Travel broadens the mind, and extended travel is becoming increasingly popular. Some people believe that extended travel is just for gap year students, but this is not the case it is for anyone with the funds and the guts to do it. If you are planning an extended trip, you may be struggling with what you should pack; it can be daunting to try and work out what you will need while you are away. If this is the case, then you should read on for your essential packing list.
This will obviously depend on when you are planning to travel if you will be in the country for their summer months, then the clothing you will need will differ from the winter months or monsoon season etc. In general, you should try to pack light, only bring a couple of different options of trousers, t-shirts, shorts, and jumpers. If your itinerary includes some more social activities, then you may want to bring a ‘nicer’ outfit option too. You may need a waterproof jacket or some swimwear too, depending on where you are going. The general idea is that you should pack light, unlike shorter holidays you can expect to wash and re-wear your clothes. Overpacking simply makes things harder when it comes to lugging your bags with you.
This, again, will depend on your itinerary. For example, if you are planning on going out, then you may want to bring along some small pieces of jewellery. If it’s hot, you may want to pack your sunglasses and if it’s cold, you may want to pack a hat and some gloves. However, you can also buy a lot of these items at your destination if you have room in your budget to do so. Anything expensive, such as Apple watches or activity trackers such as Fitbit’s, should be given thought beforehand as some countries do have a pickpocketing problem, and tourists are often targeted.
If you are planning on staying in hostels or cheaper accommodations, then you need to bear in mind that your access to toiletries will be limited as they are not complimentary. Bringing your own can eliminate this concern and also be advantageous while you are travelling. Things like baby wipes can have a lot of uses beyond hygiene. If you have a skincare routine, it may be worth bringing them along too; for example, if you suffer from dry skin, then you will need your moisturisers. If you are travelling to sunny places, then sun cream is a must. Without it, you run the risk of sunburn, which can cause pain and ruin some parts of your trip. You can buy things like shower gel and toothpaste in the country to save space and weight in your bag.
You may also wish to build your ownfirst aid kit too so that you know you have everything to hand in case of an emergency. You can include things like plasters and bandages, but you can also include painkillers, hand sanitiser, eye drops and antihistamines if you are prone to allergies. As mentioned above, you will need to wash your clothes, so packing a bar of laundry soap can save space, and they also tend to last quite a while. You can also buy a portable clothesline to hang your clothes, towels or swimwear on to dry. Lastly, you may want to consider packing a travel towel too, as again they are not always complimentary, and they have a lot of uses.
Your phone is obviously a must; you will need your charger, adaptors and maybe even a power bank too. You may also want to consider a new sim card that allows you to make international calls and texts without charging you higher premiums. For example, Lebara is a network provider that offers SIM only plans; they have a number of different options that range in price, although all of them allow international calling to 41 countries. You can find out more at mobile.lebara.com. Lastly, you may wish to bring a camera with you too, although most phones have a decent in-built camera nowadays and so they are not always necessary.
This is perhaps the most important of the packing list. Firstly, you should have somewhere safe to store these items, such as a travel belt. This guarantees protection from thieves because all of your important documentation is on you at all times. Remember that your passport and money can be a lifeline while you are away, and it should be treated as such. Keep all of your tickets and travel documents together, such as your passport, holiday and medical insurance, visas, and tickets. You may wish to bring a credit or debit card as a backup, but often there will be a charge when used internationally. Get your money changed before you go, as it is usually cheaper.
These next few items do not really fit comfortably in any of the above categories, but they are worth mentioning. Firstly, a travel pillow, if you are in for some long journeys, then these are essential for your comfort. Next, a water bottle, they can save you money as water is free in most countries. A tote bag can come in handy too. You may also want to pack something that can double as a laundry bag to keep your dirty and clean clothes separate. And lastly, a lock. If you are staying in hostels, then you may need to provide your own lock for the lockers in order to secure your belongings.
The most important thing to remember when packing for an extended trip is to pack light. Most people want to prepare for every eventuality, and it is very easy to overpack. Try to pack with purpose, consider the function of everything you are packing, what is the likelihood that you will need it? Depending on where you are travelling, you should be able to pick up things you need, so leaving things behind is not too much of a concern. Good luck and bon voyage!
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