Packing for a trip is never easy. No matter the length of the trip, there will always question like “should I bring this with me?”. Because, if you set off with too many packages, it can make the whole trip bitter. It really doesn’t matter how much stuff you have when you’re just rushing after the departing train, boarding a flat platform on a swaying boat, or trying to cram into a crowded bus. The appropriate question to ask is, “I cannot exist without this?”.
In addition to what you take with you, it’s also important how you pack them – with clever tricks, there’s a lot more to fit in your suitcase. The purpose of the holiday list is not to always take all the items on it with you, but to make sure you don’t forget anything important at home. You obviously don’t need a mosquito net for a long weekend in London, but I’d rather prescribe it so you don’t stay home if you’re going to Africa. It’s a good idea to pick up the list before each trip as a check, and it’s also worth checking to see if something was missing after the trip.
Copy the most important documents (passport, plane ticket, insurance). Bring PIN codes for credit cards and mobile phones, login names and passwords for access to e-mail programs, Facebook and other Internet portals, so that they will be remembered in any situation. Save them in a master password-protected file on a flash drive or in the cloud.
Write down your credit card number along with your bank’s phone number so that you can block it immediately in case of loss. It is also a good idea to write down the telephone number of the local embassy or consulate so that you do not have to look it up in case of trouble.
If you don’t have a safe in your hotel, always carry important papers with you in a neck-hanging bag or a belt pouch that can be worn under your clothes. I always keep my passport with me – it may be necessary to change money when crossing the border – so I don’t have to fish out of the depths of my bag. But if the hotel has a safe, the original documents can be left there if they are not expected to be needed that day, but at least you should always have a copy of your passport with you.
It’s a good idea to always carry electrical stuff in your hand luggage. As you prepare, check to see if you can use your mobile phone at all in your destination country, that is, if your service provider has a contract with a partner there. If not, there’s no problem, because you can reach out to anyone via the Internet. In any case, make sure to bring a gadget with you so you can pass time faster, especially if you have to change flights. Having a phone or a laptop with you can open up multiple possibilities of entertainment. You can either watch a movie, read a book, play a game on the internet like blackjack online. This way you won’t spend hours watching the walls.
Also, check the shape of the connectors in your destination country on websites that specialize in this to see if you will need a converter.
During the trip, there are more dangers to the camera than on weekdays: there is more dust, a few drops of rain on it, and it happened to me several times during child photography that the photo model suddenly pressed his little finger on the lens, leaving ugly fingerprints. You can easily get rid of the dust with a pump brush, you can remove the remaining stains with a lens cleaning liquid and a thin cloth.
Since the straps of the chargers wrap back and forth in the package, it is worth arranging a separate smallholder for them. If you don’t have a lot of strings, a larger sunglasses holder is suitable. Shared charger storage also has the advantage that you don’t forget to charge anything at night. If you still have the mains charger at home, but you have at least one USB cable, don’t be discouraged, because TVs in hotel rooms often have a USB port and you can also charge your phone through it.
When packing them, keep in mind that you can leave some things home, as you can get shampoo and soap everywhere. If you decide to take everything from home, pay attention to the packaging. If you choose the original, usual bottle size, you will no longer fit in your hand luggage. Foam bath, shampoo, body lotion, etc. take it with you in smaller (30‒100 ml), light plastic containers. You can already get travel-packed toiletries in better drugstores, but on the one hand, they are expensive and on the other hand, you may not even like their brand. If you want to repack your favourite products, equip them with small travel bottles. On short trips, you can also use the creams you received as samples in the newspapers.
Also keep in mind that in the Third World, certain items are harder to find (such as a tampon) and you are unsure of the conditions under which they were stored (most creams are not good for heat).
One of the most painful but important parts of the journey is decided what stays and what to keep. Deciding on how to pack your clothes can be challenging, but with a few tricks, you can make the process easier. If your suitcase is too small you should make friends with the idea: you’ll always be in the same clothes in the photos. The good news is that this is why you will try to find the most interesting places for selfies so that at least the background is different and exciting!
Find a solution for washing clothes in much of the world – be it a hotel laundry service, a local cleaning salon, or an enthusiastic aunt who washes and irons your clothes for pennies. As a last resort, there’s a sink and soap: it’s not so bad to wash a T-shirt and a pair of socks in the evening.
Do you know how the clothes dry the fastest? After washing, unscrew it well, then spread it on a large terry towel, wrap them together like a pancake with the filling, and unscrew the towel well, with your T-shirt or even socks in it. This leaves less moisture in them and a much better chance of it drying out in the morning.