So, I’m back from my travels, three-month holiday, spiritual experience, whatever you want to call it. And rather than wallow in nostalgia and sadness, I’ve put together a little list of my travel essentials. So here is my gift to you, and I hope that I am able to impart at least a little wisdom to somebody who, like myself four months ago, is becoming overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things they want to pack into their tiny suitcase or backpack.
Remember, less is more. And they do have shops in other countries, funnily enough…
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you what to wear, and how to dress, but what I am going to say is that it can be difficult if, like I did, you are visiting different countries with varied climates in one trip. Obviously I wouldn’t be wearing the same clothes in Bangkok, as I would in New Zealand, and this was something I needed to consider. In the end, I decided to pack for the warmer countries at the beginning of the trip, and to pick up things as I went along when needed. In fact, most of the things on this pile I bought whilst away and I think they make a solid start to any suitcase. From bottom to top:
- Black maxi skirt – perfect for cooler evenings and temple visits in the day.
- Green travelling pants – if you are ever in South East Asia you don’t have to look very far to see these being either worn or sold. They’re so cheap and light to keep you cool when you don’t feel like wearing anything short.
- Denim shorts – I got mine on Gili Trawangan but really should have brought some with me. Essentially go with everything.
- Blue vest top – enough said.
- Red plaid shirt – picked up in New Zealand when I needed another layer. I used it as a jacket and a top.
- Black kimono – the perfect lightweight cardigan for evenings.
- Green playsuit – I bought it because it has mini pom-poms.
- Bikini – for beach frolicking and spotting turtles.
- Nike trainers – picked up in Australia. They were expensive but I kind of needed them for all the hiking I knew I would be doing in NZ, plus they’re perfect for the gym now I’m back at home.
Everybody uses different products and has different ideas about what is vital or not, so I just picked out a few of the bits I used on a daily basis. It’s definitely hard to pick and choose everything you will need for a few months, but I just took the basics and bought things as I went along. Skincare is important, guys and although I had dreamt of glowing, sun-kissed skin, my face and body had other ideas and I was forced to remind myself to look after my skin more.
- First Aid Kit – yes, you can buy painkillers, plasters, etc. when you are away, but it’s always useful to have a pre-prepared kit in case of emergencies.
- Makeup remover – don’t do what I did and not really bother with this, only to have waterproof mascara attached to my eyelashes for a good few weeks.
- Deodorant – obviously.
- Sun cream – obviously, and if you’re pasty like I am, get a high SPF and put it on every morning like moisturiser. It doesn’t matter if the sun’s not out, it can still get you from behind the clouds. Trust me, I learnt that the hard way.
- Moisturiser – body and face.
- Dry shampoo – always a lifesaver in any situation.
- Tiger balm – I love this stuff, it’s great for insect bites and loads of other ailments, including flatulence too apparently.
- Lip balm with SPF – nobody wants sunburnt lips.
- Hairbrush – if you have Hermione frizzy hair like me.
- Antibacterial hand gel – invest in not having germs.
- Your medicine – I have to take my inhaler twice a day so I took it with meeverywhere.
All those little bits and bobs that are really important and you might forget:
- Packing cube – oh my god this saved my life. I had three of different sizes and used them for all my clothes and underwear. When you’re living out of a suitcase for months on end, a system of bags and cubes will make everything so much easier.
- Travel towel – ugh, it feels gross, but it’s just so small and compact. We bought light beach towels while we were away to use everyday, but these can be thrown into any rucksack for the day and are so handy.
- Torch – WITH BOTTLE OPENER. For all those times you’re scruffling around pitch black hostel rooms at 1 in the morning trying to find your toothpaste.
- Eyemask – so you don’t have to see all those people scruffling around your hostel room at 1 in the morning looking for their toothpaste.
- Caribiners – perfect for clipping things onto your suitcase and rucksack.
- Padlock – essential for hostel lockers and locking your bag during the day.
- Universal adaptor – GIVE ME ELECTRICITY.
Sure, you’re imaging that you’re going to be so busy during your travels that you will have absolutely no time to relax – it will be a whirlwind of running around seeing everything during the day, and partying in the night. Well just in case you do have a spare minute, here are some things I brought to entertain myself:
- Chromebook – it’s super lightweight and runs through WiFi, making it great for blogging, editing photos, writing and catching up with social media.
- Travel diary – updated every evening, even if it killed me.
- Notebook – you know, in case inspiration suddenly hits.
- Kindle – I read about 12 books whilst I was away because there were just so many moments I was able to whip out my kindle and suppress boredom.
- Headphones – so you don’t have to listen to other people.
- Pack of cards – in case you do want to socialise, or play ring of fire or something.
An honourable mention
Last but not least: my life saviour, my pride and joy. My travel pillow. I actually want to carry this around for my entire life now, whipping it out at every opportunity for a nap, or any moment in which my neck might need to be supported. I couldn’t have survived three months of trains, planes, buses and boats without it. It’s an absolute essential and the best thing I bought, probably ever. Get one with a loop or a clip so you can attach it to any bag/suitcase on the go and you’ve got a winner.
I hope this helps, even in some small way. I think one of the things I in equal parts loved and hated while I was travelling, was realising that I could survive for so long with so little stuff. It’s actually been something of a revelation to come back home and find wardrobes of clothes and cupboards of crap, and I’ve now been inspired to have a sort out of my possessions and live a little more lightly.
Please do let me know if you have any particular questions, I would love to try and answer them. Happy travelling!