We get asked quite a few questions on essentials for travelling, especially for long tour tailor-made itineraries. I have compiled a helpful list of some of the most talked about!
If you like to read when you are travelling, consider buying a Kindle. There are quite a few on the market but I would suggest investing in a Kindle Oasis or Paperwhite. Compact and lightweight you can comfortably use it in coaches, cars, planes or wherever you need to!
2) Have A Decent Pair Of Head/Earphones
Let's face it, there's nothing like listening to music when you are travelling. When sitting around in airports, especially if you are travelling on your own, it's always better with your favourite tunes! Have a decent pair which will last the trip and which can also dull the noise of those pesky aeroplane engines. Just remember to have your music at a level that won't annoy those around you :) Check Bose if you want to treat yourself or, for an affordable pair, check out the RHA S500.
3) Have Photocopies Of Important Documents!
Please try not lose your passport when you are on holiday. You're supposed to be enjoying yourself and losing your passport will definitely put a dampener on that! However, stuff happens and, if it ever were to happen (please avoid at all costs!!), make sure that you have a copy of your photo page and any visas you may have for the country you are visiting. Remember: it is illegal to have a colour photocopy of your passport so make sure it is in black and white. It will go a long way in helping you get out of a pickle. Your ticket packs will have information pages about what to do if you get into trouble so familiarise yourself with this.
4) Universal Adapter Plugs
Always handy! Last thing you need is to be caught without being able to charge your camera, phone or use other electrical necessities. The plugs aren't expensive and you can stop worrying about not having the means to keep items fully charged. You can check out a decent adapter here.
So, you are out wandering around, it's hot and you don't want to wear a coat. Understandable! And it rains..... A cloud burst has just opened up right above you and you are now soaked for the rest of your day trip! Well.... Not if you have a poncho :) Being lightweight and compact, fold up ponchos can be taken anywhere and are really handy if the heavens decide to open. Don't leave without one!
6) Document holder
When Paul drops me at the station every day he always says to me "Money, tickets, passport?"! For this reason, have an organiser when going on holiday. It makes it less able for me to misplace something and keeps everything in an easily accessible place. Off Broadway Travel do supply basic document holders for tickets and some of our suppliers give full ticket wallets for use which can store everything you need. If you are after your own however, something like a Travel Ticket Holder can be handy to have.
7) Ziplock bags
You can literally end up doing anything on holiday and this may seem a bit strange but they have a lot of uses, especially if you are on a trek and things get wet, or you are trying to keep something dry. Keep a few in your bag, you never know if one may come in handy.
How many times have you been caught on a plane when you have been asked to fill in a boarding card and you must ask around for one? Keep one easily accessible in an outer compartment of your bag (or your new nifty document holder!)
Right, so your iPhone or new Samsung or Huawei can take amazing photos. You use your phone for everything, I get it. I do too but, but I hate it when my phone runs out of battery because I've just taken 280552 photos. It's one other thing to carry but, hey, holiday snaps are your way of showing others your memories and experiences from your trip. There are some really great and affordable compact cameras or SLRs out there so shop around for a good deal. You don't want your safari ruined because you couldn't get a perfect zoomed in shot of that lazy lion ;) If you are hell-bent on just taking your camera then check out something like Lensbaby for your mobile phone. Or for the more adventurous, a GoPro or action camera kit like ApeMan for a cheaper option.
Travelling to other parts of the world can sometimes bring illness, it's unfortunate but it can happen. When you are feeling ill, the last thing you want is to walk into a pharmacy and try explaining what you need to someone who doesn't speak your language. Be prepared. Take some painkillers and diarrhea tablets if you can, you never know when you may need them. However, always check when taking medication of any kind abroad as in some countries even ibuprofen is banned. If you need to take prescription drugs with you make sure you take your signed doctor’s prescription along with a doctor's note and the box that your medication came in and always check with your surgery nurse if you need any pre-travel vaccinations. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
11) Sun & Mosquito Protection
If, like me, you are a total munch magnet for mosquitoes then repellent is a must... Don't leave home without it! The Boots own 50% DEET is very highly recommended, especially if you will be wandering around rain forests, and it can assist with you being comfortable for your excursions. Try and buy gel rather than sprays as you will waste a lot otherwise. Make sure you also have appropriate sunscreen for your skin type and those all important hats and sunglasses. Don't get burnt :)
12) Travel Insurance & Visas
Always make sure you have travel insurance. A lot of people ask us "do you really need it?" Short answer... yes, definitely. You never know what may happen even before you go on your holiday. We don't sell insurance but we can recommend Insure & Go as we use them for our own holidays. Check with your bank as you may already have insurance with the type of account you have. Also, some house insurance policies also come with travel so it's best to check before you fly.
If you are travelling to certain countries, then visas can be a must. Tour operators will advise on whether your chosen destination will require one. Always be prepared as some applications must be done well in advance.
13) Appropriate Clothing
Make sure you pack appropriately. We can offer advice on what weather you will have for your chosen destination at the time of year you are going. Some more adventurous itineraries will come with a "what to pack" guide. If you are going on a holiday with a lot of walking involved and you have just bought new walking boots or shoes take them for a trial run to make sure they are comfortable. The last thing you want is to be covered in blisters on your first day and not see everything! Be respectful of other cultures as well, you may need to cover up so make sure you take long sleeved comfortable attire where necessary.
14) Packing & Baggage
Are you a shove it all in it will all fit person? Or a measured roll up and pack neatly type? I must admit I do like a neatly packed case (husband not so much) and there are some brilliant YouTube videos out there on how to pack efficiently and you will be surprised just how much more you can fit into a suitcase.
Normally carry on luggage is 7-10kgs in weight. However, it would be prudent to:-
1) make sure you pack small essential toiletries i.e. underarm, toothpaste, hygiene wipes etc but just remember to keep them under 100ml and place them in a plastic bag when asked to.
2) a change of underwear (trust me) and a light set of clothes, as you never know if your luggage may be lost. This could save you a few days of wearing the same outfit.
3) Keep anything of value OUT of your checked baggage i.e. cameras, money etc take them with you on the plane. (Check camera batteries however, as some types may need to go in hold luggage)
If your luggage is ever lost, make sure you fill out any paperwork when AT the airport BEFORE you leave customs and make sure you have copies of any paperwork you fill in. If you end up buying clothes because of delayed baggage make sure you also keep all the receipts as you may be able to put in a claim to recoup the money when you return.