For many of us, the ideal vacation is spent on the beach where we don’t need much more than our bathing suit, an ice cold drink and some shades.
Packing for this type of trip is easy, just throw in:
- swim suit(s)
- your favorite dress clothes
And maybe some…
- snorkel gear
- a good book
- sketch pad/ journal
- playing cards
TIP: Always try to save some room for souvenirs.
It’s incredibly heartbreaking when you find that perfect something that you can’t bring home because you don’t have any room in your bag, trust me!
😮But let’s say you want to visit multiple countries in one trip 😮
😮😮And these countries, maybe have different climates? 😮😮
😮😮😮And you are only bringing one bag! 😮😮😮
Now that sounds like a challenge!
One of my favorite things about traveling, is not that it’s easy, it’s that it’s hard!… Everyday you will face new challenges.
These challenges will force you to react, and mainly through trail and error you will find your way.
So be ready to fail and bounce back up because if you carry the weight of your mistake with you, it’ll be easier to make a new mistake. You gotta shake it off 😉
*Be ready to grow, grow, grow, in ways you never imagined.*
TRUTH: You don’t need more than:
- one pair of pants
- 2-5 tops
- one pair of shorts
- one swim suit
- one jacket
- one sweater
- one skirt
- one scarf
- underwear – unlimited
- socks -unlimited
- 1-2 pairs of earrings
- one necklace
- 2 sandals (1 you wear out, 1 you wear in the shower!!)
- one pair of sneakers
- one pair of hiking boots/cold weather boots
- one hat that’s made of cotton or a material that’s easily folded and stored away
- Space left in your bag for new goodies.Travel as light as possible.
You only need one of most things!!
In some countries, clothes are so cheap and nice that you’ll probably want to buy some if you have the money. Do your research on your destinations, you might just want to buy a new wardrobe when you get there 💁 (In which case, pack less)
Almost everywhere I’ve been, I’ve found places to wash my clothes for me, and for cheap. If not, it’s back to the ole’ washboard.
Packing for the elements
Let’s face it, the weather is not going to always be perfect, no matter how much you pray and plead. You’ll have to pack for the rainy, cold days too.
Here are some the essentials you’ll need:
Note: Some people say you kind find all this stuff in other countries. That’s not always the case, it depends on where you’re going… Plus, it’s nice to have all you need so you don’t need to focus on finding and buying things. Most of the time, there are no one-stop shopping centers. You are literally having to go in and out of multiple stores looking for what you want… So, just bring it with you so you can spend more time doing other things. 👍
SUNSCREEN – I don’t care if you’re naturally dark or looking to have a ‘great tan’ when you get home, too much sun exposure causes cancer. Take care of your future self, and apply even a low SPF that would be better then nothing. And truthfully, any sunscreen advertising an SPF over 30 is lying to you. It’s impossible to make an SPF higher than 30 b.t.dubs.
Some countries don’t even sell sunscreen (i.e. = CUBA). It’s best to bring some with you.
Too much time in the sun is going to dry out your skin. You probably won’t like that. I’d recommend bringing some lotion to counteract this affect.
Also, in some Asian countries, they are obsessed with white skin so they put whitening into their almost all of their lotions, which making finds lotion without whitening kind of difficult and even more expensive!
Hard to find in stores, Super to have in most cases! Sometimes bathrooms have no sinks. Sometimes bathrooms have no toilet paper. Sometimes you’re sitting on a bus for a full day, eating and whatnot. Sometimes people around you are sick. Take care of yo-self. Nobody wants to be sick in a foreign country!.. especially if you are alone. 😉
A phone that accepts new SIM cards / new SIM in every country
If you already have a phone that accepts new SIMs, great! You can often purchase a new SIM card from the airport. I would suggest this as you will have internet immediately including google maps (or the map app of your choice) which makes life 1000%x easier.
Most American phones are “locked” into a contract. You can either get an international plan with your provider, or buy a new phone for cheap.
Umbrella and/or Rain Poncho
When it rains, it pours.
Sometimes you’re in a city – umbrella!
Sometimes you’re in the jungle ~poncho~
Sometimes you have a waterproof coat ~no need for poncho or umbrella~
But sometimes you want to look nice ~umbrella~
~You might want to get a waterproof cover for your backpack!~
I have an umbrella, and a waterproof coat. I am so happy to have my umbrella, you have no idea. It is on the heavy side, but I love my umbrella and I’m willing to add the weight to my bag. ❤
Heading North? Well, it’s probably going to cold. You’ll need a nice jacket to keep warm. The inner lining of my jacket is removable and the outer layer is waterproof, making my jacket very versatile. It’s kept me warm in Moscow and dry in Hoi An. It takes up a ton of space in my backpack, but it’s essential in colder climates. In warmer climates, you’ll probably want to bury it at the bottom of your bag and just forget about it.
If you are a minimalist like me, I am always trying to give away things I don’t need. Which means, if I want to keep something I am no longer using for longer term, I probably need to forget that I have it in order to protect it from minimalist nature.
Life is so much more enjoyable when we are well prepared. Spare yourself, and think ahead! 😉
Some non-weather related essentials:
Cotton Bag/Purse and/or Daysack
You’ll need a bag or purse obviously. Choose something that is easily stored when you don’t need/when you’re traveling.
I have a cotton bag & a daysack (or an average sized backpack) that I use regularly. If you are like me, you like your hands free. Backpacks are the best.
Note: In some countries, you’re going to want to keep an eye on your bag. You can do this by wearing your backpack in the front of your body rather than the back. When carrying a bag or purse, always keep it in front of your body to prevent theft. Thieves are quiet talented in the dark arts of pit pocketing.
Chances are you won’t even notice someone stealing from you.
Keeping your bag in sight at all times prevents worry and theft!
Reusable Water bottle
I am sure you’ve heard the quote, “Don’t drink the water!” Well, truth is not even the local in most of these countries drink the tap water! Filtered, safe water will be available for you at most hostels, and hotels, and restaurants. Don’t worry! There is also water to be purchased at most any convenience store, but with such a plastic issue on this planet. Buy a reusable water bottle and refill. This method will also save you money. $$$
Why the world doesn’t have a universal plug/outlet is something I don’t know (but I am sure it’ll happen in the coming years with the hyper-connected world on the rise) but luckily, there are universal adapters! They are pretty neat. You will need one of these. Trust me, not being able to use your computer or charge your phone is really going to bum you out. Plan ahead, and avoid this feeling.
A Pen & Paper
A pen is more essential than the paper. You’re going to need a pen if you plan on sending any postcards home, or jotting down an address etc, etc.
Being a writer, I always have a pen and a journal or two. To me, this is mandatory.
Whatever is your creative outlet, I’d suggest bringing the bare minimum of what you need to. On long journeys, there is tons of downtime, whether you’re waiting at a bus stop, train stop or airport, an unexpected rain storm squanders your plans, or you are literally on a bus all day, you are going to have to keep yourself occupied.
Book or Magazine
Bring a book with you because it’ll be difficult finding books in English or your native tongue in foreign lands. The tricky part is once you finish your book, where do you get the next? I got lucky and found a beautiful book in Vietnam all in English by one of my teachers Thich Nhat Hanh; Teachings on Love
Not a reader? That’s too bad. Maybe now is a good time to start! You are going to have a lot of downtime with no internet.
And If you made it this far in my blog, you must know how to at least. Did you know, the average American reads so much on social media in a year, that if they spent that time reading from books, they would have enough time to read 200 books in a year!? No way? Yes, way! Read about it here
Not to mention, finishing a book is a rewarding, an accomplishment; something you can feel good about. Imagine what it would feel like: You did it! You finished a book. Go you! Yeah, it’s the little things in life…
Wallet, Passport, Money, ID card, Emergency Contact Information
This should go without saying but all these items would fall under “essential.”
Here are some tips for safe travel
- Don’t travel with tons of paper money.
When traveling on a bus, or train or even plane; always keep valuables in your hand bag, never stored away under the bus or in a place you can’t see.
- “Emergency Contact Information”
Yes, that info should be written in your passport, but maybe you don’t carry your passport on you all the time. When you’re out in the world, NOT working, you’ll likely to get into some more risky situations then typical. Hiking, Motorbiking, Rock Climbing, Scuba/Snorkeling, etc. etc. Always have an emergency contact’s information with you. And remember, phones have locks that only you know so the “it’s all on my phone” thought, will not help you out in every situation.
Write it down.
- Unfortunately luggage gets lost. It happens. Be smart and always put your contact information somewhere handy in the bag. Like in the top pocket or sitting on top of your clothes; you never know what could happen, it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
I hope you enjoyed and got some useful information from my post! I would love to hear if you think I left anything off my list. As I will frequent back here and update it occasionally, I’d be happy to add your ideas.
Be safe, have fun, and learn a bunch!
~Until next time, Rita in India~