Thursday, October 6, 2011

What should I pack?

I've heard on numerous occasions that the best time to pack for your next big trip is when you're back from your last one.

So I'm going to run through my bag and sort out all the stuff I needed and didn't really need to bring.


Just make your life easier and have the ticket and info ready to present to customs to let them know that you aren't planning to stay forever.

I've got a large bag, 70 Liters... I still have no idea what this means, but it might mean something to someone out there. I saw a bunch of girls walking around with bags bigger than mine and with a huge duffel bag on top of that, this would have killed me on this trip. But I know that lots of those girls were probably moving to the UK while I was just running around for fun. I like my bag because I could put my clothes in it and still had room for the little things that start adding up as you travel around.

Long pants/trousers (depending on your region)
a pair of capri pants (generally these can be cooling or warming depending on what you pair them with)
A pair of shorts

I'd heard that leggings under jeans make for really warm leg wear if you find yourself in a much cooler place than you were expecting.

On the fence:
I had a light pair of capri that I used a couple of cooler nights but I think I could have gotten away without them... then again they were generally what I wore to do laundry in. So I might have to reconsider as I did wear them a fair number of times.

Could have done without:
I had a skort (skirt-shorts) with me that only served as wrapping for breakables.

I had a variety of light tops. The more you have the more time you have between washes and it makes a load of laundry actually worth the money.

1 tank top (I don't get overly warm but on the days when the heat got too much it was good to have)
7 Shirts... I might even take this higher on my next trip. They were mostly light shirts, I had one that I considered my more fancy one that I had planned to go out for the evening in, but generally I just ended up wearing a regular shirt when I went out. So I had my fancy one for laundry day! Snazzy! (my motto is: Different colours and styles so you don't start hating everything you wear.)
A light warm sweater
A baggy light 3/4 sleeve shirt. It was perfect for letting air in or keeping me a little warmer
Rain jacket/wind breaker

On the fence:
I brought a cardigan along and it really helped me feel dressed up on some nights when I didn't want to feel like a tourist but I did only wear it a couple of times.

Could have done without:
I had an extra tank top that didn't really make it out that often. Spent most of the trip keeping my skort company.
I had also packed a bathing suit... I could have maybe used it once, but I just didn't feel like swimming.
Sleeping shirt, I had brought along some pjs but most nights I just slept in the shirt I'd been walking around in all day.

Girls, I'd bring along an extra bra to however many you would normally take. I tried this out for the first time this trip and I was really happy. I usually go with 2 but over the course of my trip one was wrecked so it worked out really well
Underwear - Bring at least 3 or 4 more than the shirts you have.
Socks will depend on if you're going for a wet place. If wet, go with the same rule of the underwear. If hot and dry you might want to cut back if you're going to wear sandals. But if you're going for hot with hiking you'll want the extra pairs to keep your feet from stinking.

Passport (goes without saying but some things still need to be said)
Shower sandals
Good walking shoes
toothbrush and paste
deodorant (if you're going to use spray GET OUT of the hostel dorm room before you use it!)
Suction cup hook for the walls of shower bathroom and a canvas bag to hang my clothes in - Saved me from wet clothes soooo many times.
A necklace money pouch
Ear plugs and eye-mask (there are some places where this will be essential)

Teck that made my life easier:
Power adapter
Camera, power cord
regional pay as you go phone
small laptop and cord (most places have wifi but no computers for use, so unless you have your own laptop or smart phone you're out of luck)
ipod and headphones
travel alarm clock

Helpful things but not essential:
A hard sided case like a Tupperware container really helped with keeping small things together and protecting some small breakables.
Needle and thread
Permanent marker (for labeling your food for hostel fridges)
collapsible fork/spoon/knife
compass (even in big cities this is really helpful as most locals say "Go North" to start directions)
Plastic protection for documents
Little gifts from your country (I handed out a bunch of random things with the Canadian flag on it, the best thing I got in return was some stickers from a girl from South Korea. I always feel self conscious about packing them but I'm always happy that I have them when I meet people)

pens and a small note book

This is where I have some thoughts. Keeping track of your journey will be really helpful later for contacting people, train tickets, hostel bookings, events you want to get to and even just remembering what you did from day to day. I had a few note books with me but I would have been happy with just the one little moleskin that has a section with perforated pages VERY helpful.

Additionally -I had a pocket size sudoku book that made for bits of scrap paper and a mini note pad for jotting down directions and emails from people. Really helpful and I always knew where everyone's information was and some entertainment when waiting in lines for things.

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