What and what not to pack when travelling
Packing for a simple holiday is sometimes challenging enough, so it’s understandably difficult trying to work out what to bring travelling with you. I thought it would be good to share some top tips I’ve picked up along my travels to make the process easier – here are just some of them. In the past I’ve shared this post on packing but this time I’ve gone more in-depth.
PACK: Sensible clothes
Perhaps the most important thing to ensure you have with you when travelling is a sensible wardrobe. You won’t want to bring anything too flashy or too heavy as they won’t be suitable for the trip. Instead, opt for a few lightweight tops, bottoms and dresses, as well as enough underwear to last you 😉
You’ll want to ensure you have the right clothes for strenuous activity – hiking and walking are always a massive part of travelling, so consider socks and comfortable shoes, but only if you’re planning to do a lot of footwork. Don’t purchase them just for exploring cities and flat terrain, as echoed by the Secret Traveller. And don’t buy anything expensive, either – there’s a chance that it’ll be ruined by the end of your adventure, and won’t be worth bringing back with you. Good place to check out is TKMax or Blacks (in clearance) are good for sensible footwear, this is where I looked for my trip to Scotland and our hikes.
DON’T PACK: Valuables
Packing things such as expensive jewellery is non-sensical when it comes to travelling. The risk of theft when exploring certain parts of the world is too high, and therefore it makes sense to leave your valuables behind before heading off.
Head to parts of Southeast Asia and you could become a victim of “bag-snatching” – it’s a common practice that sees tourists have their bags taken from their person by passers-by speeding through on bikes. These tourists stand out because they showcase their valuables – don’t let that be you.
I know it seems like a no brainer but it’s one of the riskiest things that many travellers think they can get away with is not wearing sunscreen in some of the hottest regions in the world. This can lead to some nasty illnesses, whether it be a painful bit of sunburn or something as severe as sun poisoning, which comes with some serious side effects.
Make sure you’re applying generous amounts of sunscreen whenever you’re outside. Even through cloud there’s a possibility of getting burnt, so there really aren’t any excuses. I easily get effected by this and it’s something I feel people over look, so don’t for get the sunscreen!
DON’T PACK: Extra gadgets
Sure, you’re travelling the world – so naturally you’ll want to bring your big camera and several lenses, a Go-Pro, your iPod for long journeys, your laptop to do some work on the way… you’ll need to be realistic about just how much you can carry, and how many of your gadgets you want to risk taking around the globe with you. This is one I always struggle with, I love my gadgets but if going off backpacking it just isn’t sensible and better to leave them at home.
Limit them to around three, so that you have less to be responsible for. Bring your phone to contact family and friends at home, a point-and-shoot camera for quick and easy snaps, and a device to listen to music on the long journeys from A to B.
PACK: Medical supplies
In some places, medical attention may not come quickly. Equip yourself with sufficient supplies so that you can come to your own aid or the aid of those you’re with. Include things such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes and cream for nasty cuts and grazes to prevent infection.
And don’t forget to protect yourself against airborne illnesses, too. Mosquitoes and other insects can carry viruses such as malaria, so pack some repellent to keep them at bay. Don’t forget tablets, too – antihistamines, paracetamol and travel sickness tablets are all incredibly reliable when travelling. These are key for me, I always get bitten and often have an allergic reaction to them, I also get travel sick (yes I’m that person) and theses are my saviour!
DON’T PACK: Traveller’s cheques
Nowadays, you won’t need to rely on traveller’s cheques. Many parts of the world have card machines – or at least ATMs – that will allow you to withdraw cash whilst you’re out there. However, it’s best to convert some money before you even leave, so that you can seize the best rates and get the best bang for your buck.
Consider getting a prepaid travel money card for the tightest control over your budget. This way, you can lock in the best rate and have a strict amount to spend whilst abroad. It’s a stress-free way to access your money that won’t leave you surprisingly out of pocket or at risk of theft.
Illustrations by Amy Purfield-Clark