Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Rules Are, There Are No Rules!

I've been mulling over in my head over the last few months about what to pack for our year long trip to Costa Rica. I say year long because the plan is to go over for a year and then reassess whether we want to continue living there or possibly move to another country. Either way we'll be coming back home next year to take care of business, tend to any medical needs and restock our supplies. 

My dilemma has been about how much to take and what to take. I've read a lot of information about how to pack for Costa Rica and every single thing I've read has emphasized taking very few things and suggests that the clothes you take include short sleeve tops, flip, flops and casual skorts. Most of the expats have found little use for any type of dressier clothing.

At first the tips really bothered me because although I like to be as casual as the next guy, I also like to dress nice. I'm not in my 20's so the way I dress tends to be a little more dressy. I plan to attend cultural events like the ballet and the symphony. I just can't see myself in yoga pants and flip flops everyday. 

If you pack too light you run the risk of running out of clothes. I would not be happy if I only had 5 or 10 clothing choices. I think you should wake up in the morning and be inspired by what is in your wardrobe. Even in Costa Rica.

Style is personal. It comes from within, from knowing who you are and who you want to be; not from wanting to be somebody else or following someone else's rules. So I decided to be myself and take as many things as I want. To me its better to be safe than sorry. 

photo source
You can never please everyone so dress in what makes you feel amazing. Living abroad you most likely will have a different style than that of the locals. Adopt what you like and mix it with your own sense of style. 

Your wardrobe should contain only amazing choices. If you don’t like the way you look in something before you leave, you probably won’t ever wear it on your trip.

Here are some tips I agree with.

Tips for Travel in Costa Rica 

1. Take the lightest cotton "sun veil" fabrics to wear on or near the beaches. Sarongs over matching bathing suits can double as evening dinner wear. Denim is much too hot near beach areas. A light cashmere shawl is great to wear evenings in San Jose.

2. Consider packing a pair of quick dry pants with zip-off pant legs. They will keep you warmer, protect you from the mud in cloud forests and avoid mosquitoes. 

3. When you are traveling in Costa Rica avoid revealing clothes. Try to dress tastefully and elegantly. Pack light clothing made of cotton which is perfect. You can wear jeans or shots too, but not too short. But the best way is to dress simply and elegantly. If traveling in the mountains, bring a warm jacket, the higher the altitude the colder it is.

4. Take very casual summer separates--shorts, tops. If you intend on being in Cloud Forests or volcano areas, take rubber shoes--cheap ones that you can throw away at the end of the trip. It is very wet and these work great. Take a slicker or rain gear even during dry months. They have very soft gentle rains. Go with neat, simple items--a few skirts and long sleeve tops for night. People do clean up in the evening but not fancy.

5. In San Jose during the rainy season (May-November), people usually carry umbrellas--brightly colored "sombrillas" for women and black "paraguas" for men. In the mountains, a lightweight rain poncho is usually more convenient.

6. Oh and do bring all of your bras as they are very expensive if you have to buy them locally. 

Now, the only thing left is for me to choose which items to take. I have an assortment of clothing already picked out. I am going to following the 10 rule meaning I will take 10 of each type of clothing (dresses, pants, etc). Hopefully I can fit everything in 3 suitcases.

I'll report back. 

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