Oct 25, 2013

packing essentials for the ultimate traveller... part one

to the untrained eye living out of a backpack symbolises freedom, adventure and the unknown. but for the carriers of those backpacks, my brothers and sisters on the road, you will hear my frustrations when i say that living out of a backpack is also painfully frustrating at times. you literally carry your entire home around in that backpack. any possessions valuable and useful enough to get you from a to b are within that backpack. which is why it is so important to ensure that you pack correctly. right from the get go.

i figured that a three part series, ranging from basic must-have, clothing and miscellaneous items would ensure that at least one of these blogs would resonate with you – or perhaps all of them.

so what do i consider as must have items when i (meaning we – jamee and kurt) head off? i will detail the obvious in this post.

travel guide – first and foremost, you need to know a little about where you are going. so a guidebook to me, is invaluable. whether it be for the purpose of accommodation and dining recommendations, maps, a basic country overview, a list of basic phrases or the do’s and dont’s, we rarely travel without at least one guidebook. there are plenty of companies that compile amazing travel guides. lonely planet (lp) do dominate this market, but there are a lot out there and it’s up to personal preference. we often find ourselves asking a taxi to take us to a hotel nominated by lp and end up going to a hotel that is equally as nice and well-priced, next door or over the road. We like to think of this as sharing the love.

pocket phrase book – we take these to countries we tend on spending a little over a month. as spanish is the “official” language of mexico and central america, we are taking a dictionary and as well as a pocket phrase book. (on a separate note, we are also taking basic spanish lessons one evening a week so that we can actually string a few sentences together when we arrive.) again, there are various companies that compile these little beauties, have a shop around at book stores and online, i have often come across them in the discount bins in bookstores.

travel wallet – a kickass travel wallet is an absolute must. not only are they great for ensuring you keep all your travel documents together in one place, they also keep you organised. small-ish and snug, you cannot physically hold onto unwanted ticket-butts and dangerous good declarations. you are forced to bin any crap that is not needed. i keep all our travel documents, passports, spare passport photos (often a good idea for countries you need to submit a photo with a visa application), photocopies of travel insurance and other documents, airline travel cards, travel gift cards, two pens and a little cash in the applicable currency.

a travel journal – while i document most of our journey through this blog, there are also things that i like to keep memory of, that i may not want to share with the blogosphere. for instance i might detail something whimsical that kurt had said to me during the day, an inspirational moment that really moved me, an addition to my growing bucket list or a poem or song lyric that i liked.

a camera – important for all the obvious reasons. whether you are an amateur photographer  or a professional one, when you travel you have more time to capture that small details that we miss in everyday life. a smile that would usually go unnoticed, doesn’t, because right there in that moment, you are living it, the raw beauty that you will forever have a recollection of. throughout our asia journey i used a small digital camera that did the job just fine. lucky girl that I am, kurt bought me an amazing new one for this journey so i will be capturing our next adventure through the lense of a sony nex 5n.

a laptop – weather you have an ipad, tablet or laptop, any of these are great to not only use as a means to communicate with loved ones while at home but also a great way of storing your photos while on the road. my laptop also contains a lot of travel pdf’s, photos from home and design programs that i use for different purposes. we usually travel with one laptop between the two of us, however a lot of couples we met on the road used ipads that were perfect for their needs.   

a travel adaptor – i always advise friends and family to invest in a good universal adaptor. the one we use can literally be used world-wide and its fantastic.

so tell me, what are your basic must-have travel items?