Fashion: What to wear on train trip

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Q: I have signed up for an amazing tour in July, a benefit for the Central Florida Railroad Museum in Winter Garden. It is an 11-day journey on three different trains, from Banff to Vancouver Island in western Canada, overnighting at quite fancy hotels. A highlight is a daylong visit to the Columbia Glacier ice fields. What should I pack if I want to travel light? Should I take a cocktail dress?

A: Packing for a trip that includes a range of activities and temperatures is a challenge ? but you can do it if you stick with the basic rule of traveling light: Assemble a collection of mix-and-match layers in two or three colors, add a few choice accessories and just two pairs of shoes.

Oh, OK. Three pairs of shoes. Something comfortable but reasonably sturdy, such as loafers or oxfords, for wearing on the train or exploring towns along your route. Warm, waterproof hiking boots for your glacier adventure, the hiking trails at Lake Louise, the ferry crossing to Vancouver Island, and other excursions where conditions likely will be rough, cold and possibly wet. And flats or pumps for evenings at the hotel and nights on the town.

For the rest, I suggest about five pairs of pants (three casual, two dressy), about 10 tops, a couple of light sweaters or jackets, a really warm jacket or parka, and a raincoat. Think lightweight, warm, comfortable, wrinkle-resistant and color-coordinated.

For evening, consider black pants with a black sweater or blouse, which you can glamorize with a few choice pieces of costume jewelry or scarves. A big, soft pashmina in your favorite color adds warmth without taking up much space in your suitcase. Take one basic, medium-size purse for day or evening. And pack warm socks, gloves, headgear and sunglasses. (Ice can be dazzling.) Add pajamas, underwear ? and all aboard!

A cocktail dress? I wouldn’t. And if you still have questions, I suggest you contact Let’s Travel, the Orlando agency handling the trip.

(c) 2010, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.