Myself and my friend Claudia are off to the other side of the world TOMORROW!
Planning and saving for this trip since last summer, it’s finally come round to actually leaving and starting our little adventure. Since deciding in August that we both wanted to go travelling, and to the same places, we joined together and started planning. Saving up has not been easy, after FINALLY paying off my overdraft by the end of summer I began working two jobs trying desperately to earn as much as I could in only a few months.
Winter in Wales is pretty bleak (wind, rain, cold gloomy days…) and so our aim was not to be here for the whole of it. We figured that by January we should have enough saved for at least a 4 month stint away, and after careful consideration (and lots of searching for cheap flights) we have managed it!
Our rough plan is to fly to Vietnam, travel around that part of Asia (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia) for 2 months. Onto India and Sri Lanka in March and to Indonesia by April – hopefully spending my 22nd on a Balinese beach sipping coconut water (not too much to ask).
Obviously I will update as we go so WATCH THIS SPACE.
But my question is, how do you pack your life into a bag? For someone who has never lived from only what I can carry on my back, this is another little challenge in itself. From travelling around a little myself, to advice from family and friends who have done it before – this is what I have learnt about packing LIGHT.
1. THE ESSENTIALS
These mini plastic pockets are a lifesaver when it comes to organising all the important documents. I always make sure the first things packed are the ESSENTIALS. Passport, flight details/e-tickets, itinerary, visas and travel insurance – all popped into a little plastic pocket and kept somewhere I can easily access when rushing through an airport. (I usually email myself a copy of everything as well just to be safe).
2. THE WEATHER
What’s it going to be like in every area you travel to? Packing for the right weather is one of the hardest things as the weather is so unpredictable. However, I planned the trip so we miss the monsoon season in every country we travel to and the average temp stays around 25-30 degrees Celsius. This essentially means “one size fits all” – I can pack for one place and wear exactly the same in all the others. Floaty light weight tops, trousers and shorts are a win, and can be layered up if it does get chilly.
Longer sleeves and trousers are essential in some places like India if you want to be respectful of the culture and religion. Remember to do some research before you travel!
Diving, hiking, swimming, snorkelling etc etc. Not gonna lie – I love an activity holiday, I can just about deal with a couple of days chilling by a pool or at the beach but I’m much more at home hiking up a mountain or diving under the sea. Make sure everything you bring is comfortable enough to be walking around in for hours (this is inevitable if you’re travelling and exploring from place to place) plus any kit that you may need for activities. (I bring my log book, dive watch and mask and snorkel for diving).
4. BE REALISTIC
This one will save you a lot of stress and back pain(!!) How much can you actually carry? And how much will you actually wear? You may have to spend long amounts of time walking around with this thing on your back, and in v high temperatures and busy environments that won’t be so fun. There is no room for “just incase” options, pack sensibly and only what you will really need. Who cares if you wear the same top a few times?! You’re travelling the world, have a bit of perspective and save your back a huge amount of pain.
5. GET PROTECTED
This is an essential for all sensible travellers. You never know when you may get into some trouble or have an accident and having the means to help yourself is a massive advantage. Put together a small first aid kit or even share one with who you’re going with.
A few things in mine include: pain killers, plasters, mosquito repellent, after bite, antihistamines, anti bac gel, wound cleaning wipes, paper stitches and IMODIUM (essential for India truuuust me) plus other things you may find useful.
It’s actually pretty fun to put together and will put your mind at ease if you do end up in some kind of trouble.
Let me know if you have any other tips for packing light when you go away!
Now all that’s left to say is goodbye Wales for a short while, and let the adventures begin..