For those of you who may not know we have spent the last year traveling around the US in a converted bus. Because of this we have not had to pack for anything in awhile. So with our upcoming two month trip we were sort of at a loss for what exactly we needed to bring. luckily because of our simplified and shrunken lifestyle we don’t own many belongings. But as we packed (my backpack, Brandon’s duffle bag) and traveled around we realized some major packing mistakes we had made and some things we really wish we would have brought. Here are some do’s and don’ts for International travel.
3 Must Haves:
Trust me you may think every country has the same standards as yours but you will be shocked at all the differences. Its always nice to have something to wipe your sweat if its hotter than you expect. To wipe down things that may not be as clean as you would have liked. And to use after going to the bathroom because a lot of places don’t use toilet paper. This is something that we wish we would have brought but piggybacking off brandon’s grandparents was a valuable lesson for us to remember for next time.
2. Hand Sanitizer
This is something I wish I would have brought because again cleanliness is not the same everywhere. So many times there wasn’t soap after using the restroom, gross I know. Also just after a sticky meal, or even better yet using public transit. (I mean our public transit in San Francisco calls for sanitizer) So not too surprising that a trip abroad would call for the same thing. We didn’t have a back up for this so it was just missed and thought about often.
Trust me even if you don’t party a lot this is something you are going to want to bring. The alcohol is not the same everywhere you go and sometimes it doesn’t take much to get a hangover, or maybe thats just lightweight me? Either way this came in handy for the handful times we drank a little heavy. You also never know how you are going to react to the different foods and environment. My body was getting completely different nutrition then it was used to and this resulted in major headaches at time. Its also wise to note something like peptobismal is nice to have for stomach problems as well, they come in chewable tablets for easy travel.
3 Not needed:
While I love reading and when waiting at airports and flying it can be so nice to have something non electric to consume your attention, readers be ware. Reading a nice paper book can be therapeutic, but lugging around said book or in our case books, can be such a hassle. Not to mention that a lot of shorter travel within a country have weight limits on your cary on luggage, usually around 7kg (15lbs). Some can be very strict others you can finagle. We ended up paying $30 extra for our flight to Bali from Manila because of overweighted luggage. But on our flight from Bangkok to Phuket we were able to use some extra bags and work the system.
Trust me I can be the worst packer when it comes to clothing, you never know what you may need to wear. But most likely you will be able to buy anything you may absolutely need and forgot at your destination. Also you think you are going to wear a lot of different outfits but you usually just end up wearing a couple of outfits and washing them. This effectively causes you to lug around a suitcase full of things you didn’t need.
3. Big Suitcase
Like I stated previously most airlines when traveling shorter distances within a country have weight limits (15lbs) 7k usually. This can be a huge problem if you are going to be flying from one spot to another quiet often like we did. If you don’t want to pay a ton r checked luggage for each flight you better pack light weight. We learned our lesson here on our last flight to Bali before heading home. Because it was the end of the trip we didn’t have a lot of money left so it ate into our fun money to spend on activities on the island. Sometimes its that simple do you want to pay for things, or do you want to pay for experiences?
I hope these will help you think a little bit more about what you should and shouldn’t pack for your net get away. Sometimes you learn by making mistakes, but if you can learn from others mistakes, you will have an even better trip.