Long back I read somewhere that “We travel not to escape Life, but for life not to escape us”, at that time I was not able to relate it much but after several years and travelling almost every month I can say that yes, I travel for life not to escape me.
Travelling for me is like meditation. Whenever I feel like I have to recharge my batteries or things are not working out as they should be, the only thing that comes in my mind is travel. And believe it, sometimes my travel plans are so quick that 20 min back I was engaged with something with nothing in my mind and suddenly within 20 min I am all set to leave for a short weekend trip. In no time I select a place in mind, pack my bags, make reservation (if available or if I feel so) which I rarely do and just leave. In fact from last 2 months it’s like I am travelling almost every weekend, a few trips were over extended weekends.
There are various things that I personally do before I go for any trip. Like researching about various place, makings reservations and packing. I personally prefer to read about the place as much as I can. Reading gives you the essence of place and also it helps in setting the required mood for travelling.
Packing is one of the important thing that you do before leaving the comfort of your home. I have seen many people who try to pack almost everything they have and still they look for things when required. I believe packing is an art in itself and the challenge is, you have to pack light and still needs to carry all essential stuff.
Everyone has their own ideas of comfort and style. But by following a few simple field-tested tenets of travelling small, you can shed size and weight. It might not always save your trip, but it will save your spine and your sanity. Remember every trip you make is not the same and it required different stuff to carry. Before you start your packing for your next trip try to answer following questions:
1.) How long you will be travelling?
The longer your travel plans are, you need to carry things accordingly. Make sure you do not carry a huge suit case/backpack just full of cloths. While on long trips try to reuse your cloths as much as possible.
2.) Where you will be visiting? Do read and research about the place.
You don’t need to worry much if you are visiting a famous tourist place, almost everything will be available there of-course at a hiked price. But you need to carry more stuff if you are travelling to a place which is not so famous.
3.) Where you will be staying?
Staying in a luxury hotel gives you huge flexibility while packing. But it is always better you check hotel website or user feedback. If you are planning to stay in a dharamshala or ashram then you might need to carry a little more.
4.) What kind of trip you are on?
Pack accordingly if you are visiting your family or friends, or have a function to attend. And if you are a backpacker traveler like me and loves to explore new places, cultures and traditions, then you have to pack things in a complete different way.
Once you have your answers, it’s time to start packing. I have a checklist of things to pack which I have created after a long research. It contains everything that you might need on a trip but remember you can’t carry everything, simply pick up the essentials one based on your travel plan and research.
Packing master checklist:
- Address list and list of important contacts or numbers
- Backpack, suitcase, sports bag (something to pack everything in)
- Paper, Pen or Notebook
- Passport, Visa, Travel Insurance
- Tickets and itinerary (airline, train, bus, accommodation bookings etc.)
- Credit and ATM card (Visa, Mastercard Maestro or Cirrus logos on the back are most widely accepted)
- Cash in the local currency of your arrival destination
- Money belt (You can’t be too safe in some places)
- Dress shirts
- Jumper, sweater or fleece
- Light jacket
- Long or thermal underwear
- Long sleeve shirts
- Pants or trousers
- Sandals, shower shoes, thongs or jandals
- Boots, shoes, socks
- Swimming gear
- T-shirts, singlets
- Anti-bacterial cream
- Comb or brush
- Condoms and/or contraceptive pills
- Contact lens equipment or glasses
- Cotton buds
- Dental floss (also great for fixing things!)
- Fingernail clippers
- Hair products (gel, spray etc.)
- Lip balm
- Mirror, make-up
- Moisturiser (face and body)
- Nail file, razors
- Soap, shampoo and conditioner
- Shaving cream
- Sunscreen and after sun cream
- Talcum/baby powder – Useful against prickly heat, in shoes, on sticky zippers and more
- Tampons and pads
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
First Aid Kit :
- Band aids, compression bandages
- Blister packs
- Diarrhoea tablets
- Insect and/or mosquito repellent
- Iodine/hydrogen peroxide
- Medicines/prescription Drugs
- Motion sickness tablets
- Paracetemol, Tylenol etc.
- Replacement/rehydration salts sachets
- Small scissors, tweezers
- Vitamin pills
- Water purifying tablets
- Yellow Fever certificate or International Certificate of Vaccination
Clothes Accessories :
- A good hat
- Belt, Gloves, Cotton handkerchief or tissues
- Knitted (woollen) hat
- Raincoat or poncho
- Safety pins
- Sewing kit
- Ski glasses
- Suit bag
Other Items :
- Backpack rain cover
- Alarm clock, batteries
- Books/Ebooks with a reader
- Bottled water
- Camera, film and batteries – Spare flash cards or memory for digital
- Chewing gum or mints – Especially if you are flying chewing something will help your ears
- Combo or key locks
- Compass, cup, diary or organizer
- Duct tape – Fixes everything!
- Eating utensils
- Electrical adapter and plug converter
- Fishing line – Can be used as clothesline, etc. Strongest string in the world!
- Flashlight or torch – Don’t forget the batteries
- Frisbee, hacky sack, ball, pack of cards or other recreational items
- GPS, maps, guidebooks, or print outs from our online travel guide
- Inflatable travel pillow
- International driving license – If driving overseas, have your driving license translated
- International Student Identification Card – For discounts worldwide
- iPod, MP3 player, Discman, Speacker etc. – Including music and batteries
- Laptop – Especially for the business travelers
- Laundry detergent
- Maps (incl. small map of the world to show where you are from)
- Mini camera tripod – Big is better if you have the space!
- Mobile phone, SIM card
- Mosquito net
- Passport photos
- Phone card – Both for local and international calls
- Photocopies of important documents in case they are stolen
- Phrase books or dictionaries
- Pillow or pillowcase to stuff with clothes
- Plastic bags
- Power cords and chargers for all your electrical items – Save some money on batteries
- Resume and work references – Don’t forget these if you are planning to work while travelling
- Skis, ski shoes, ski poles or a snowboard – If you are planning a winter holiday, you want to remember these!
- Sleep sheet, bag, mat.
- Speakers for iPod etc.
- Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool – Don’t keep in your carry on as it will be removed
- Toilet paper, Towels, beach and otherwise – the quick drying versions are very handy!
- Wet wipes/Baby wipes and Zip lock Bags
This is my list of everything that I personally carry for a week trip :
- Backpack (65 litre max) and a day pack.
- Bag liner (heavy plastic trash-compactor bag)
- Passport and other documents
- Compact umbrella
- Three-four light stuff sacks for organization
- Three shirts
- Two pair of pants (trousers)
- One pair of shorts
- Three pairs of socks
- Three pairs of underwear
- Jacket / fleece (optional for cold international flights)
- Bandanna and/or scarf
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable sandals
- One set of exercise clothes (light shorts, shirt, socks)
- Sleep kit: mosquito net, sleep sack, small tarp (if you’re looking to rough it), ear plugs
- Shower kit (lots of personal variation, just keep it small): toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant (try the rock), small bottle of all purpose liquid soap
- Snacks: snack bars, herbal tea, travel mug, packable chop-sticks
- Camera (with batteries and cables)
- Computer (small netbook in waterproof box)
- Smart phone with internet access(if possible)
- Notebook and pens
- Portable board game
- First aid kit
I hope this blog will help while packing for your next trip. Just remember to pack as light as possible…