If you’ve traveled, you probably have that staple story of the one time you forgot to pack that thing you needed. Our winner moment goes to Em – who flew around the world for a wedding and left his suit nicely pressed and hanging at home.
Not having what you need can make a trip miserable and we want to share our packing wisdom with you. It’s pretty sage – though it won’t stop you from forgetting your suit.
COLOUR SCHEME rookies pack outfits but pros pack colour schemes. Make sure everything you pack matches everything else you pack and so then it doesn’t matter if you spill something. Pick a colour palette and stick with it.
RE-SEALABLE BAGS The ever classy Ziplock, or even better a longer lasting reusable bag, is a proven friend to travellers. Pack your clothes into these bags by type. They can help keep dirty laundry away from the clan stuff. Also, they can be improvised for any number of situations. No bowl? No problem. It’s floppy, but it will do. No basin to wash clothes in? You’re laughing. Toss some detergent and water in the bag and give it a massage.
ENDLESS WALKING Appropriate footwear is a must. In Western Europe, you can always tell the locals from the tourists. Locals strut about in high heels and patent pumps on cobble stone while tourists trudge about in sensible sneakers. This is pretty universal except for the Germans – who seem ready to hike at a moments notice!
Footwear aside, we do more walking when we travel. Whether shopping or exploring or touring a gallery, we are a show in motion. Be sure to have underwear which protects against the dreaded thigh chaffing. Chub rub is real and can put a damper on your time away. For guys, we recommend something breathable with a longer leg. We’re partial to SAXX. For ladies, Fruit of the Loom has some great options. If you’re worried about sex appeal, there are swanky thigh bands out there that bring together fashion and function.
CROTCH ROT Along with all of that extra walking comes a lot of sweating. Powder will serve you – and those around you – very well. A spritz down south (front and back) goes a long way. Depending on where you are in the world, the brands may vary. Some may even having a tingling agent to help close pores – don’t panic when the after burn hits your undercarriage. It will pass.
This post shares about WHAT to pack. Check out this post for HOW we pack our family’s stuff into 1 suitcase.
VIRGIN PAIR OF CLOTHES That special evening out usually comes at the end of a nice trip. If you’re budget backpacking, then you’ve probably lived in the same clothes for too long and it shows. Either way, set aside a virgin pair of clothes in a separate sealable bag. Bust these out for that special night or for the trip home. No one wants to sit for 19 hours on a plane in clothes they’ve been trekking in. Do us all a favour and crack open a fresh one for that voyage. Thanks in advance!
UNLOCKED PHONE This is usually as simple as a call to your phone provider. Ask them to unlock your phone so the you can use other SIM cards abroad. Using local SIMs will save you on roaming and data charges and keep you connected. If your phone provider tries to charge you for this, tell them they are monsters and that most companies don’t do that anymore.
DIGITAL COPIES OF VITAL DOCS Before you go, leave digital copies of your passport, visas, and itineraries with people you trust. As you get new SIM numbers, be sure to let them know that too. Save those digital copies to your device (do not rely on WIFI – she’s a fickle friend). Be sure your device is password protected. You should also keep a paper copy of these docs with you and in a separate place from the real deal – there’s no point in losing your originals and your backups by losing one bag!
EXTRAS Those things you depend on – bring extra. As a contact wearer I cannot stress this enough. If you’re on a prescription – bring more than you need. If those pills are of the life-saving variety, then keep them in 2 bottles in 2 places. And for the love of all things medical, never put them in your checked bag!
MULTITOOL One tool to rule them all should travel with you. Your local hardware store should have something like this where you can cut, slice, screwdriver, uncork, and uncap as needed. Strong emphasis on those last two!
ISOLATION INSULATION Make the world go away with ear plugs and eye masks. We’re fans of silicone ear plugs which can be molded to fit your ear. Downloading white noise onto your device can also save the day when you’re tired in a place filled with new sounds.
DIGITAL TRAVEL SCALE Like mosquitoes, airlines will bleed your wallet dry however they can. Don’t give them that chance with overweight fees. A digital luggage scale will keep you underweight (and by that we mean pushing the limits of your baggage allowance) whenever you travel.
These next few may seem like luxury items, but hear us out, and see them as the lifesavers that they are.
HAMMOCK Our travel hammock is not a luxury option. Long layovers have been made almost enjoyable by stringing a hammock between two poles in a terminal. Sketchy rooms have been made livable by either sleeping in the hammock or using it to keep our stuff off the ground. We recommend a waterproof material. It’s not as breathable but it can be made into a tent / rain shelter / jacket-wrap-sarong thing as needed.
FOOT SLING We couldn’t be more different in the height department – one too tall for plane seats and the other too short. While being too tall continues to suck, a foot sling for the vertically challenged is a huge help. It may seem indulgent, but straining your back and not sleeping on a long-haul flight is an absolute garbage way to begin or end your journey.
AEROPRESS Perhaps you are touring the coffee fields of “insert wonderful coffee growing county of your choice here”, but most of the time, leaving home means leaving behind good coffee. That’s stupid. Pack an aeropress, a hand grinder, and your beans of choice. Don’t just enjoy a sunrise on a beach when you could enjoy a sunrise on a beach with good coffee!
Hopefully something here helps you travel well. We’d love to dive into the depths of your experience if you have some packing items you never leave home without.