Photo by Dr. Tina Alster

Her travel mantra is no check-in, two carry-ons with shoes. Dr. Tina Alster knows a thing or two about packing.


But when she recently booked, with husband Paul Frazer, a bucket list three-week round the world National Geographic Tour by private jet, I was intrigued.


Her globe-trotting expedition featured 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Easter Island to the Great Barrier Reef. With the experts she learned about groundbreaking research in marine biology, anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology. 


She gained insight into local cultures as she visited a women’s weaving cooperative in Peru, a medical clinic in Tibet, and an animal refuge in Australia. 

Angkor Wat (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Angkor Wat

Amazing, yes!




Dish: This was not your three-day conference in LA or girls shopping trip to Paris. How did you pack differently for three weeks, multiple climates and occasions?


Dr. T:  I didn’t have to worry about packing for work (which often involves lectures, TV interviews, and evening dinners/receptions requiring a variety of  suits and dresses) so it was much easier.


For daytime, I wore comfortable clothes and shoes since I knew there would be a lot of walking. In addition, I prepared for long-haul flights (which were LITERALLY every other day).


In sum, I packed 4 pairs of black leggings (2 cropped and 2 long), 7 thin t-shirts (2 long sleeve, 3 short sleeve, 2 sleeveless), 7 long breezy dresses that could transition from day to evening, 2 thermal/fleece shirts, 2 thermal vests, 1 lightweight rain jacket, 1 Patagonia lightweight pullover, 1 pair lightweight travel pants, 1 jersey travel dress (in black, of course), 1 lightweight sweater, 1 cropped cardigan, 1 jean jacket, 1 bathing suit, 1 gauzy cover-up, 2 scarves, and underwear/socks.

Easter Island (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Easter Island

Dish: How many color palettes? 


Dr. T: Naturally, black was the main color (leggings, travel pants/fleeces), but I was also able to throw in a few other colors- even chartreuse!


Dish How many shoes? 


Dr. T: I packed 2 pairs of All Birds sneakers (dark charcoal and chartreuse), 6 pairs of different colored sandals (all flat, save 1 pair of high heels), and 1 pair of slip-on sneakers.

Peru (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Peru

Dish: Did you take jewelry and evening wear?


Dr. T: Since jewelry doesn’t take up much room and can definitely change an outfit, I packed several stretchy bracelets, necklaces, and earrings (mostly costume- not fine jewelry).

In addition to the long dresses that I mentioned above, I packed a pair of black silk pants and a silk shirt and added extra jewelry with a cropped sweater or scarf as needed.

Tanzania (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Tanzania

Dish: What was the one thing you wish you’d brought along?


Dr. T: More paperbacks to read during the long-haul flights.


Dish: What should you have left behind? Did you leave/give anything away during the trip?


Dr. T: I actually wore or used everything that I packed, so there was no waste. I left behind a few books that I read along the way, but that’s about it.

Machu Picchu (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Machu Picchu

Dish: What destination was the most magical?


Dr. T: Definitely Petra. It was a glorious day and there was so much to see!

If I hadn’t already been to Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm), it would have been a tie.

Nepal (Photo by: Dr. Tina Alster) Nepal

Dish: How did the experience change you? What way of life that you saw up-close had the most effect?


Dr. T: Besides reminding me that the world is big, the poverty of Nepal (Katmandu) and the repression of the Tibetans (from the Chinese) were striking and unanticipated.


Dish: Where do you want to go next?

Dr. T: My next trip abroad will likely be Normandy and Brittany. A planned trip there was scrapped 25 years ago, so now that I’ve checked a number of other destinations off of my bucket list, its time has come!

1 Comment For This Article


Great tips for packing from Dr. "T". Brilliant!