How Not to Pack for a Vacation in Warm Climates

As usual, I overpacked. And on top of that, I didn’t choose well for my trip to California, where it was much warmer.

Let’s start with necklines. I need to think about them differently than I used to, but my wardrobe has only partially evolved. Years ago, when I was choosing a photo for an online dating profile, someone said that my previous photos didn’t show enough skin. A friend took a photo of me wearing a dress that showed a little more skin. When it comes to shirts, I like scoop necks because they’re flattering and comfortable.

Skin cancer requires protective clothing

Most of the shirts I brought to California showed too much neck. I’ve had skin cancer on my neck and I half forgot that it should be covered. When getting dressed on the first day of vacation, I tried on one shirt after another and stuffed them back in the suitcase. I settled on the one that covers more of my neck. Back in the day when I put on tank tops to get my shoulders nice and brown, I never thought I would be choosing shirts based on how much skin they covered.

We were going to be walking a lot after a family brunch. I put on my Saucony running shirt, the one shirt that I had brought that covered my chest. It doesn’t have sun protection, but I like the way it covers my neck while at the same time not going too high, like a turtleneck would; turtlenecks feel like they are choking me. I felt underdressed, but at least I was comfortable and covered.

The right hat

I have some brimmed hats at home but instead threw in a baseball cap, the kind I use when running and playing tennis. My cousin had a pile of brimmed hats, fedoras, with SPF of 50. It was silly of me to bring the baseball cap. I recently had a Mohs on a spot on the back of my neck. The baseball hats I wear definitely don’t protect that area. She lent me a hat by a designer, Eric Javitz. It had an SPF factor of 50 and fit like a glove. I really wanted to get one like it. She told me it cost $250! I wasn’t going to spend that. But I committed myself to look for that hat on sale. It is called a squishy hat because it packs up nicely. With my sunglasses on, people said I looked stylish.

Improvising with sun protection

I didn't want to wear the same running shirt every day. On the days that I wore a scoop-necked shirt, I wrapped a scarf around my neck for sun protection.

I tried to remember to put sunscreen on my hands. I do it more in the summer at home but not much in the winter, when it is colder and I often wear gloves. Sometimes I don’t think of it - it’s another practice that only came on my radar after skin cancer.

Skin cancer on my hands

I’m frustrated with the way the skin on my hands is behaving. I treated my hands with Efudex several times. They cleared up. Then the pre-cancers came back. One of my dermatologists said that you have to keep going after it.

It would be interesting to do a study of skin cancer on the hands in my mother’s generation when it was fashionable to wear gloves. I remember her having kid gloves, a white pair, and a black pair. The glove-wearing ladies probably had fewer skin cancers on their hands. I wear SPF gloves, with fingertip holes, when playing tennis or running, but I don’t usually wear them around.

In any case, it was hard to return my cousin’s hat to her. I’m going to spend some time looking for it on sale or looking for something similar...and more reasonably priced. Maybe I'll also find a pair of nicer gloves.

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