‘He who would travel happily must travel light’
- Antoine de St. Exupery
Everyone will have advice on what you should pack for your trip. Some people swear by sarongs whilst others need to take a hair-dryer and personal beauty salon. It really depends on your own comfort level and what you can carry. The universally agreed view is that travelling light is the best policy.
A backpack is the most practical way to carry your stuff, even if you are not constantly on the move. The backpack becomes your companion and home so ensure that it fits you properly. This should not be a last minute purchase. Buy it in advance, get used to walking with it and start packing slowly so that you are sure all you want fits in nicely.
The best pack option is one that opens all the way around the side and through the top. Extra features like a zip-flap at the back to hold away the harnesses is handy for flights. Another handy feature is a bottom compartment so you can roll up your sleeping bag or wet clothes and keep them away from the rest of the bag. The zips needs to be able to lock together with a padlock. Also consider getting a travel sack for your backpack to fit into as this will protect it during flights, car and bus journeys.
A day bag will become your best friend, one that can attach onto your big pack. Look for one that you can wear on your front or extra security. The day bag gives you the space for your supplies for a day or two, for your paperwork to be easy to hand whilst your big bag is secure back in the hostel or hotel.
A secure money belt is useful as it is the safest way to carry money, debit or credit cards, passport, tickets and other important items. Wear it under your clothing or around your neck, so it is not easily seen. Put tickets, passport and paperwork into a waterproof bag to keep dry.
Take a padlock and chain if you are travelling long distances on buses and trains as you can fasten your luggage to racks and door frames.
Top items to travel with!
For Amusement – pack of cards, travel journal and pens
For Sleeping - A head torch, ears plugs, a silk pillow case and a nice scented candle
For eating and drinking – your own water bottle, at least 1litre, and water purification system. A bottle of alcohol based hand cleanser.
For hygiene - A microfiber towel to be big enough to wrap around you but packs up small; Toilet paper and baby nappy sacks to dispose of waste; a washing line made of twisted elastic so that you don’t need clothes pegs. Antiseptic wipes for hands, cuts, sores and for anything where clean water may be in short supply
For Health – a medical kit appropriate for your destinations; an elastic vet bandage for sprains and other injuries.
Gaffer tape – need a belt, seal a hole in a window, repair your bag? This works for everything unexpected.
For the final check!
Consider the amount of electronics you take: it is amazing how quickly laptops, mobiles, chargers etc can add up in weight! Don’t forget you have to carry all this weight around! Leave copies and details of all important info like passport numbers, card numbers and insurance documents back home with friends and family so that if everything is lost, you can make a call and collect all the important information you’ll need for replacements.