As soon as we got home from our cruise, we started to review our “lessons learned” (see my blog post for that trip). We decided that the first thing to work on was a travel wardrobe; we really wanted to have clothes that were easily washable and dryable. Packable and lightweight were considerations as well, but our main concern was that we be able to wash something and have it dry overnight. Clayton started to research clothing brands, and Ex-Officio kept popping up as an excellent brand. We have a travel store in Edmonds, WA (very near where we live), and made a field trip to see what we could find. They did indeed carry Ex-Officio, and we were quite shocked by the cost. We decided to each buy a couple pairs of their “underoos”; since they were easy wash/dry, we figured we would only need 2 pairs each. Then, we headed over to Rick Steves’ store (yes, we are very lucky that it is located only a few miles from where we live) to look to see what types of travel items were for sale there. Although this shop does not stock clothing per se, it does give you a good idea of what some handy items to have on hand are. There are varying types of suitcases and backpacks, as well as money belts, packing cubes, and many other types of travel accessories. At this point, we were mainly looking for ideas and inspiration rather than purchasing anything.
We are definitely bargain shoppers (one of my nicknames is “bargain hunter”), so decided that once we decided on what we wanted to buy that we would look on-line for deals. Since it was December, there were all kinds of great pre-Christmas deals to be had. We knew that the weather for our next trip would be hot, so we were looking for warm weather clothes. It was a fantastic time of year to shop for summer travel clothes; so many were at clearance prices since it was off season. Clayton found some Columbia travel pants for around $30 (the same pants cost closer to $75 at our local travel shop); he ordered a couple of pairs on-line. When they arrived, we were both terribly impressed with how lightweight they were. Not only would they be easy to wash and dry, they would hardly take up any room at all in our luggage! I decided that I would need some travel pants, too. The downside of shopping online is that you (obviously) can’t try things on until they arrive, and if they don’t fit, you have to pay to ship them back (unless, of course, you order from Amazon). However, I remembered that there is a Columbia Outlet Store at our local outlet mall, so we headed up to Marysville to see if I could find something comparable to Clayton’s pants.
Holy cow! The outlet store was amazing! They had perfect pants for me that were marked 50% off the lowest price; I got 2 pairs for $20 each! They not only were the nice, lightweight fabric that I was looking for; they also converted into capris! And, I found shirts that were similar. The sleeves rolled up and buttoned, so could either be worn as long sleeved or elbow length. I protect myself from the sun as much as humanly possible; these shirts were the perfect weight for hot weather but covered me up. And, they were nice, bright colors (my favorite). I think Clayton may have purchased a couple of shirts there as well; I was too caught up in my own shopping ecstasy to remember. . .
Well, that little shopping trip was the start of a continuous hunt for great deals on travel clothes. We have scored big on REI outlet deals (online), Amazon deals, and any other company’s deals that we could locate. I started stocking up on Smartwool socks, which I fell in love with on our previous cruise. I wanted low-rise/no show socks this time around. I had also fallen in love with Keen and Alegria shoes. I have wide feet and have found both brands fit my fat little feet and provide excellent support. I ended up buying a pair of Alegria sandals (outlet prices online), and a pair of Keen water shoes, which are very lightweight and comfortable to walk in (REI sale).
Personally, I believe in never paying full price for anything when it can be had for less. Since we had plenty of time, I was able to find many great deals! I have made frequent trips up to the Columbia shop and have picked up some capris and shorts to go with my full-length pants. Boy, do I love a good bargain!