Top 10 Packing Tips
Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
250Trip End Ongoing
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I thought of writing a simple 10 things that people should pack when going on holiday, but then for every thing that you SHOULD pack, there is something you SHOULDN'T pack! So lets get going shall we?
Top 10 Things You SHOULD Pack
1. Water Bottle. As stated in the last blog, everyone needs to drink water so why buy it when you can get it from the tap for free! Don't refill the cheap plastic ones from the shop, it isn't healthy. If you don't own a water bottle, even when you aren't travelling, then you aren't living!
2. Bathing Shorts. I packed a pair of reversable board shorts that had pockets. I mostly used them around the house, on hot summer days in the city, canoeing or to sleep in at hostels, but they came in handy for swimming as well. Quick dry!
3. Zip Off Cargo Pants. While not so fashionable, they are damn handy. I had a pair of hiking pants that I brought with me which were superlight and I could use them as both pants or shorts. Plus they have lots of pockets for all those little things. Just don't forget a good belt. Win Win!
4. T Shirts. Chances are you won't have an ironing board handy so pack a few t-shirts instead. They are good for hot summer weather and you can put a collared shirt over the top for cool weather. If you don't know about the layering principle when it comes to clothes then just remember more thinner layers are better than one thick layer.
5. Lunch Box and Plastic Cutlery. These are good for backpacking and general travel. I took a lunch box and cheap plastic cutlery everywhere and why? I could use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner: museli, sandwiches and pasta. When it is empty you can put all your power cords inside.
6. First Aid. Chapstick and Bandaids can be your most powerful tools for dry skin and blisters and take almost no room. Sunscreen will save your skin. Nail scissors will cut everything and tweezers are good for pulling out the drawstring on your reversable boardshorts. Need I say more!
7. Camera and iPod. If you have an iPhone I suppose you could just take photos on that, but a proper camera is always better. Just don't take too many electronics otherwise you will just be carrying around cords. My Canon Powershot SX240 can take photos and videos and is much smaller than a DSLR. If you ever spent time in a waiting lounge or travelling on buses then you know how important music is.
8. Smart Phone. Like it or not smart phones like iPhones are here to stay and the reason is simple: they are very handy. I bought mine here for 100€ and if we get separated then I can send Steffie a text. If we get lost, then we can use Google Maps and GPS. I can check the time, set an alarm, convert currency and you can buy prepaid SIM Cards everywhere. You could get carried away and actually buy an iPhone, then you would have a camera, iPod, texting and GPS all in one. But who has that sort of cash when you are backpacking...
9. Information. Some people make things up as they go along, but a little planning goes a long way. I'm not saying that you need to pack Frommers Europe 2003 into your bag like I did (in fact I remember cutting up my Lonely Planet Canada when I was in Geelong, but some books can be handy. If you are just doing cities then you can get city guides or just go to Trip Advisor. I book will always be easier to read than a smart phone.
10. Comfortable Shoes. Last, but definitely not least. For some people the idea of a holiday is lying around on the beach (see point 8), but for most of us it involves sightseeing, museums, art galleries and a lot of walking. Good shoes are always worth the investment and your feet will thank you for it. They don't have to be running shoes, just don't combine socks and sandals. Just don't! Flip Flops, Thongs or Jandals. Another win win! They are good for indoors, good for summer and good at the beach plus they are cheap and light. Just don't try driving with them...
Top 10 Things You SHOULD NOT Pack
1. Sleeping Bag. I left Australia with a sleeping bag because I was going hiking in New Zealand and I spent the rest of the time carrying it around. I didn't use it again until we started the roadtrip. You don't need it, try a sleeping sack if you want to stay in dodgy hostels. At many hostels you aren't allowed to use sleeping bags because they can spread bed bugs.
2. Umbrella. This is just part of my general hate for umbrellas which I call the best example of the failed capitalist system. Buy something cheap, that doesn't last long and you end up carrying around for that odd day that it rains. Rain happens, but your jacket will dry out and so will you. A good rain jacket for hiking is another story because it can be a good windbreaker.
3. Jeans. Sure jeans make your arse look good, but denim is a heavy fabric, that doesn't breathe and takes a long time to dry. But if you want to wear them for 2 weeks straight, then go wild. Give me cargo pants any day!
4. Bum Bag/Body Wallet. They are stupid and unnecessary and do you really want to lift up your shirt when you want to pay for something. Bum bags just scream steal me and should be left in the 90s. Get a day bag!
5. Laptop. What? How can you say that Daniel, you always travel around with a laptop! Yes I do, but I have to because I don't have a iPad, iPhone or tablet. I bought my laptop before the whole netbook-tablet thing took off because I had to write resumes and blogs on it. You can touch type on a tablet or smartphone. Just don't write essays.
6. Winter Jacket. One of those things that you think you might need, but end up carrying around. It takes up a lot of room as well. Go for the onion layers principle, I used to wear 4 layers going snowboarding: chesty bonds (wife beater), T-Shirt, Light Jacket and Snow Jacket. And that was -20 degrees Celsius!
7. Hiking Boots. These babies are heavy, you probably won't do a lot of hiking and are just unnecessary. Good shoes will take you through the city and down a hiking trail. Hiking boots have ankle support for carrying big heavy backpacks, WHICH you won't have if you pack smart!
8. Big hats. Sure a cricket hat will save you from the sun, but just put some more sunscreen on! I always travel around with either a baseball cap or my fedora. Just don't forget the sunglasses!
9. Head band, head scarf. We have all seen it and people keep buying it. It is a tiny piece of fabric which you can use 8 different ways i.e. scarf, headband, beanie and every way looks ridiculous. See point 8.
10. Travel Pillow. I see this all the time on trains and planes and it is completely unnecessary. I will give you a good tip. Take a hoodie and roll it up and stuff it into the hood. Ganz einfach!
There are so many travel and backpacking accessories out there these day and you won't need 90% of them. But some are very useful. I have a pocket torch and a whistle on my keychain, but I hardly use them. Carabiners can hold stuff to the outside of your backpack, but it looks crap. On the other hand, stuff sacks (bags with a drawstring like a sleeping bag cover) are super useful. You can squeeze all the air out of your clothes and keep the dirty ones separate which saves space and organises everything. In the end it is up to you, but just remember KISS. Keep it simple stupid!