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Travel Tip #34

Pack An All-Purpose Jacket

japanese alpsWhen you are traveling, you don’t have your whole wardrobe at your disposal. What’s more, because you packed light so you can carry your luggage on, you only have the bare essentials with you. Like a mission into space, everything you bring must serve an important purpose, and if possible, more than one purpose.

To minimize the excess items of clothing we all tend to bring with us, get an idea of what the weather is going to be like when you get there before you begin packing for your trip. Check (or your preferred weather website) for both your immediate forecast as well as monthly averages. Armed with this knowledge, begin to pack accordingly. Is it going to be hot? Bring shorts and appropriate footwear, a swimsuit and sunscreen. Is it going to be cold? Then a hat, gloves, scarf and wool socks. These are the easy ones to pack for. Things get a bit more complicated if your trip involves travel to different climates or the forecast has all of the weather icons jumbled together (how can lightening and rain be coming from the sun?) and the temperatures range from a high of 75 degrees to a low of 55. How do you pack for this? By remembering the advice given to you before elementary school field trips: dress in layers.

Enter the all-important all-purpose jacket. In addition to keeping you warm, this jacket should be lightweight and breathable, and serve as a windbreaker and rain slicker. If you are going to very cool climates and don’t want to haul your winter parka, bring your jacket’s liner or wear a sweater underneath. This may not keep you warm enough if you are at a playoff game at Lambeau Field, but if you are walking home from a restaurant or bar late at night, or heading up to the mountains for a day, you should be just fine. Jackets are sold everywhere, so find one that fits your body, your needs and your budget. Consider extras like an detachable hood or fleece lining if you think your cool climates may turn cold.

Know Before You Go

If you don’t have an all-purpose jacket, take some time trying them on – this is not a purchase you want to rush.

Bottom Line

Dressing in layers with a good jacket on the outside will make for comfortable traveling.


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