agatha Christie type novel or a made-for-TV movie.

Heavy molded luggage is great if you're not the one carrying it, and if you don't mind waiting at the airport for it to be unloaded. In contrast, nylon bags are light and usually are carried on. Clothes rolled instead of folded and wrapped in separate reusable plastic bags -- including smaller items like socks and belts and underwear -- stay relatively neat and wrinkle-free.

Leave your heavy purses and wallets at home. A passport, driver's license, any medical alert cards and one credit card can be kept along with paper money in a belt around your waist, leaving you hands free to take pictures or to handle merchandise. Keep a notebook elsewhere with passport and account numbers.

Unless you're a professional photographer, bring only one 35 MM camera with a zoom lens ( 28- 85 is a good range ) a flash attachment, extra batteries and lots of film. Best all around film is outdoor 400 asa. Never mind a bulky camera case. Keep your camera in a nylon pouch.

Be aware that you hair doesn't protect your head from the sun. Wear a hat, not just a visor, and save yourself a headache or worse yet, a sunstroke. Don't forget your sunglasses, denture adhesive, a notebook, a pen to fill out immigration and custom forms and a pocket knife (good for peeling fruit ). The only thing okay to forget is your toothpaste. Toothpaste is available everywhere.

Don't plan to get those nylons or that black pair of socks or some shaving cream when you get there. Fiddly errands are time consuming and you have better things to do.

Another time consuming task is looking for a phone or trying to mail a letter. Don't make any promises to call or write home or to buy specific gifts. .

Remember your prescription medicine, any vitamins you take daily, a laxative, a binder, aspirins, bandages, and an antibiotic like tetracycline if you're going away for more than a month. Check with your public health clinic for recommended shots, especially if you're traveling to a 3rd World country. ( Some shots come in a series of three, so prepare well in advance. )

If you suffer from ear pressure problems on airplanes bring nose spray and use just before boarding and again five minutes before landing. Chewing gum, swallowing and forcing a yawn helps, but the sinus spray seems to work best. ( Don't get hooked on it. )

If you use a hair dryer, take one along. Be sure it's dual voltage if you're leaving North America and bring a converter plug. Take only the makeup that you know you'll use. Take body lotion, a sunscreen and a blemish concealer. To add pizzas to your wardrobe, bring a new shade of lipstick and some wild eyeshadow or that exotic after-shave you've been too timid to try.

However, this is not the time to sample new products such as a new shampoo or a new pair of shoes. But, if you've been dying to change your image but were afraid of what people might say, now's the time to do it. Try that bold henna rinse. Nobody knows what you look like anyway, and either you'll feel completely comfortable with the new you by the time you get home or you'll find out it's a total washout.