What to Wear: Thailand

what to wear thailand

Around this time last year I was wading in the water on the beaches of Thailand. Now that summer is slowly slipping away, and the whole world is planning their winter escape, I figured it was fine time to put together the necessities for any Thai vacation. Below are a few rules for packing that I found helpful when traveling to the Land of Smiles.

Keep it easy breezy. While this goes without saying, it is smart to reiterate to importance comfy, loose fitting clothing. Imagine getting a sun burn and having to wear tight jean shorts. Eek! Also, it does get hot and sticky during the day, so any help you can get to keep the breeze flowing will make a big difference.

Pack your maxi. If you plan on visiting any temples at all bear in mind that you need to be covered up in order to enter. At more popular temples in Bangkok, they will provide clothing for a retainer fee, but you’re better off avoiding the lines and showing up prepared. As long as your shoulders and shins are coverd, you’re good to go.

Stop the sun. Don’t hesitate to pack multiple beach cover ups and a hat. Sun burns are no fun and you’re better off shielding yourself from the rays for most of the day. Your skin is the ultiamte accessory and the last thing you want is to look like a lobster in Koh Samui.

Ditch the stilettos. More times than not, walking in heels is going to be incredibly difficult in Thailand. If you crave shoes with some height, swap out your stilettos for a cute pair of wedges. Not only will they be more comfortable, but you won’t have to worry about sinking in the sand.

Be selective with your jewelry. There are going to be plenty of cute little shops to grab jewelry, so I recommend just packing a few statement pieces. Thailand is full of color and glitter, so don’t be afraid to go big! Costume jewelry is a better option than your favorite treasured pieces. I always say, when you travel, don’t bring anything you would be afraid to lose, so leave the family heirlooms at home.

These tips are a good jumping off point, but be sure to check the weather conditions during your visit.

Leave any of your favorite Thailand packing suggestions in the comments below!

What to Wear: Japan

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Striking a balance between stylish and conservative can make packing for Japan difficult. If you stick to these few rules, you’ll be well on your way to making a fashionable statement on your next journey to the land of the rising sun.

Keep your cleavage covered. Japanese women are very sensitive when it comes to showing off their décolletage. The rule of thumb is: if someone can see down your shirt when you bend over, it’s too low. Obviously, the trendier areas aren’t as conservative, but it’s always good to err on the side of caution.

Pack sensible and stylish shoes. You will be walking around a lot, and while five-inch heels will likely help you blend in, save your feet the pain during the day and invest in some fashionable sneakers. I went with a pair of Jimmy Choo sneakers. See how I wore them here. Not your style? A pair of converse will also do the trick. Not a sneaker fan? Just remember to keep the heel low, or even better, nonexistent.

Show some leg. While locals are likely to keep it conservative from the waist up, you will see women showcasing their gams. Short shorts and miniskirts are perfectly acceptable for just about any situation (outside of the office, of course).

Be a little adventurous. Have a cool piece of clothing that’s a bit too aggressive to wear back home? No problem. With the Harajuku mindset, anything goes in Japan. If you find yourself strutting through Ginza, don’t be afraid to oversize everything, wear crazy graphic prints, and pair heels with pajamas. Just remember, the best accessory is confidence. If you’re lucky, the hoard of fashion photographers who camp out on Omotesando might even photograph you.

Ditch the kimono. While it might be fun to dress up for an hour or two, leave the traditional looks to the professionals. Aside from the fact that walking around in flip-flops with socks on is obnoxiously hard, kimonos are tight and uncomfortable. Ladies, just think about the effort to go to the bathroom…

Check the weather. Summers in Japan can be unbearably hot, and winter temps are known to fall below zero. The last thing you want is a suitcase full of sweaters when you should have packed shorts. If you’re going during Spring or Fall, include light layers. Traveling during the rainy season (May – July)? Be sure to pack an umbrella and some jellies.

If you’re going to pack just one thing… make sure it’s an LBD like the Alexander Wang one above. Plans change, opportunities arise, and as it is in the states, a little black dress is always appropriate in Japan.

Don’t Fail to Prepare: Part III

Tomorrow, the journey begins! First stop, L.A. and a brief visit with my dear friend Malcolm, then it’s off to Narita Airport—Tokyo. I’ve been running around today taking care of last minute details. So here’s the skinny on what needs to be done the last few days before your trip.

last minute travel, japan rail pass

Grab any last minute necessities. After a few days in California, I noticed a few things I was missing: socks, converters for my electronics, and I also needed to pick up an exchange order for a Japanese Rail Pass. First stop, I snagged some climatecool socks from Adidas that are odor resistant; they will be perfect for those hot days hiking around Thailand and Vietnam, and Bali. Next, I went to RadioShack where I picked up a pack of travel adapters that hopefully work in every country I am going to over in Asia. Fingers crossed that I have them all covered. The Japanese Rail Pass exchange order is very important. As a U.S. Citizen you cannot purchase an exchange order overseas, so it must be procured in the U.S. I bought mine on http://www.jrpass.com. They deliver it Priority Overnight via FedEx, so you get it quick and easy.

Make copies. One of the next things to do is to make copies of your passport photo page and all of your visas. Obviously, you aren’t planning on losing your passport, but storing copies of your passport and visas through your luggage is helpful just in case. I also left a copy with my friend Malcolm. It is also important to take digital copies on your phone, and keep them on your computer as well. The more places you have them, and the more people who have access to them, the better off you are.

passport, travel preparation, visas

Call your cell provider. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure you can stay connected to friends and family to check in on the road. In addition to my dummy phone that I can insert different SIM cards into, I am bringing my iPhone. Even though you have a phone that works internationally, you still need to call your provider to tell them to activate your international antenna. Without doing so, you could be disconnected a little longer than you would like. Try to do this three days in advance of your trip.

Purchase Travel Insurance. Even if you are perfectly healthy and in good physical shape, travel insurance is a necessity. It’s important to note that travel insurance is far beyond just medical coverage, it also covers cancellations, lost or stolen goods, legal expenses, and emergencies beyond medical emergencies, such as military conflict in the country you are in. The insurance provider I chose to go with is World Nomads. The great thing about World Nomads is that you can purchase your policy online in less than 5 minutes. Seriously! My 3-month coverage plan only cost me $187, and that covers up to $100,000 in medical expenses. Trust me when I say, this will be the best money you have spent on your trip. You never know what can happen, and it’s always better to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Can’t wait to start posting abroad soon.

See you on the flip side, xoxo.

Don’t Fail to Prepare: Part II

Tomorrow, I will start my trip! First stop will be in L.A. to visit my dear friend Malcolm for a few days before he drops me off at the airport to head to Narita Airport in Tokyo. I’ve been running around today to take care of some of the last minute details. So here’s the skinny on what you should be taking care the last few days before your trip.

Call your bank. I have three bank accounts, and one credit card. What do they all have in common? They need to know you are going out of the country. Make sure you have your itinerary all set, as some banks or credit card companies want to know exact dates. For some of the countries I’m going to (Vietnam and India in particular), it took over two weeks to get the holds released on more than one of my accounts, so make sure you plan in advance for certain countries. You don’t want to be stuck without any way to pay for your delicious Pho in Hanoi, or fabulous salwar kameez in Delhi.
Pack pack pack. I thought packing for three months would be difficult. I was wrong. Picking out outfits for 90 days was the easy part. The tough part was fitting it into one piece of checked luggage, one carry and a personal item (aka, the biggest bag I could imagine would fit underneath the seat in front of me). I had to do a lot of editing. Apparently, four pairs of heels was a little too much. While some people can live off of 20 articles of clothing for 3 months, I choose not to, and I have no problem paying for a checked bag for a little more comfort. One of the big problems I faced was packing for multiple climates. Within the same three months I will be facing 40 degree weather at night in Beijing and 90 degree heat in Phuket. Layers were definitely the key! While I don’t want to get into the specifics of my checked luggage, I will touch on the important stuff that should be going with you to your seat on the flight.
All of my electronics I’m bringing with me. I’m packing my MacBook Air, Kindle, Canon DSLR camera, iPhone 4S, iTouch, Nokia dummy phone, electric toothbrush (not pictured), and all of the chargers to go along with it.
My carry-on bag holds all of my essentials to make me comfortable god forbid my luggage gets lost. This includes: all of my medications needed for the trip (which has everything you might need just in case), a small bag of my liquid toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hairspray, body wash, lotion, face wash, shaving cream, and sunscreen. Tampons, which are hard to find in some countries in Asia. Peptobismol and Immodium (definitely needed for India!), protein bars for travel snacks, neutrogena face wipes, a baseball cap, Kate Spade sunglasses, my favorite 3.1 Philip Lim crossbody bag (in it’s dust cover), a pair of blue jeans, shorts (not pictured), and a couple tank tops (not pictured), a bathing suit, bra, sports bra, couple pairs of underwear, sandals, and flats.
The all important personal item! This Lulelemon bag is great for all of your essentials that you don’t feel comfortable putting in the overhead compartment. It is filled with all of my electronics, a couple extra protein bars, my passport (with visas), my wallet, my Chanel sungalsses, kleenex, hand wipes, face wipes, a pen (to fill out forms on the plane), a scarf, Nyquil (to help me sleep on the plane). I’m wearing my Jimmy Choo sneakers on the plane with a sweater, pair of jean shorts, and a jacket in case I get cold. Also packed in here are the few pieces of jewlery I won’t already be wearing.
Double check! Go through your packing list. Make sure you have everything you need. Worse comes to worse, you can pick it up in another country, but some things you just can’t get anywhere else. Medications, passport, and visas are all a giant pain in the butt to get elsewhere. Make copies of your prescriptions, passport photo page and all of your visas just in case.
Say thank you. If you’re like me, there are a lot of people who helped you get ready for this trip. Show them your appreciation with a fun card! I still love getting snail mail, and I know my friends and family will be grateful for my effort. As Oscar Wilde says, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

 Until next time! xoxo

Don’t Fail to Prepare

Coming up very soon, I will be jetting off to Asia for three whole months. I’ve always wanted to journey to the far east for the legendary cuisine, fashion, and to see what kind of trouble I can get into (in moderation, of course). But, there are a few things that you absolutely need to take care of before you go, not just to Asia, but anywhere.

Get your vaccines. As much fun as you plan on having, your trip can quickly turn south with a bad virus or infection. Some countries won’t even let you in without certain vaccines. I went to my local travel clinic at Mass General Hospital. Remember to bring your itinerary and let your doctor know of any pertinent medical history. If you have medications that you are currently taking, remember to get them filled in advance so you have enough for your trip. Once you have all of the vaccines that you need, you will be given a certificate from the World Heath Organization, like the one below. Remember to give yourself enough time, shots can take up to 2-3 weeks to be effective.

Make sure you have all your visas. Applying for travel visas is one of the most time consuming parts of your preparation. One wrong move and your visa will be denied, which could mean up to two weeks before being able to apply for a visa again. My best advice, hire a professional. Navigating the complicated paperwork from some countries can be daunting and those who work at travel agencies will be able to spot even the smallest blemish that could cause your application to be sent back. On top of that, travel agents usually have couriers who can bring your passport around to every embassy that you need, which saves you a ton of time especially if you don’t live in the city that the embassy is in.

Register with the State Department. While you never expect disaster to strike, you can never be too careful. Did you know that the state department actively tries to find U.S. citizens in the event of a disaster? While they won’t swoop in if your maid service is sub-par, they are required to extract you from the country under certain circumstances, whether they be political or environmental. You can register with the State Department here. In addition to letting them know where you will be, you can also specify the people who are allowed to know about your whereabouts, such as family members or business associates. This is a relatively quick and painless process and could save you more than a headache in a sticky situation.

 Give a friend or family member the necessities. Leaving a copy of your passport, itinerary, and visas with a family member or friend back home can save you a lot of trouble if you lose any of them. It wouldn’t hurt to carry a copy on you as well. You never know what might happen, and if you lose your passport, you could be stranded while the consulate works to figure out who you are. Having someone you trust with your itinerary is a good plan as well. Let them know how often you should be checking in, and if they don’t hear from you, they will have a rough idea of how to get a hold of you.