Or, backpacking with at least some sort of style.
Some backpackers don’t like associating with the stigma of ragged, crusty backpackers taking ‘roughing it up’ nary a bit too far. I’ve seen backpackers being refused entry or local transport because they weren’t presentable looking, and this is more than common in Asian countries where being clean is an unspoken rule; being unpresentable can mean the difference of a meal and a roof over your head. Yes, very much. Also, it doesn’t hurt that being presentable can bump you up from economy class flights to high class accommodations.
Trouble with being fashionable is that you can’t usually limit your things to one backpack alone. There’d usually be suitcases upon suitcases of outfits that can only be worn once. Firstly, how had that ever been a rule and whoever came up with that must have not a resourceful bone in their bodies at all.
There’s another saying that it would be better to over pack than to under pack. Yeah, well you’ll be thinking a lot about that when you’re lost in a distant country and feeling your backpack getting heavier and heavier as you go along. Wouldn’t you want to at least retain that image of traveling with bright eyes, with the breeze in your face, feeling light and fresh all the while? Traveling isn’t stress free, so anything that is stress-less is more than welcome!
A perfect-fitting dark denim jeans is a great clothing item to bring along; it is easy to dress up and dress down, whatever occasion it is presented with. It should also be hardy enough to roll up and stretchable up to a point that you can move in it all day. If you can climb up a mountainside with it and wear it out to a museum right after, then you have invested in the right pair. Shorts and skirts should be kept at a minimum; though they are diminutive and easy to pack, weather is unpredictable and you wouldn’t want to be exposing your legs to inappropriate weather conditions.
Convertible pants are also perfect for travel. While they may seem baggy and unappealing, the resourceful wandering fashionista will have no qualms to making it look (you know, metaphorically) like a million bucks. Your goal is presentability anyway, and not a fashion week runway. Convertible pants are light, waterproof and are easy to wash–they dry very quickly! And if you’re feeling too hot, you can zip off the pant bottoms and have capris instead. Nothing says convenience like convertible pants.
I find that a perfect cotton scarf is enough accessory and utility at the same time to bring along. It eliminated the bandanna which in my experience I’ve found difficult to hold up all of my hair, and adds versatility as it can also be used as a wrap, a headscarf for entering into certain religious buildings, coverage at a beach (have you seen that YouTube video that shows you like more than six ways to maneuver your scarf into ways you never thought even possible?!), and yes, a glamorous accessory for a night out or a day at a fashionable district.
I always pack a handful of basic cotton shirts and some shirts with high-performance material for flexibility. Also, a long sleeved button up shirt is always handy for cold and even for warm climate as it protects against extreme sun and insects. Layering clothes are also good to have, because they tend to be flimsy and can be worn under and with anything!
Since you’re going to be walking around a lot, bring comfortable shoes. A hardy pair of sandals are good, but a nice pair of flats aren’t so bad to have either. Some flats can be folded for easy packing and have rubber soles that don’t wear out easily.
Moisturiser and sunblock are a must; recently I bring a good BB cream (a kind of tinted moisturiser with some sun protection in it) and lip-gloss, and some waterproof mascara. How’s that for war paint?
Photos by: fortherock