“Packing lightly” is easier said than done, so check out our list of the top 10 things you should definitely be squeezing into your suitcase.
1. Comfortable shoes
I was recently mortified at the thought of walking around the romantic streets of Italy in a flowy dress… paired with my ASICS Gels. However travelling often entails a lot of walking, and my feet certainly copped the blisters and shooting pains that wearing open flat sandals in Rome with absolutely no foot support guarantees. Shoes are getting a bit trendier these days however, and you can find a lot of sneaker-style shoes that are appropriately padded, but don’t clash with too many outfit combinations. If all else fails, just wear your runners – you’re unlikely to bump into anyone you know and quite frankly, who cares if you do? They’ll have the raw blisters, not you!
2. A raincoat
Let’s face it, at some stage in your trip, you’re going to experience some rain. Make sure you pack a lightweight raincoat that doesn’t take up too much room in your bag but won’t wreck your itinerary should you experience some downpour. Combined with the teeniest bout of wind, umbrellas are useless at keeping you dry so best stick to a raincoat.
3. An alarm
You’ll more than likely have some sort of alarm feature on your phone, but make sure that if you don’t, you pack a small digital clock with an alarm. This is especially important if you’re travelling on a tour – you don’t want to get left behind after sleeping in!
4. Crinkle-free clothing
I doubt that your whole wardrobe will be made of lycra, but try and opt into packing some clothing that will not only take up less space in your bag, but will also avoid you having to iron anything (because who wants to iron while on holiday?) Ladies in particular – think about knit-constructed dresses (perhaps a viscose/elastane blend) and black leggings which you can pair with long tops. They’re also much easier to wash and will dry quickly without crinkling, so they’re the ideal types of clothing for travel.
5. A torch
This is something that I’ve learnt from my parents and have always taken on board when travelling (even if it’s just been for a week away up the coast with the girls). It’s always handy to keep by your bedside in case of emergencies or blackouts during the night. It won’t take up much room, and while you hopefully won’t need it too often, it’ll save you stumbling around in the dark.
6. A body wallet
Put your money and passport in a wallet that you can conceal beneath your shirt. Bumbags, aside from belonging in Disneyland, scream tourist and will make you easier to target for muggers. Pickpockets can also be very swift and take money/items from your backpack or purse without you even realising, so it’s best to keep the most important things where you can see it (and where they can’t).
7. A pair of thongs/flip-flops
Many people hate wearing thongs, but they’re a good thing to have if you’re using shared bathrooms, or the floor that you’re walking on looks a little shady… Speaking from personal experience, the spongy kind are also very comfortable to wear should you forget to pack comfortable, sturdy shoes in the first place, and end up wearing cheap, blistering sandals.
8. A small face wash towel
Great for when you’re trekking (or just walking a lot) and need to mop that brow of yours, but even better if you’ve got a headache or need a quick pick-me-up. As a severe migraine sufferer, I can tell you that there is nothing better than a cold, wet face washer on the back of your neck or on your forehead to ail an ache!
9. Paw paw ointment
A tube of this stuff will solve any dilemma: cracked lips, dry skin, windburn, chafing, burns (including sunburn), cuts, abrasions… the list is endless.
10. Hand-luggage with a change of clothes
Something that’s easy to forget, but will make you feel a lot fresher at the other end of the 24-hour plane journey if your main luggage goes walkabouts…
What are your top travel essentials? Leave us a comment below.