On Monday September 16th, my wife, Sue and I are heading off to Ontario. During our trip, we will be attending a variety of events, from a Rotary Conference, in Niagara Falls, a speaking engagement and book signing at a college, to Cinefest film festival, in Sudbury. This is for the premiere of The Secret Marathon, a film that documents my first trip to Afghanistan, in support of women and girls who strive to obtain the freedom to run.
One dilemma, when traveling for various situations, is what to pack. We will be staying in different hotels and will be expected to dress business casual for most of the time, formal for two of the dinners and casual when visiting friends and, for the film festival, who knows? Our film is being shown on a Sunday morning, so definitely not “red carpet”.
One trick my wife employs is to base her wardrobe around one colour. When she went to the UK, for five weeks, last Spring, it was blue. This time, as some of the outfits need to be more formal, she’s opting for black. Another trick she uses is to take scarves and costume jewellery, so that, even if her whole outfit is black, she can brighten it up, very simply. So, a pair of black pants, a black dress, a pair of black culottes and all she need is a selection of simple tops and a couple of lightweight jackets.
For me, it’s a matter of how many shirts? I have two or three that require no ironing, so they are a must. If necessary, I can rinse them out and let them hang-dry overnight.
Also, for the Rotary Conference, I have a black polo shirt with the Rotary logo on the front – perfectly acceptable for daytime. Two pairs of shoes, one black, one brown will be enough to cover all contingencies (although, in my case, a pair of running shoes have to be in there, as well as my running shorts and a couple of tops).
When attending events, like a conference, you never know, in advance, what the temperature is going to be like, in the hosting hotel. I have sat for a couple of hours at a time either feeling too hot or very chilly. Make sure you feel comfortable in whatever you are wearing, be prepared to remove a layer, if necessary or add a sweater, just in case.
Sue always puts a lightweight shawl in her purse or carry-on, so as not to be caught out, if the temperature is on the cool side. Put one complete outfit in your carry-on, there’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere, only to find your suitcase has been lost or will be arriving the next day and you only have the clothes you travelled in.
Make sure whatever shoes you take are comfortable. Sue offers this advice to the ladies, in particular: “Those new heels might look and feel great, when you try them out in the store, or just wear them to dinner. But, when you have to stand around in them for an hour of “mixing and mingling, or it turns out there’s dancing after dinner, you might wish you’d stuck to something flatter or a wedge heel. I have a pair of little black, suede boots that have a low heel, but a cut-out design at the side, so I can wear them with pants, but they still look great with a black dress, for evening.”
A couple of plain tee-shirts are a good idea, they can be worn under a jacket or as an extra layer, if the temperature drops. I’m sure anyone who travels a lot will have far more advice than I can give and there’s always the debate as to whether rolling or folding is best.
Try not to fret too much, if you’re staying in a hotel, you should have access to a laundry service if you should need it and most hotel rooms will have an iron.
Main message? Keep it simple, be comfortable and don’t forget your toothbrush.
And finally here’s a tip from actor, Robert Powell: “When you get back from a trip, make a note of what you didn't wear. This will avoid packing it unnecessarily next time.”
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in the fall of 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.