Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What to Pack? Clothing Checklist

Here are some clothing considerations for your trans-Atlantic voyage.

Warm Winter Items: While the winters here are fairly mild compared to many places in the States (especially the Midwest and Northern US) they can feel extra cold when you're out walking in the elements regularly. Those who do not plan to get a car will want to be especially sure they have a good warm coat, sweaters, wool socks, hat, gloves and scarf. Depending where you are, the wind can be strong and brutally cold.

Jacket: We would strongly recommend you invest in a light-weight, waterproof, breathable hooded jacket. (Phew!) It does rain a lot here and you'll want a heavy coat for the really cold months. However, you will get hot very quickly if you plan to be walking a lot and you will regret having only a big, heavy coat to wear (especially if you're also carrying a book bag, groceries, etc.).

Walking Shoes: A good pair of walking shoes is a must. Think about them like you would a good set of tires for your car--especially if walking will be your primary means of transportation. They are one of the best wardrobe investments you can make. (And remember, shoes are a lot cheaper than maintaining a car.)

Summer Clothes: There have been a couple of days this summer when having a pair of shorts and a tank top has been nice. Don't overdo it, though. You can get by with very little in this department. I've been sad that I left my capri's at home--they would have been the perfect thing to wear on most summer days. I would recommend that girls think about bringing skirts instead of shorts--not only are they a little more versatile with warm and cold weather, but you'll look a lot less like an American. (People do wear shorts here, by the way-- they're just not that common.) Another consideration, though, is if you plan to take holidays to the Continent where the summers will be much warmer...

Grungy Clothes: If you're like me, then every now and then you find yourself doing a job or participating in an event that gets you really dirty or grimy. Consider bringing a pair of old jeans and an old t-shirt to accommodate such an activity. If you never find yourself in that situation now, just disregard. But remember, basic life is not going to be that different: if you like hiking, gardening or every now and then doing a house-cleaning so intensive that you need a shower afterward, bring some clothes along that you won't mind getting dirty.

Slippers: A must, in my opinion. Your flat may be a bit drafty and heating is expensive. Also, the sidewalks in Edinburgh at least, are really filthy so you may not want to wear shoes in the house.

Generally, you will probably regret bringing too many clothes at the expense of other items. A large wardrobe is less common in the UK than in the US, so it would be far better to bring fewer clothes of nice quality than lots of clothes so that you have something different to wear every day of the month.

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