Traveling abroad is an exciting prospect for most of us and is initially straight forward in the planning. As we have mentioned before, having the idea is the easy bit, it’s the planning that will make the difference.
Let’s begin by asking you a question: How often have you gone on holiday with a big suitcase and only ever used half of the things packed in it?
Well, we threw the question around in the office and everyone agreed that they always seemed to pack too much! With this problem in mind, we've put together a little ‘Travel Kit’ guide to packing for your overseas experience.
Before you can start packing you need something to put your things into. Thinking about how you are going carry all your belongings around is an important consideration from the start. We recommend using a backpack, which is effectively a large ruck sack with heaps more space and compartments. Carrying a hard suitcase by hand could become cumbersome and difficult to manage over time.
Backpacks come in a range of sizes, so it really depends on how much you can physically carry, and where and how long you are going away for. Obviously colder places require thicker clothes and therefore take up more space. A 65 litre back pack is typically average for travellers, however there are a range of sizes available.
Ensure your backpack is comfortable and is of good quality. Trying it on in the shop is a good idea and checking the stitching and zips is also worth the time. Zips with holes in so that they can be locked may also be worth considering for added security. Try to also opt for zips that are heavy duty and corrosion resistant to avoid inconvenient malfunctions or breakages.
Solid and adjustable back supports offer added support and comfort which is ideal if you are intending to move around and do a lot of walking.
Lastly, many backpacks will come with a waterproof fly sheet. This could be well worth the investment if your area of travel rains a lot (like the UK in winter)! Trying to dry all your clothes on the move could be a real pain, not to mention uncomfortable if there's nothing dry to wear.
Packing too much is as bad as not packing enough. If you are one of those people that always pack too much then this bit is for you. Be as sparing as you can and keep in mind the climate and time of year you are traveling.
Packing 15 pairs of socks and 5 pairs of shoes probably isn’t necessary, after all, you can always buy things along the way if needed.
Here is a saying that we came across and thought it completely sums up this section:
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
There is no need to pack a year’s worth of shampoos, conditioners, creams and tooth paste. These items can be bought almost anywhere from a tiny local village shops to airports and shopping centres. Keeping these items to a minimum will certainly help save on space and weight. It’s possible to purchase travel size bottles which will help even further.
Your Passport is probably the most important travel document you have. Without this you will struggle to leave your own country. Oh, and if you do already have one, check its expiry date!
Having a copy of your birth certificate could also come in handy if your passport is ever lost or stolen. A birth certificate may help speed up the process in providing you with emergency documents or a replacement passport.
If you have purchased travel insurance, which we strongly recommend you do, it’s important to have all the relevant documents with you. Depending on which country you are in, some hospitals may not treat you until you can provide proof of medical insurance.
Student card’s may not be the most reliable forms of ID, however they could provide you with some valuable discounts to numerous tourist attractions along the way, even if it is out of date!
Travel documents come up a number of times throughout the site at various stages as we think it’s worth covering this topic more than just the once. You can find more information on visas and travel documents on our UK Visas.
This may not seem essential at the time of packing but can come in extremely useful at times of unexpected need. Generally, you would be able to purchase a medical kit along the way if needed, however having something small with you at all times could really help you or a friend out.
We recommend a small kit with basic items such as: Plasters, Bandages, Medical tape, Antiseptic Wipes Cream & Hand Wash.
Keeping bulky & heavy items to a minimum is important, so your gadgets could be the one thing that destroys all your packing work so far.
This is all we think you will probably need:
Small Digital Camera (like a Sony Cyber shot)
Mobile Phone + Charger!
Ipod / Mp3 Player
Small Lap Top / Note book + USB Memory Stick
Multi Country Adaptor