Getting along with others personally and in the workplace is a case of adaptability and open-mindedness. For businesses, this is a valuable asset that saves a company time and money. On a personal basis, a person who is able to adapt to all kinds of people is going to be more successful in the long run, rather than the one who causes conflict.
We all bring our backgrounds and preconceived notions to any situation. Differences and misunderstandings can be alleviated with a little research. Getting to know someone and using good etiquette by politely asking questions helps dislodge stereotypes. By getting to know the person, you might find other qualities that you can focus on that make that person unique, rather than whatever you might be uncomfortable with. You also might find out what you thought you knew just needed more explanation to make more sense.
In many ways Americans have veered too far into individualism and me-ism. As each individual becomes their own supreme over anyone else, others not in line with what they see as “right” are considered unacceptable. The human race is made up of so many kinds of people of different beliefs, races, intellects, backgrounds, and abilities. Missing out on the diversity of humankind is a chance lost on appreciating the fullness of all that has been created. This requires adaptability, throwing these stereotypes and notions aside, and focusing on the good of people and meeting them where they are to learn more about them and enjoy them.
The same adaptability goes for travelers. If you are traveling to another country, whether for business or travel, you have to be able to adapt to the culture, situations, and the weather. Travelers should also blend in and not draw attention to themselves, as they submerge themselves into a culture. Just like getting to know another person, when packing for a trip, don’t forget to pack your shoes of adaptability.
Packing for a trip can be challenging, especially if you plan to be gone for any length of time, or if you need to bring specific clothes for events and meetings. It can be even more daunting if you are unsure of what type of clothes will be needed. When traveling, especially for business, men and women must also consider clothes that may need to be ironed, may be too heavy, or are flexible for the weather. The easiest solution is to select items that are transformable, require very little ironing, can be worn in layers, and are neutral in color to blend in.
5 Ways to Pack Smart
Wearing neutral colored clothing works well for any situation, and especially as business wear. Neutral and solid colors are peaceful, suggest steadiness and a professional demeanor. Neutral colored clothing ‘mixes-and-match’ easily to create a variety of outfits. You can also add color by accessorizing.
Colors: white, beige, light grey, charcoal grey, dark blue, black
Suggestions for women: black jacket, black pants, black knee length skirt, white or beige shirts, solid-colored shirts, muted patterns
Suggestions for men: black, blue jacket, black pants, white-collared shirts, light blue-colored shirts
2. Wear Layers
Wearing layers helps with adapting to different temperatures. The temperature indoors might be significantly cooler than outside. Likewise, with changing weather, daytime weather might be much warmer than the cool mornings and evenings.
• Camisoles worn underneath clothing help add extra warm, are an extra layer for sheer material, and make for a nice changing base layer. A quick change of shirt while wearing a camisole underneath make switching clothes easier.
• Men might be able to wear a solid light-weight t-shirt underneath a collared-shirt.
• For cold weather, consider wearing sleek thermal underwear underneath pants or hose. This helps keep pants clean for re-wearing if necessary and they are lightweight and dry quickly when washed.
• Some shirts that have solid patterns or conservative patterns may work for a business meeting and also for casual off-work time. These can be dressed up with a jacket or worn casually with a sweater or by themself.
• A business jacket can function as an outer coat and is easy to remove if it is too hot.
3. Limit Shoes
Limit the number of shoes you pack. Shoe-lovers might have favorite shoes that match each outfit. Shoes can be clunky to pack and take up a lot of space. If traveling for work, try to select a dress shoe or heel which goes with pretty much everything and can still work for special event evenings out on the town. You will want to have a pair of flat shoes that you can enjoy walking around in during your free-time. Men will also want to have a pair of business shoes and a pair that is more casual for walking. If you plan to be around water, like to relax with flip flops to air out your feet after a long day, or are afraid of contracting foot fungus in the shower or by the pool, you might want to plan to bring a pair of flip-flops. These take up very little space and are convenient to have with you for your time off.
Bring items that are easy to roll, fold, and are wrinkle-free. Leave thick and heavy clothes at home or plan to wear them on the plane. These add to the weight of the suitcase and to the price of your luggage if flying. Most hotels and accommodations have an iron, but press clothing made of material that is no-wrinkle takes very little time, if needed at all. Hanging your clothes up that are prone to wrinkling helps shake out wrinkles.
Accessorizing can give an entire new appearance to an outfit. Go from a business meeting with a shirt and jacket, pull off the jacket, put the hair up and add colored jewelry or a scarf for an entire new look. Traveling with a scarf and a few conservative accessories is smart. Scarfs can be worn many ways. Men should always bring a tie for business meetings and other engagements.
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Being adaptable to cultures is more than just wearing clothes though. It is about blending in and accepting others with an understanding of a way other than your own. Learning expressions, trying new foods, conducting business all requires adaptability to those you are coming in contact with. It can be an exciting experience to learn about new cultures and people. Whether locally or traveling internationally, be open-minded to get to know someone new while practicing respect and good etiquette!
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