Skip to main content

10 Essentials For Summer Travel: My Choices for Spain



by Lu Sobredo

Don’t you love it when Spring comes? Spring signals that time when summer travel plans are just about done. At least, that’s how I see the world. 

I see the world through a different prism since the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) five years ago when the disease overwhelmed my whole being. My treating RA doctor had said that the onset of the disease may have been five years prior to the time of diagnosis. Not surprising that my view of the world has changed; my view of life has changed. I now look more often for a chance to travel, keenly aware this RA afflicted body could betray me at anytime. Life with RA means my daily routine is pretty predictable. So is the pain. Thoughts of summer travel sparks the spirit, and helps overshadow RA pain. 

It doesn’t matter if the plan is to travel for two weeks or two months. And no matter how exhausting flights might feel, remember to look pulled together. 

I don’t know about you, but no matter how crappy I might feel from travel fatigue and/or fatigue and pain from my RA, I somehow feel better when dressed up. Dressed up just means putting summer wardrobe pieces together that easily mix and match. Fabric must be lightweight. Pieces should fit snugly in a carry-on luggage. The lighter the luggage, the better for my suffering hands and wrists.

Save money by checking what’s already in the closet. Splurge on a couple of new purchases, only if budget allows. It’s best to choose one color that serves as foundation for travel clothes. Whatever appeals to the senses! Look in your closet or shopping rack. Usually black works well as a base. This summer, update wardrobe and showcase neutral, light or muted colors in place of black or in addition to black. My go-to basic pieces in my closet are: black pants, brown-toned lightweight jacket, a print scarf in black, brown & white, and a roomy latte-toned bag.


Inflight Outfit in Black and Brown. ©Lu Sobredo

Since RA medications e.g. prednisone and other anti-inflammatory prescriptions have led to weight gain, I have learned to embrace the more-generously-fitting clothes. And I think, it’s all good. I smile as I speculate on the alternative: slender, yet in excruciating pain when not taking my meds. Clothes-size is not as important these days. I go for simplicity, including my choice of color palette. Black or any solid color makes wardrobe-building uncomplicated. 

These days, I consider myself a health/travel blogger, far from a fashionista or fashion blogger. This one time, I decided to  have fun pretending that I know a little about fashion. What could I possibly wear after RA medications led to weight-gain? We all know that building a travel wardrobe is a personal matter. Managing RA is stressful enough, why stress out over wardrobe for travel. This article is simply to remind myself and maybe others that just because the body feels lousy, no one has to look it. Looking pulled together somehow helps me feel radiant—code for feeling positive. Whether I actually look radiant or not is totally immaterial. 

Take a look at these 10 essential pieces; perfect for layering. It’s wise to layer for those temperature fluctuations: from the heat of outdoor summer sun to the breezy cold of air conditioned hotel lobbies or indoor restaurants.

WHAT TOP 10 ESSENTIALS?

  • Summer Skirt or Pants: I am leaning towards sage green. Why? Sage seems like a calming color reminiscent of nature but not overwhelming so. Some 2018 Spring Catalogues seem to feature it. Lightweight skirt or a pair of pants in sage serves as my starting point this year.
Sage Green Ankle-Length Skirt from my Closet. ©Lu Sobredo
  • A Top with Sleeves—Plain or Printed: One short sleeves or three quarters sleeves in black is a practical choice. It works well for casual day wear, but could be dressed up with tasteful accessories for evening wear. Bring a second top—one printed and preferably floral for a summer flair. It pairs wonderfully with the sage skirt or pants.
Floral Blouse from my Closet. ©Lu Sobredo
  • Sundress: Summer sun calls for a summer dress. Knee length or ankle length—whatever rocks your travel world. This summer, add a little whimsy with a chevron striped long linen dress in white and latte/beige color. It’s an unconventional rendition of a striped sundress. Linen does tend to wrinkle, but don’t let that stop you. Besides, the fresh crisp linen look just screams summer. And linen washes and hang-dries easily. The wrinkled look just emphasizes how much fun you’re having. 
Chevron Striped Ankle-Length Summer Dress. ©Lu Sobredo
  • Sweater: One hip-length lightweight sweater either in black, forest green or coffee brown would pair well with sage green skirt and pants; even with chevron striped white & latte summer dress. Keeping warm during flights or train rides could be annoying. A light cotton or wool blend is a practical solution. A sweater eases well into evening: maybe a dinner at an affordable yet high-end restaurant. See my blog post on the topic on where to eat: Affordable High-End Spanish Food: Dining at Narru.
Coffee Brown Sweater over a Sundress. ©Lu Sobredo
  • Black Pants: Can’t go wrong with a pair of black pants (see earlier photo). A blend of cotton, rayon and elastic material is a practical wear onboard airlines. A pair of black pants gives versatility to the summer wardrobe on the go. Wear a black top with black pants in both casual or slightly formal venue.

  • Shorts: Any color will do. Don’t be afraid to go for the basic black. You can’t go  wrong. A pair of shorts could double as sleep wear if needed. A cotton or linen blend is my choice. It’s lightweight and doesn’t show dirt easily. Why worry about a little dirt when sitting on sand or outdoor furniture when sipping cold drinks while watching the sun come down? Taking in the ambiance is much better for the senses.
Loose-Fitting Black Shorts. ©Lu Sobredo
  • T-Shirt: A lightweight cotton or cotton blend shirt has practical uses. Wear out while sightseeing or indoors while lounging. Even practical as sleepwear. The color is immaterial. Choose a solid color for a dressy look; printed for a more casual one. A black tee goes well with sage or black pants. 
Black Cotton T-Shirt. ©Lu Sobredo
  • A Short Summer Dress: Sundresses are fun to wear in  the summer. Floral prints exude a happy presence. I lean more to a linen blend knee-length dress. My choice is a toss up between floral or solid black in linen. As you can see, I just can’t stay away from pieces in solid black or linen. Have fun with your choice of color or prints.  A black or forest green sweater is a perfect cover if desired.
Linen Blend Knee-Length Summer Dress from My Closet. ©Lu Sobredo
  • Scarf or Pashmina: Never travel without some kind of scarf. They are a travel staple. If big enough, it works as cover over a bathing suit. It serves beautifully as a wrap in cooler weather. Use over a summer top or sundress. If large enough, it could work as a sarong for quick dressing to walk on the beach. Depending on material or color, it can dress up any outfit. My color choice for a generously sized scarf is pale pink, a nice complement to black and sage green pieces. It is a refreshing option to summer white.

Light Pink Pashmina/Shawl from my Closet (Gift from a Colleague). ©Lu Sobredo
  • Bathing Suit: A must now that I maintain my aqua exercise  even while on travel. Water therapy is especially critical for relieving  stiffness and pain from RA. Any bathing suit that is one piece/traditional could work. Even an elastic pair of shorts and top could fill the bill.
Charcoal/Black Swimwear. ©Lu Sobredo

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH SUMMER WEAR?
As a disabled traveler afflicted with RA, I pay close attention on what to wear when traveling. I don’t want to be bothered with unnecessary inconveniences; thus the keen attention to travel wear ahead of time. I have enough on my mind, such as ensuring I take medications on time, watching how I move (with my walking cane) so as not to fall or injure myself, and staying mentally strong in dealing with unrelenting pain and stiffness on days my RA flares. Looking pulled together helps me exude positivity regardless how the body feels. Granted, my main concerns when traveling are safety and comfort of course. Looking pulled together, is secondary.

Counting the days toward summer. Aren’t you? Plan your summer travel now. Remember to save room in your suitcase for potential purchases to take home from your trip. And have a blissful experience. Bon Voyage!

©Lu Sobredo

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way endorsing a clothing line or brand by this post, nor do I get monetary incentive when mentioning my go-to stores. I tend to shop at JJill particularly since my weight-gain. But where I shop depends on my needs: REI for outer wear, Costco for everyday wear, the Loft for sweaters, and Macy's or Nordstrom for more formal wear. I am also drawn to Zara, Corte Ingles and small local boutiques when in Spain. 

About the Author 
Lu Sobredo is writer/publisher at Lu Travels Abroad, a blog dedicated to folks whose limitations do not hamper them from traveling. About a year into early retirement came the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Her world collapsed from under her as the disability rendered her nearly-immobile and wheelchair-bound for almost three years. Her family's life changed. Her total life changed, but she did not let RA define her. With much will & love from family, friends and an awesome doctor, she regained some functionality--her new normal. She will have RA all her life. And she now writes about life and travel with RA.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Travel and Why Not?

By Lu Sobredo WELCOME to LuTravelsAbroad Website! What's new with me? TODAY I am exploring possible format/design for my LuTravelsAbroad website, for my Blog and Facebook page. Tickled to be launching a new venture. I have this incredible feeling of drive from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. A similar feeling that came over me when I finally realized I will travel abroad again. Travel while disabled, you might ask? Why not?

WHY A TRAVEL BLOG The Travel Blog and Facebook web presence is meant to be a self-help travel corner, and a vehicle for opening up about my personal health journey. When preparing for the 2016 travel, some websites and travel blogs were a great help. While in Spain as I focused on the moment and less and less on what discomfort to anticipate, I gradually experienced the thrill of traveling. It was then that I began to envision creating a one-stop self-help corner for people facing physical and other challenges similar to mine. The hope always is to nudg…

Top 10 Restaurants We Love in Spain

By Lu Sobredo
Gastronomy and Spain have become synonymous. Writing this photo essay makes me think of scrumptious meals. My mouth is literally watering with great longing to return.
Since starting my blog in 2016, my husband and I are often asked for recommendation of places to eat when in Spain. I have given recommendations in a private message through my travel Facebook Page: Lutravelsabroad. And I do it happily. But there is no reason to keep our recommendations private.
When one finds a gold mine, I believe it is important to share the wealth. My family and I have managed to partake in culinary feasts on a budget when traveling. When we do some modest splurging, it is all planned and calculated into our travel expense. Why not live a little while we still can? If curious, you can still access my first Blog post on the subject: Happy Eating on a Budget in Spain. This earlier essay takes you from the Madrid area and Barcelona, to the Galician region in Santiago de Compostela including …

Finding Philippine Art at the Asian Art Museum

by Lu Sobredo

"Celebrate the rich diversity of Philippine art with 25 compelling works recently added to the Asian Art Museum’s collection. Expressive indigenous carving, jewelry and textiles; Christian devotional statues from the Spanish colonial period; postwar genre and landscape paintings; and contemporary works come together in this intimate exhibition to tell fascinating and complex stories of the Philippines.” ~ Asian Art Museum
IntroductionI’m surprised to be hanging out on a Thursday afternoon at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in the middle of summer. Most times, I am there either appreciating some permanent exhibit or being drawn to a special exhibit or event. Sometimes, I could be found simply sitting at the museum Cafe sipping green tea and lingering over an apple almond tart. It is at these moments when I am moved to write. The writing I do these days is for my blog.
It feels like I have been given a gift every time my husband James participates either in a sched…

Walking the Camino de Santiago: Pilgrimage on My Terms (Parts 1 & 2)

By Lu Sobredo PART IIntroduction Walking near the border of France and Spain through the Spanish Pyrenees to the city of Santiago de Compostela was not the vacation I envisaged, not for my first trip to Spain in 2010. However, my husband James, the avid adventurer had other ideas born out of an earlier visit to Madrid and Seville in 2006. It was a decision that turned out to be monumental for the family and deeply personal for me.

This essay is sprinkled with practical hints from lessons learned in the pilgrimage. It is a personal reflection of the whole experience. It is about the physically challenging, emotionally invigorating, and spiritually uplifting journey. It was an experience made increasingly significant because of a life-changing diagnosis that followed three years later, a diagnosis that has rendered me chronically disabled. I sincerely hope this serves as an important reminder to all: act now on your dream to travel while you can because tomorrow is promised to no one.

Fr…

Life With RA: Exercise Strategy That Works, Article #5

LIFE WITH RA: EXERCISE STRATEGY THAT WORKS Article #5
By Lu Sobredo
Why write about exercise if you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
Exercise was the last thing on my mind when RA inundatedmajor joints in my body starting in 2013. Pain was excruciating on both knees, ankles, wrists, fingers and hands. Inflammation and stiffness were so pronounced; I grew resentful over how the disease stole the flexibility my body once knew. Everyday routine did not happen without my husband's help. But I did my best to will my pained body to move. The body gradually adapted to gentle and measured movements. And three years after I began the regimen of medications & treatment, my RA-ridden body gradually stabilized. There is no cure for what ails me, so who knows what the future holds. However, I am convinced that without attempts at movement, the disease could have crippled me irrevocably.



WHY EXERCISE WHEN THE BODY IS IN PAIN Exercising when in pain sounds counter-intuitive. But three years …

World in Motion: Part I -- Health Storm

WORLD IN MOTION: PART I

A health storm descended on my family's lives...
By Lu Sobredo
The southeasterly wind howled. What has angered it so? The rain wasn’t happy either. The delugepounded against the wall near where I slept. There was swaying for sure. Or was I having one of those episodes that compelled my husband to drive me to a nearby hospital? We both agreed my symptoms were alarming enough that warranted a run to the emergency room.  

I slowly opened my eyes to get my bearings. Still too dark to be morning. The light from the digital clock reminded me we spent the night in our sailboat. It was 3 a.m., Sunday January 6, 2019. Epiphany Sunday, the feast day for christians to commemorate when God the incarnate revealed as Jesus Christ to the Magi—The Three Kings. Somehow, I felt the Universe was speaking to me in kind words despite the tempestuous weather.
Our boat was safely moored. However, the wrath of the storm hitting Northern California made itself felt. The wild rocking of …

Through His Camera Lens: Lights, Landscapes and Life Abroad

by Lu Sobredo
~Celebrating the many dimensions of my husband James Sobredo: his interest, talent and heart as reflected through his camera lens.


IntroductionYes, my son and I, and sometimes our friends take very good pictures with our mobile phones. But the person, whose camera lens I totally rely on to document life's moments and special places, is my husband James Sobredo. Being around him and his photography partner and close friend, Steven Montalvo when on their photography shoots, is both meditative and exhilarating to watch. As if their eyes are connected to their hearts. And after many hours and enormous patience, they might be happy with the outcome. I know I am.

Folks have asked me why I find blogging so much fun? Other than the fact that:
My family actually have visited the amazing places I write about.I get to meet fascinating people and who have become part of my family’s life. As strange as this sounds, it’s even fun to awkwardly attempt speaking a different language when…