No1 – Pack Light but Smart
It’s always hard to know where to start with packing for your trip! But it’s exciting, almost like getting ready to go out on a night out – building up to the main event!!
Be wise about what you choose to take with you, there’s little point in carrying around items that you don’t need. Try to choose items that have multiple uses and would work in a number of situations. The first time I went travelling I took this beautiful maxi dress with me, it was gorgeous but a heavy material so I never wore it once because it was too humid in Thailand to even contemplate wearing what felt like a tent! I ended up carrying it around for about 4 weeks, then ‘donating’ it to avoid it taking up any more precious space in my already heavy backpack!
I would also advise NOT buying a huge backpack, chances are if you have the space there then you’ll use it! You don’t want to be filling your backpack up with unnecessary things just because you haven’t filled your backpack. I first took a 80 litre backpack, which was a nice size for going backpacking for 2 months, but I reckon I could have gotten away with a 35 litre one as I only wore half the things I took!
No 2 – Plan ahead but allow time to be spontaneous
If its the first time you’re going away, it might be an idea to reach your destination and have a couple of things planned. That way you won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of options or the shock to the system of a new place, culture and world (good shock)! The first time I went away, I had 2 weeks planned out: first week was spent on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan where I went to the Full Moon Party via a hostel that organised groups to go along together (which was a great way to meet people); the second week was spent on Koh Tao doing the 18m PADI diving course – one of the best things I have ever done. When I’m old and wrinkly I’ll still look back on that and be proud that I did it as I’m a bit nervous in the sea, and also just remember how privileged I am to have done that – such a memorable experience. After that I didn’t have any plans for about a week and a half, but I did have travel booked to another part of Thailand which gave me time to rest (very important) and time to explore things as and when I felt like it. It also gave me time to plan what I going to do in my next ‘free’ few days.
No3 – Get a travel card
This last one is a bit dull, and much less fun to write about than the others above (which as you can see I obviously like to write a lot about). But cards like these are perfect for being abroad, they eliminate the hefty charges that your usual bank would charge when you’re not drawing cash out at home. I chose the travel card by the Post Office as at the time this one had the largest number of countries where it did not charge you to withdraw your hard earned cash! The only downside is that if your card is stolen, there is the potential for your money to be easily withdrawn as it acts like a top up card. But in my opinion it’s worth the risk, as they would still have to know your PIN number to withdraw anything and the pros definitely outweigh the cons.