When it comes to packing your bag to head off into the unknown, you’re sure to be checking all sorts of sites for advice. You are likely, though, to be thoroughly confused with all the different opinions. The trick is to apply a bit of common sense.
Number one: pack light. You will be carrying your bag over quite long distances at times.
The surfaces you’ll carry your goods over will sometimes be uneven and difficult. So you want to have comfortable shoes and a light load. If the weather is cold, you don’t want to get frostbite, and if the weather is hot, you don’t want to overheat and dehydrate. These are extremes, of course, but somewhere in the middle is where to draw up a sensible list.
When planning and packing take into account your own preferences, the clothes you prefer to wear and the things you like or need to do. If you live in jeans at home, take a pair, even if all the lists say do not. Just consider that they can be hot to wear in hot countries and heavy to carry.
Don’t take it
Many lists often include oddball stuff that you cannot see the reason for packing. Things like duct tape. This is a universal item on travel lists. You may never need any. You will never be likely to need a whole roll. You could just roll off a meter and slip it into a pocket in your bag. There are pros and cons for most things, and your bag should contain the things that you want. Remember that you can buy most things in most places, so the thing you need most is a bit of cash or a Visa or prepaid card.
As far as clothes are concerned, pack things you are comfortable wearing. As many lists suggest, pack neutral colors. The reason for this is your clothes are more likely to blend together and mix and match. However, if you love bright clothes then pack them. It may be better to just pack a few bright scarfs. In fact, scarfs are great items to pack as they can be used for many things; a big cotton square can double as a towel, or can be tied as a top or worn as a skirt, the possibilities are endless.
Be a minimalist
You can begin your first trip as a minimalist – the traveling will teach you what you really need. You can always buy a few more things on the road if you find you need them. Nevertheless, a few T-shirts, vest tops, a long sleeved top, one or two dresses (if you wear these at home), trousers or jeans, shorts, sarong(and/or scarfs), underwear for a couple of days, and a swimming costume would make sense. Flip flops, and if you intend to do some trekking, a pair of walking shoes. You will find packing much easier if you make use of packing tubes. Organize your packing for easy retrieval of items.
Toiletries are also available to buy in most places. You will not need to carry an enormous supply, and for the first part of your trip, pack small containers of sunscreen, bug repellent, toothpaste, deodorant, razor blades, dental floss, and toothbrush. You will need to decide what other things you cannot cope without. If you need makeup, decide on the absolute essentials.
Pack a really compact bag of first aid items, a couple of sticking plasters, a few painkillers, antihistamines, rehydration sachet, Imodium, and any other meds you personally need. Again, most things are available in most places.
Avoid carrying too many electronic gadgets, as not only are they heavy, you could be setting yourself up as a target for thieves. If your phone takes good pictures, then consider not carrying a camera too. Unless you are doing work which requires a laptop, consider just taking your tablet. You may feel you will be doing a lot of reading, in which case a kindle will be a better option than a pile of books. You will also obviously need to include chargers for these.
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