Given that my first post was written on a juddery train in Ukraine (reached mainly by a plane), we may as well continue on that theme, namely: Travel.
I like to travel, and I’ve done a fair amount. Not because I’m rich (I’m not), nor because I’m lazy (I am), but because it’s important to me so I carve out the time in my life to make it happen. It broadens the horizons, teaches me how little I know, introduces me to new people and reminds me how lucky we are to have been born in this country, etc. etc.
It is also, however, a massive pain in the arse.
Dodgy transport in 3rd, 2nd and 1st world countries / running out of money / being scammed in the first day for half your year’s budget (it happened to me) is all in the small print and part of the “fun”. It doesn’t matter whether you’re backpacking or fancy hotel-ing, the pain the arse generally arises from packing incorrectly. There’s little more infuriating than trying to keep a three-piece suit well-pressed whilst scaling the Himalayas, or lying with food-poisoning in a four star Cuban hotel with no Imodium (thanks, Hotel Colonial…you’re the best).
So, for anyone planning to go on ANY type of trip (abroad or not), consider the below. Everyone has slightly different needs, but this is a kit list I’ve honed over the past ten years that works for me:
- Passport – Obviously…just make sure it’s valid for the entire length of your trip.
- Half as many clothes as you think you’ll need. Then bring half of those.
- Travel insurance – Sounds obvious but make sure it covers you for acts of derring-do. This has saved my bacon a couple of times.
- Visa (s) – You don’t want to be stuck in a Cambodian minefield with an expired visa and gun-toting teenagers. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- Travel credit card (one that won’t charge you for non-sterling transactions or getting out cash). This can save you hundreds of pounds.
- A FEW TEA BAGS in a zip-lock bag. Everywhere serves Lipton. It’s crap. You’re welcome. ☕️
- Lonely Planet printed guide book. Better than an e-version for quick reference. Read the “Dangers and Annoyances” section before entering a country. I didn’t and it cost me thousands of pounds.
- Sticky page markers (for marking pertinent pages in your Lonely Planet guide book).
- A Pencil and pen (for doodling).
- A notebook (like a Moleskine) for writing down ideas. You will have ideas. It’s travel and that’s why it’s great.
- Phone Charger with requisite power adapter. A universal adapter is your best bet (like this: http://goo.gl/RwhAZ4).
- Dive Book (if you’re a scuba diver) or any other certification you have that will allow you to take part in the activities you want to (skydiving, etc.).
- NOT A SMART JACKET! Every time I think “Oh, I’ll take one, even though I didn’t use it last time…We’ll go out for a couple of fancy evenings and I’ll feel like a boss”. I never use it, and it’s a real hassle to try and keep it from damage. One smart shirt will suffice.
- Lightweight waterproof jacket – preferably that can be packed very small.
- Box of matches (remember to keep in hold luggage to avoid a prolonged vacation in Hotel Guantanamo)
- Playing cards.
- Handkerchief. Handy, chief.
- PEN KNIFE (with bottle opener, corkscrew, screwdriver, etc. I’ve got this one and it’s great. SO useful: https://goo.gl/VqmqWh). Remember to put it in your hold luggage or security will take it.
- Travel sized toiletries: deodorant, toothpaste, sunblock, after sun, etc.
- Travel First Aid kit:
Deet (insect repellent)
BONUS TIP: You can also spend less money than living in England if you use Air B’n’B to rent out your UK home whilst galavanting in a comparatively cheap country, but that’s another story…
The above list isn’t definitive. I haven’t included stuff like what clothes to bring as it depends on a) Where you are going and b) How cool you are, but the list should be pretty universal.
Well, that’s week two of ten done for my personal blogging experiment! If I’ve missed anything from the above list, or you have a travel top-tip that I can use next time, please leave a comment. Also, share if you like and sign up for the next instalment below! Cheers 🙂 ~ Will