For some last–minute types packing for a vacation involves stuffing a handful of items into a suitcase and running out the door. For others, it is a process that requires meticulous planning, a detailed list and piles of stuff laid out on the bed. Whichever packing camp you belong to (or somewhere in between…), less is most definitely more when it comes to packing. Here are a few items that you should not leave home without.
Top 5 items for your hand luggage:
Passport, tickets & wallet/purse:
Okay, so this is essentially three items but whose counting? You’re not going anywhere without these… Make sure your passport is valid for travel and take only cards that will be relevant for where you are going (to minimise bulk) – you can safely leave that local library card at home!
For many of us this is most likely permanently attached to our hand anyway but it is worth noting on your list. Get global roaming or better still, buy a local sim card on arrival – it will save you a packet! If local sim cards won’t work in your phone, you can buy a local pre-paid phone pretty cheaply in most major destinations. With a Smartphone you’ll have the added bonus of being able to access the Internet wherever there is a wireless connection.
Something to read/play/listen to:
Your holiday starts here! Don’t waste time fretting about the late departure of your flight, the shaky takeoff or the meal service; kick back with your favourite book, game or music. Make sure you bring your mp3 player (and headphones!) or if using your phone don’t forget to switch it to ‘flight mode’ when you’re in the air. Pack your favourite novel or leave room in your hand luggage and treat yourself to a new book at the airport bookstore.
Nothing ruins a trip more than feeling groggy and dehydrated on arrival. Save on plastic and take your own water bottle. Some airports may not allow you to carry water through security so you may have to fill up in the departure lounge or smile sweetly at your airhostess during your flight.
Lip Balm/Ear Plugs:
Okay, so this may not top everyone’s list but I consider it a national emergency if I’ve forgotten my lip balm – nothing will dry your skin out more quickly than a flight! If you have permanently luscious lips then skip this item and pack some earplugs instead. You’ll snooze better without a backdrop of engine noise, air-con and chattering neighbours.
Top 5 items for your main luggage:
Giving some thought to what you really need, can make a big difference to your packing load. If you can get away with just a toothbrush, toothpaste and moisturiser, then do it! It can be liberating to relieve yourself of the shackles of your daily groom. Where possibly, try to decant large bottle contents into smaller bottles. And, girls, do you really need that all make-up for your hiking trip in China? Unless you’re very particular about using a certain brand, you can probably buy much of what you need on arrival.
Invaluable for the beach, swimming pool and shared bathrooms.
Much more practical than an umbrella. Take one you like or be prepared to look like hapless tourist in your oversized travel poncho.
Item of warm clothing:
Even hot climates have their cool moments. A warm fleece or a thermal layer will probably do – don’t be tempted to squish in your bulky wool jumper! When packing clothes, lay out what you need and then take half the amount. Just as with your grooming routine, it can be refreshing not to have to think about what you’re going to wear everyday!
- Emma McMahon