Leslie Willmott | Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles
Smart Packing Tips for Travelers
News you can use about packing and travel from Susan Foster and Leslie Willmott, packing experts and authors of Smart Packing for Today's Traveler. Email not displaying correctly?
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February 2016
Hello Travelers,

Winter is coming to a close and we bet you are looking forward to your spring and summer travel! For many of us this means we can pack lighter clothing, but it also means we'll encounter busier airports and fuller trains. You’ll want to be sure to pack smart, pack light.
In this edition of Tips for Travelers we provide updates on TSA rules to help make your airline travel stress-free. And we share recent travel experiences of our own plus those of friends to provide travel and packing tips you can use year round.
Leslie takes us on her winter getaway to Argentina and we check in with our friend Lynn, who took a long-term rental in Puerto Vallarta again to escape the cold weather at home. And traveling vicariously, we report on an enviable tour of Paris a friend took this past fall.
Our goal is to help you pack smart...and be savvier than many other travelers, no matter how, where or when you are traveling. We hope our ideas help you prepare for your next trip and that you will share your own smart packing tips with us. We love hearing from you…and especially want to know what you would like us to report on in the future.

Please note: We only write about places and resources we - or our readers - have personally visited or used and we accept no compensation or favors for our comments. 

Included in this newsletter:

TSA Rules Update

Insect repellents:
Following the worldwide Zika news, several stories have emerged regarding traveling with insect repellent. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) considers some insect repellents (especially those containing Picaridin) to be “hazardous material”, not simply another toiletry item, due to the possibility of spontaneous combustion. As a result, they limit the quantity that may be packed. Accordingly, several travelers en route to known Zika areas have had large quantities of insect repellent removed from their checked bags and confiscated.
We’ll paraphrase the FAA ruling:
The total amount per person cannot be more than 70 ounces (2kg) or 68 fluid ounces (2L). Each container must not exceed 18 ounces (0.5 kg) or 17 fluid ounces (500 ml). These amounts are for repellents that are sprayed directly on a person’s skin and clothing. Repellents to be sprayed in the air or at the insect are not included. Most insect repellents in non-aerosol liquid pump sprays and other forms (liquids, lotions, wipes, etc.) are not restricted as hazardous materials and, therefore, not subject to size or quantity limits.
Solution: Pack non-aerosol repellents. We like wipes for carry-on travel as they do not need to be included in a 3-1-1 bag. Buy insect repellent in the US; products purchased overseas might contain ingredients illegal for use in the US and whose effect might be worse than the bites.

The TSA states that electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, and any sort of electronic nicotine delivery system) are prohibited in checked baggage by international regulations and the FAA prohibits carriage in checked baggage. Also, airlines may place additional restrictions on the devices.
This clarification was issued in response to reports of e-cigarette-related explosions and fires that have taken place since 2009.
Solution: Electronic smoking devices may be carried onboard in a carry-on bag or on the person. Check the rules of each airline you plan to fly as they may vary. These devices are considered the same as cigarettes so may not be used or charged during flight.

 TSA Full Body Scanner Policy Change
The TSA says it may now require certain travelers to use full-body scanners rather than opting out for a pat-down. The TSA justified the controversial scanners by saying they were optional; however, in a new policy quietly released just days before Christmas, the agency says "security considerations" justify "mandatory full-body scanners for some passengers.”
This change in policy means that airline passengers can ask TSA officers for a pat-down search instead of having to go through a full-body scanner (scanners can detect non-metallic weapons, such as the plastic explosives) that uses millimeter wave technology to disclose items hidden under clothing. But TSA officers now have the right to deny your request for a pat-down search. If you refuse to go through the full-body scanner, the TSA can keep you from boarding your flight.

Leslie’s Winter Getaway to Argentina

My husband and I traveled south in January – way south to Buenos Aires and the Argentine wine country of Mendoza. Jeffrey wanted to revisit the city of his early career business travel and taste the wines of Mendoza’s Uco Valley. I was anxious to see “Paris of the South”, do some shopping…and taste the wines of the Uco Valley!
Planning the itinerary for this two-week trip was easy with the help of a "travel advisor" (see story below). But planning what to pack was challenging; it was summer in Argentina while winter at home. I started preparing my wardrobe far in advance as I needed new city-appropriate pieces that would be comfortable in high heat and humidity. As we were packing, Buenos Aires was having a heat wave (in the 90’s) on top of its usual humidity.
Flying overnight (10-hour non-stop flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires) enabled us to have a night of sleep and arrive ready to go - we had only crossed two time zones. We spent four days in Buenos Aires then flew to Mendoza for a 3-day stay in the Uco Valley. Then we flew back to Buenos Aires and took the high-speed ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, for a two-night stay before returning to Buenos Aires for two more nights.
Buenos Aires Highlights
Buenos Aires is a city of 47 diverse neighborhoods. Our tours took us through the key districts of Plaza de Mayo; San Telmo - the oldest heart of the city; La Boca – where Italian immigrants first settled but now populated with artists’ studios; Palermo Viejo (recently divided and renamed Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood, to distinguish the activity and the real estate); the Recoleta with its beautiful French-style architecture; and the newest district of Puerto Madera with high-rise apartments and revamped 19th century docks.
The diversity of the architecture and the activity reminded me more of New York than Paris but the European influence was strong. The colorful murals on many private and public buildings were charming; what was unexpected was the abundance of graffiti!
Each day held highlights: the Museo Evita, located in the house where Eva Peron established a shelter for women and children; La Recoleta Cemetery and it’s extraordinarily beautiful tombs; the Teatro Colon opera house, where Pavaroti did not like to perform because the acoustics were so good every mistake could be heard; the Sunday markets in San Telmo; and Floralis Generica, the steel and aluminum flower sculpture by Eduardo Catalano with petals that close in the evening and open in the morning. An evening highlight was the intimate Rojo Tango show in the Faema hotel.

Some of the best shopping in Buenos Aires is by appointment with local designers so we hired Sophie Lloyd of Shop Hop-BA for an afternoon of personal shopping. I discovered Sophie online weeks before our departure and was impressed with her background and testimonials. Our time with Sophie was definitely worthwhile. We purchased custom leather jackets at a fraction of what they would cost at home and saw a well-curated selection of jewelry, handbags and shoes by local designers, which we would have missed had we been on our own.
And thanks to Sophie, we were introduced to Marcelo Toledo, a world-renowned silversmith whom we met at his showroom and workshop in San Telmo. His well-known “Evita” collection of jewelry inspired by Eva Peron is housed next door and Marcelo proudly gave us a tour.
The Wine Country of Mendoza
After a short flight west from BA to Mendoza, we drove south to the Uco Valley to behold an awesome vista from our hotel, Casa de Uco, with vineyards spreading further than we could see up to the foot of the Andes Mountains. Day 1: a massage, a swim in the infinity pool, a bike ride through the vineyards. Days 2 & 3: winery tours, fabulous farm-to-table meals, an Argentine beef barbecue…and malbec!
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
We flew back to BA then took a one-hour ferry ride across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia, passing through both Argentine and Uruguay customs. The old town, just a 5-minute taxi ride from the port, can be seen in a day trip from BA. However, with temperatures in the 90’s we were very happy to have booked a hotel for two nights. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the old village is rich in Portuguese and Spanish architecture, dating back to its founding in 1680. We toured at a leisurely pace and enjoyed dining both nights on our hotel’s terrace overlooking the river.

Back to Buenos Aires, then home
Our first hotel in BA had been the Alvear Palace in the heart of Recoleta; on our return we stayed at Legado Mitigo, a boutique hotel in Palermo SoHo, and enjoyed the walks, restaurants, and shops of this “hip” neighborhood. The abundant graffiti on the sides of buildings alongside beautiful murals was no longer a surprise but a comfortable and familiar site.
Travel Wardrobes
We packed clothing in lightweight, breathable, travel-friendly microfibers, cotton blends and rayon. We like to dress up for evening dining and also use our hotel gyms so carried a few more pieces than other travelers might need.
For the flight I wore rayon knit leggings – which did not bag at all! - a white tee shirt under a long UV-rated white shirt, a tunic-length black cotton/rayon/modal cardigan sweater, ballet flats and pashmina scarf. Jeffrey left Atlanta wearing his navy blue blazer, gray tropical weight wool slacks, non-iron white shirt, and black loafers – his typical evening dining look. He dressed down with each subsequent flight!
Here’s what we packed into our checked luggage:

Leslie (packed into a 22’’ rolling bag and a rolling carry-on tote)
Ÿ• 6 Bottoms: Black rayon knit pant, black rayon knit skirt, white cotton/rayon/ spandex jeans, black polyester evening pant, microfiber capri golf pants, microfiber golf shorts
• 10 tops: 2 long rayon knit tanks (crème, black), black/white striped ¾ sleeve UV rated tee, two ¾ sleeve cotton tees (yellow, red), cotton knit tank (white), long-sleeve white cotton/stretch shirt, ¾ sleeve tunic-length yellow non-iron shirt, 2 evening tops (one black, one white, both can roll up into a ball)
• Workout clothes: tank, pant, bra, jacket (which could also be worn on chilly country evenings)
• 4 sets of undies and an AIRism tank top by Uniqlo to wear under shirts to keep me cool
• Accessories: 2 scarves, costume jewelry, small evening shoulder-strap bag, cross-over bag for day
• 4 pair of shoes: slip-on shoe for day walking, lightweight workout shoe for the gym and biking, an evening sandal, and a day sandal – I broke our rule of 3 pair but these sandals took very little space!
• UV rated, packable hat and a visor
Notes: The rayon knit separates from J.Jill are recent purchases that traveled beautifully. I wore the skirt several times during the day in the city because of the heat; I wore the pants in the evening and gave them the ultimate travel test wearing them on the plane home – no bagging!

My golf capris and shorts were perfect for the casual and hot Uco Valley and Colonia; the white jeans worked everywhere. I tucked in extra tees & the cotton tank just in case - no, I didn’t need them! I was happy to have tucked a hand fan into my bag - it came in handy whenever there wasn’t good A/C.

Jeffrey (packed into a 25” bag to give us room for planned purchases):
• 4 pair long pants: 2 linen (black, beige), blue cotton chinos, cotton zip-leg pant (worn as shorts)
• 4 long-sleeve shirts: 2 linen (black, beige), 2 non-iron shirts (blue, white)
• 5 cotton polo shirts: black, white, beige, grey, blue
• Pullover black cotton sweater
• Lightweight zip-front jacket
• Workout/pool clothes: nylon tee shirt, nylon shorts (doing double-duty)
• 2 pair shoes: brown suede brogue, workout shoe
ŸŸŸŸŸ• 7 sets of underwear; 2 ties; brown leather belt
Notes: Two of the long-sleeve shirts were not needed - he wore a polo shirt into the evening more often than expected.
Smart packing tip: Microfiber golf shirts would have been lighter and less bulky to pack but Jeffrey prefers 100% cotton.
International Air Travel Tips:
  • Rather than eat dinner on an overnight flight we prefer to dine in the airport before boarding. In Atlanta’s International Terminal, Ecco is a lovely restaurant with an extensive menu and table dining.
  • We take a low dose of Ambien (prescribed by our doctor) upon boarding and can sleep 6-7 hours comfortably with a sleep mask, earplugs and travel pillows. Be certain you take any sleep aid after the plane takes off. If your flight is suddenly cancelled and you have to get off the plane, you’ll find it difficult to stay awake!
  • Our Global Entry ”trusted traveler” status was worth every penny! It gaves us TSA PreCheck for a quick trip through security when leaving Atlanta; upon our return, we breezed through customs and were in our car 30 minutes after landing.

The Advantages of Hiring a Travel Advisor

Leslie and her husband typically plan every detail of their trips but wanting to ensure they made the most of their short trip to Argentina, they planned it with the help of Maita Barrenechea, a travel advisor based in Buenos Aires who they contacted through travel writer Wendy Perrin’s website. Here’s their positive testimony:
“We didn’t know how much time to spend in each area, what insiders’ 'must-see-and-dos’ were, nor how to best travel within the country. We didn’t want to be part of a large group tour but having a private tour at each stop was appealing.

Maita created an excellent itinerary for us, steering us away from adding another big city to our visit and suggesting instead the historic town of Colonia, Uruguay. Her team made all hotel reservations and transportation arrangements. They also booked private tours with a car, guide and driver in each destination. This proved to be an excellent decision for navigating Buenos Aires in the heat, making the most of our three days in Mendoza, and touring the entire city of Colonia, not just the old town.

The added value was the time spent at each destination with local residents. We got to know our tour guides and drivers and had informative conversations about local education, family practices, and politics. (Photo at right was taken when our tour guide stopped to say hello to her nephew.)

Working with a travel advisor, either based in your local area or at your destination, not only means everything is handled for you before and during your trip but you also have an immediate point of contact if anything goes wrong. And hotels often reward clients of travel advisors (upon our arrival at the Alvear Palace, we were upgraded to a one-bedroom suite!)

There is a cost to working with a travel advisor. We estimate it added about 20% to the overall cost of a trip we might have booked ourselves, if we had had all of their insider information, which we did not. It was well worth it." (See two happy people at left on the last night of our trip!)                                                                                                                           

A Return to Puerto Vallarta…But Overpacked!

Newsletter contributor Lynn Raasch is back in Puerto Vallarta, escaping the winter back home in Washington state. We reached to her for insights on packing for a long-term stay in the tropics, this time for two months:

“It’s the common pitfall, I packed more than needed. Since we are here twice as long this year, I thought I'd need more clothes. Wrong! I decided to check my luggage this year and fell into that ‘what if’ mindset, adding items I've yet to wear. On the up side, I was able to pack a 2-month supply of my favorite sunscreen and hair care products not available in Mexico...and I have extra space in my suitcase to pack the fabric I've bought here.”
Lynn shared some additional smart packing tips:
●  No one but you cares if you wear a garment more than once.
●  Don't travel with anything that, if damaged or lost, would devastate you.
●  Doing with less simplifies life and spikes creativity. This is true for both your wardrobe and cooking in a poorly equipped condo.
● Travel is an adventure - expect the unexpected. I was thrilled to have a washer and dryer in the condo only to discover that when washing a load of quick dry synthetics, regardless of setting, the water was scalding hot!
Lynn and her husband are in the midst of relaxation in PV – morning walks (after greeting "Herman" the iguana who enjoys their roof each day), afternoons at the beach or touring towns nearby, dinners with friends. Every day has been perfect…another rotten day in paradise!
Note: For Lynn’s account of her first winter rental in Puerto Vallarta, read her article “Only One Carry-On Bag for a Month in Puerto Vallarta”.

5 Things Leslie Always Packs

1. Aquis towel for quick-drying of both your hair and hand washables.
2. Baby powder – shake it into your shoes to prevent blisters or on the body to prevent summer heat rash.
3. Flashlight – I keep it by my bed for when I need to get up in the middle of the night; or when I drop an earring back; and it tucks into a purse or pocket to use for any dark place.
4. Rubber sink stopper – helpful when doing hand laundry and if you wear contact lenses since many hotel bathroom sinks don’t have them.
5. Washcloth - hotels in many countries do not provide them; our hotel in Uruguay did not. (Disposable washcloths are on her list to try!)
Smart Packing for Today's Traveler - the book!      
Save on both!
(Separately - $34.90)

Use a Driver’s License as ID for Domestic Travel? Maybe Not!

Recent news indicates that residents of several U.S. states may not be able to use their valid state driver’s licenses to get on a domestic flight. This is because of a 10-year-old federal law called the Real ID act, which required states to adopt stricter restrictions for state-issued ID cards.

Only 23 states have complied and 19 others have been granted extensions through October 2016. If you are a resident of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico or Washington – all of which have neither complied nor been granted extensions - we suggest you carry another form of ID when you are traveling, such as a valid U.S. passport, until your state is in compliance. 

(Source: Peter Greenberg’s Travel News Weekly)

Fashion & Fabrics Tour of Paris

Leslie’s friend Gail M. of Asheville, NC took her first trip to Paris this past November with designers and sewing experts Marcy and Katherine Tilton on their “ParisTilton” tour. We met Marcy several years ago when we, too, were in the home sewing industry. We’ve been intrigued by this tour so when Gail signed up, we traveled along vicariously. Adding a few days to her visit pre and post the tour, Gail’s introduction to Paris was nothing short of a fantastic two weeks!
As part of an organized group of women who enjoy design, fashion and textiles, Gail experienced the magic of Paris through a designer’s eye. Her tour included a fashion exhibit at the Palais Galleria; best places to purchase fabric and buttons (tip: Tissus Reine and Dam Boutons in Montmartre); shopping tours of Le Marais; and Sunday’s Porte de Vanves Flea Market. Monet’s “Water Lillies" in the Musée de  L’Orangerie provided Gail with personal color inspiration!
The group also had entrée to several places not open to the average tourist, including a perfume making workshop and the legendary Maison Légeron ateiliers, where Bruno Légeron, great-grandson of the founder and the last remaining independent artificial flower maker in France, demonstrated his techniques.
A tour that has us green with envy is the group’s visit to the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent. Within their guided tour of YSL’s former house of couture, they were taken through the Reception Salons and into the designer’s former studio, where every collection was born. They were shown original sketches on which they could read YSL’s personal notes to his Atelier (dressmaking workshop) and gain an understanding of how a fashion house operates.
The timing of Gail’s trip coincided with Armistice Day (our Veterans Day) in Paris and she found herself in the midst of a colorful celebration around the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seeing the special event, followed by sitting in a cafe with a glass of wine, made it another perfect day in Paris! 

Packing Plan:

Gail reached Leslie for help with her packing and it was easy to get her started: “Pack layers and start with black jeans and comfortable black walking shoes.” Planning a versatile wardrobe while keeping luggage light was her challenge. And what to take for a coat? The weather forecast was a mix of mild, sunny and cold, cloudy days, possible rain.
Gail built her wardrobe around basic pieces in black and added color with sweaters and scarves. Choosing lightweight pieces with a plan to layer enabled her to pare down if it was warm and add pieces when it got cold. To avoid lugging a bulky coat, Gail purchased Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down jacket, the perfect layering piece under her shawl or lightweight raincoat.
Gail traveled in her heaviest pieces and carried a change of clothing in her small carry-on bag, just in case her checked suitcase was delayed. Here’s her wardrobe (note: she took favorite separates from past seasons and product links are no longer available):
• 4 bottoms: black jeans, black wool blend pants (Talbots), stretch knit pants (Cabi), Tencel pull-on pants (Cabi)*
• 3 cotton turtlenecks, 1 cashmere*
• 2 long-sleeve tee shirts
• 2 merino wool pullover sweaters (blue, black); 1 cashmere (orange)
• White poly/blend blouse (could wear alone or under a sweater)
Heattech long-sleeve tee & Heattech camisole (to layer under the turtlenecks as needed)
• Black wool sweater jacket (medium weight)
• Black wool blend blazer-style jacket* (Cabi)
• Reversible cape (Cabi)
• Ultra light down jacket
• Nylon reversible raincoat (Cabi)
• 3 silk scarves for color, one for warmth; hat; gloves; socks, costume jewelry
• 3 pair of shoes: Black lace-up, black slip-on*, animal print ballet flat

* Worn for travel to and from Paris  
What worked/what didn’t?

The cape and down jacket were perfect layering pieces for the late fall weather. Gail practically lived in her black jeans (a black, not blue, jean can be worn day and night in Paris). Note: She washed her jeans in the bathtub in her room and they dried overnight on the heated towel warmer. Amazing!  But, regrettably, she packed a pant she’d not worn before the trip; it didn’t hold its shape so she only wore it once.
Smart packing tip: Only take clothes and accessories that have had a “dress rehearsal”.
Luggage Tip:

Gail wanted to be sure she would have enough room to bring home purchases she expected to make (fabric, accessories, gifts). Her plan was to pack her 22” bag and bring an empty 22” bag with her (hmm...pay to check an empty bag?). Leslie encouraged her to pack into a larger 25” bag instead and loaned her a folding tote by Longchamp to tuck inside in case she really did “shop ‘til she dropped.” Well she did! Packing to fly back home, Gail expanded her 25” bag and also filled my tote to carry onto the plane.

More Smart Packing & Travel Tips

1. Leslie used bubble wrap to fill up her husband’s under-packed 25” suitcase for their outgoing flight to Buenos Aires so that clothing wouldn’t shift. The bubble wrap was then used to wrap breakable purchases for the return trip.

2. Leslie was sold on “spinner” bags during her recent trip Argentina. Her new rolling tote fit nicely on top of her 22” roll-a-board bag but pulling them both behind her instead of alongside became tiring.
3. Secure your possessions! Our friend Diane B. recently saw someone unzip the outer pocket of a woman’s rolling bag and remove items while the bag was being pulled behind her. We use twist ties (packaged with non-zip baggies or recycled from the bread bag) to secure exterior zippers that won’t lock. Twist ties will not keep out the determined but will deter an opportunist.

4. Gail M. purchased a Pacsafe anti-theft shoulder bag for a her trip to Paris. It was great for travel days but on a day-to-day basis too cumbersome and awkward to use; the same was true of her new RIFD travel wallet. She gave them both up after purchasing a small nylon cross-body bag in Paris that could be tucked safely inside her coat (similar to my favorite travel bag by Bric’s). Next trip, instead of an RIFD wallet she’ll opt for RIFD sleeves for credit cards.
For tips on how to protect yourself from pickpockets when traveling, read this excellent article from the travel specialists at Virtuoso: “It’s more about your focus, than what you wear.”

Take the Panic Out of Packing!

In spite of all the tips you've read on packing light, do you still find that you wear only half of what you packed? Or, do you wish halfway into your trip you had packed "this" or "that"? Either scenario is maddening!

As the saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Smart packing takes careful planning. Take the panic out of your packing and read Leslie's recent Smart Women On The Go blog post.
That’s all for this edition of Tips for Travelers. Visit both Smart Packing and Smart Women On The Go on Facebook - "Like" and follow us for ongoing travel tips and updates! 
As always, we invite you to share this newsletter with friends, family and colleagues by forwarding this message or they may sign up for Tips for Travelers at smartpacking.com. We personally respond to every question and welcome your e-mails and comments.

Smart Packing for Today's Traveler, the book and the DVD, are available in bookstores, travel and luggage retailers online, in catalogs, and in shops, and from our website, click here to learn more or to buy.

Pack smart and travel well!

Susan & Leslie
Susan Foster Susan Foster, Author, Packing Expert, Speaker, Spokesperson

Leslie Willmott, Wardrobe Consultant &
Packing Expert; founder,
Smart Women On The Go  
Smart Travel Press
PO Box 25514  Portland, OR 97298-0514

503.452.9384 fax 503.452.7558

Smart Packing for Today‘s Traveler, Third Edition, the most complete guide for what to take and how to pack
“Smart Packing – It’s a Suitcase, Not Your Closet!” DVD, pack for a week or more in one carry-on bag.
© Susan Foster, Smart Travel Press, 2015
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