Travelling: What You Need To Know

Thursday, 14 January 2016


If I'd have had someone to grill before packing my things into a backpack for three months and jetting around the world, I'd have been laughing. I would have ditched the stupid things I didn't need, packed things I definitely did need and probably have a more realistic perception of what my trip might entail. But, that's where I come in. Whether this benefits one or more of you, here's what to do, what not to do, what to pack and what not to pack. I can't pretend these are going to be in a logical order, because I added them to my iPhone notes as and when they popped into my head while I was away, but luckily for you they're here to help:

  • In Australia and New Zealand, the lack of plugs is equally surprising and mortifying so make your first purchase an extension lead. You can either buy one when you're there or take one and plug it into the relevant country adapter (NZ & Oz are the same).
  • Leave enough money in your bank account for outgoings so you don't have to worry about moving money over while you're away. And don't touch it. The bills have to be paid people.
  • Make sure you've got an emergency fund of money. Unexpected costs may occur - doctors bills or when you genuinely run out money. If you don't, you'll be screwed.
  • Buy Havaianas. They're the most comfortable and industrial flip flops you'll ever wear. Mine were worn to death and they're still fully functional. Avoid white because mine got ridiculously dirty.
  • Take a bum bag - you'll thank me when you've got two free hands and your possessions are safely zipped away with less chance of being stolen.
  • Buy a sleeping bag liner - it makes nights in grubby hostels with minging sheets (only sometimes) all the more bearable. It's also a good bug deterrent and was definitely my favourite travelling investment. You'll thank me.
  • Mosquito repellent will be your best friend.
  • Take as much medication as you can - you will get the shits and/or be sick in Thailand so take something to stop it coming out of both ends for goodness sake.
  • They don't sell tampons in Thailand - take some if you're going to be on lady time.
  • Take a day rucksack that you put all your valuables, passport, electricals in.
  • Get a Caxton currency card. You link a bank account, load GBP (minimum £100 and only one upload every 24 hours) and withdraw in whatever country you're in. You can load via an app or pay by card in most places. Very simple to set up and use.
  • Pack your clothes in bags within your rucksack to make finding things easier. Tops in one carrier bag, bottoms in another and stack.
  • Don't be fooled into thinking you'll wear denim shorts in the day. It's far too hot and sticky for tight clothes in the day. Loose clothing is your best friend.
  • Don't drink anything but bottled water in Asia.
  • Barter everything in Thailand - never accept the price they initially ask for.
  • Prepare to be constipated at least once. Sorry guys, it just happens.
  • Don't over pack as you tend to re-wear the same things.
  • Keep all your tickets, receipts, leaflets etc for a scrapbook when you're home.
  • Check where hostels are in relation to the main beaches and party areas.
  • Use Hostel World or Booking.com to book hostels while away.
  • Mosquito nets are a waste of time. There is nowhere to hang them and I didn't use mine once.
  • Utilise Peter Pans in Australasia. They're amazing and will plan as much or as little as you want them to. So so helpful and great prices.
  • Book trips as soon as you get to a country so the bulk of activities are paid for so you can budget the rest of your money.
  • If you're going with a friend/s keep a kitty and all put the same amount in or take it in turns to withdraw money. It gets SO confusing being like, you owe me 3 dollars 70 every day.
  • Take aloe vera - I'd never had prickly heat before but got it badly on my bum. It's literally a miracle product and it'll be gone within a few days.
  • Take extra storage (memory stick, hard drive etc) for photos - my iPhone was full and I didn't want to lose photos so shoved them on a memory stick.
  • Do a skydive and get the video. It'll be one of the best experiences of your life.
  • Take a waterproof camera - don't risk beach photoshoots with your iPhone because it will end in tears. Waterproof cameras are fab.
  • Take a pack of cards and a pen. It's the little things.
  • Write things down - it's amazing how much you do and how much you forget.
  • Take a jumper, a pair of jeans/leggings and a lightweight rain coat. It can rain or get cold on the other side of the world too, you know.
  • Take carrier bags for dirty washing.
  • Take a portable charger - sometimes a life saver.
  • Buy a waterproof pouch that goes round your neck for your phone. Protects it on the beach and can still use the touchscreen.
  • Put suncream on your scalp. A severely peeling scalp isn't fun. Or pretty.
  • Take 2 micro towels - one for showering and one for the beach. They fold up really tiny and dry very quickly. No worse combo than a damp sandy towel on a clean bod.
  • Buy a refillable water bottle in NZ/Oz as you'll save so much money on bottled water. The water there is safe to drink and it's important to stay hydrated.
  • Take paracetamol, ibuprofen etc. You will be hungover.
  • Download a currency converter app - it puts costs into perspective when you're spending money every day so you can determine if something is expensive.
  • WiFi is rubbish in Australia and New Zealand. Prepare to pay everywhere. Cheaper to buy an Australian/NZ sim card as it works out about 40 dollars a month (£20 ish) for calls, texts, data. Else it's 5 dollars every day. Or buy a WiFi dongle which will also save money.
  • Make sure your data roaming is off. You don't want to be returning to a hefty bill.
  • Hand sanitiser is a must. Everywhere.
  • Leave some money aside for when you return home. Even if you return to a job, you'll probably have to wait a month until you get paid.
  • Buy postcards or souvenirs wherever you go - they're nice memories.
  • Be safe - always stay together. It's an incredibly exciting world out there but bad things do happen occasionally. Have the BEST time but be sensible.

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