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This post is definitely for my female friends, as the male ones just don’t “get it”.

As you may know if you’ve been hanging around my blog for any length of time, we now spend about 3 months in Europe during the winter months.  We started this about 4 years ago, after spending 30+ years traveling around Europe for short 1-2 week trips as often as vacation time and money allowed.

Now, before I tell you about “the Case of the Missing Clothes”, it’s essential that I share what my normal winter packing list is for Europe.

Clothes?  Who Needs Clothes?

The key words (in terms of clothing) on my normal packing list are active wear and athleticThis means that I wouldn’t look out of place going to the gym in almost anything that I bring.  There’s a reason for this, and if you really want to know you can check out my current normal packing list for 2017 if you want to.

Finally, It’s My Turn!

Earlier this year (February 2017) while we were staying in Valencia, Spain for a month….an opportunity presented itself to us.

An opportunity to do something we’ve been meaning to do for a long time but had never quite managed to accomplish.

A European river cruise.

Not a difficult thing to plan, and one that we’ve helped numerous clients with over the years, but something that we just never quite got to ourselves.

We weren’t looking, and had absolutely no intention of trying to find a river cruise before we left our home in the U.S. in late January.  However,  an email flew into my inbox with an opportunity that seemed too good to pass up.  In fact, we already had a road trip through the Loire Valley of France planned for April for when the river cruise was scheduled.  And as an added bonus we had some  good friends coming to join us for the France road trip.  Surely, we couldn’t consider scrapping all those plans and getting on the boat, could we?  Well, it was like fate decided for us, I guess!

We decided to scrap the road trip, rearrange our schedule and book the Uniworld river cruise.  Wow, I was so excited.  Not only was I crossing something off my travel bucket list, but we had a great itinerary on the Rhone River of France going from Avignon to Lyon.  We also had a great modern (almost brand new) river cruise vessel, and a wonderful relaxing week to look forward to at the end of our extended European stay.  What’s not to love about all that?

So we booked and paid for our river cruise.  Signed, sealed and delivered!  Now all I had to do was wait about 6 weeks and enjoy the delicious anticipation of knowing that we had this wonderful trip coming up soon.

The Case of the Missing Clothes

Well I certainly enjoyed that delicious anticipation for awhile.

Here I am when I finally realized that the only clothes I had with me were suitable for the local gym and not much else.

Hmm, what to do….what to do…..

Listen, I was not going to show up on the boat with nothing but active/athletic wear.  I mean…seriously?

Inspector ClothesseauClearly, this was a case for Inspector Clothesseau.  I’m so grateful he came to the rescue!

Not only did he solve the mystery of which stores my missing cruise clothes were in, but he kept me company and provided encouragement while I made my way from store to store in search of what I needed.

He also prevented me from going overboard before I even reached the boat!  Overboard in terms of spending, that is 🙂  After all, I only had just so much room in my existing luggage and I just needed a few basics to get me through.

So just in case there are any other ladies out there who become involved in a mystery such as this one, I’ve decided to share how I overcame my problem, was able to look reasonably fashionable on the boat and spend very little money to do it.


Emergency River Cruise Packing List

So here’s my emergency river cruise packing list.  This is all the stuff that I acquired while I was out trying to solve the “Mystery of the Missing Clothes” with Inspector Clothesseau.  These few items were very inexpensive and turned my existing wardrobe into one that would work for pretty much anything.

river cruise packing list


So what specifically did I buy?

In reality, not much.  But enough important basics that allowed me to mix/match with the stuff I already had and actually make it through activities day or night without feeling like I was improperly dressed.

Here’s the list –

  • Black knee length skirt
  • Silver shimmery skirt
  • Khaki pants
  • White chino pants
  • 2 white basic tank tops
  • Cream long flowey sweater
  • Navy shimmery long flowey sweater
  • 2 white tunic type tops
  • Nude heels
  • Silver flats
  • Purse accessory that doubled as evening bag

All basic pieces that could be added to my wardrobe once I was back home.  That was a must for me.

So, do you have any “missing clothing mysteries” of your own to talk about?  If you do, leave me a comment and tell me all about it!

And if you’re planning a trip, don’t miss any important details that need to be looked after.  Use my trip planning checklist.

If this is your first visit to my blog, don’t miss my about page so you can learn what the heck goes on around here.

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Mary Emmer
Mary Emmer

About the Author

Mary is an online entrepreneur here at Still en Route where she uses her knowledge from a travel industry career beginning in 1984 to write about everything travel-related, sometimes with a baby boomer twist!  Read more.

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