So, you’re planning a trip abroad. You’ve booked your flight and hotel and done plenty of research on all the local hotspots and sights to see. What’s next? Why, packing your bags, of course! So… what do you pack? Whether you’re embarking on a backpacking trip around Europe, camping out in a remote destination, or catching up on some sun and surf in a favorite resort, there are some staple items every lady should have on hand.
The first item is a must-have for any traveler seeking to embark on long treks of sight-seeing, nature watching and even a day of serious shopping- a comfortable pair of walking shoes! Nothing can ruin a scenic walk quite like getting blisters. Invest in a good pair of Nikes or Adidas shoes for your daily walking. If you’re looking for a versatile pair of shoes that doesn’t trade fashion for comfort, Aerosoles, Skechers or Pumas are great options; these brands offer a wide variety of flats, loafers, sandals and sneakers. The smart traveler brings at least 2 pairs of walking shoes on trips that involve sight-seeing and walking. Also, try to pack versatile shoes which go with most or all the outfits you are bringing.
You haven’t experienced real stress unless you’ve had to painstakingly zip up a large suitcase filled to the brim with clothing, shoes and other necessities (I’ve definitely been there). How can this be avoided? When packing clothing, make sure to pack outfits rather than singular items. Also, bring versatile items which you can mix-and-match with the other articles of clothing you are packing. This prevents over-packing and saves you a headache or two. You can even place your outfits in Ziploc bags, which can later double as a place to store wet or dirty clothing. What you pack depends on the climate of the region you are travelling to; for cold climates, be sure to pack thermal shirts, sweaters, thick pants, leggings, a coat and winter attire like scarves, boots, gloves, and a beanie or toque. For hot climates, be sure to bring an assortment of tank-tops, light pants and dresses (made of breathable fabrics), a bathing suit (if you need it) and a pair of flip-flops. Remember- making sure these items are versatile and can be matched together in multiple ways is essential for saving space. Oh- and don’t forget socks and underwear!
Packing toiletries can also be a pain, as airlines have an allowance of 100 ml for toiletries stored in hand luggage. Make sure to invest in travel-sized versions of shampoos, cleansers, toothpaste, etc. Another option is to simply invest in a travel container set and fill each container with the toiletries you intend to bring (a more budget-friendly option, in the long run). Also, storing these items in a clear, zippered case will make whipping them out at the security check gate much easier. Even if your trip doesn’t involve plane travel, having travel-sized items can save a lot of space in your luggage. Speaking of toiletries, make sure to bring a couple packs of makeup-removing/cleansing face wipes; when you’re on the go, you’ll be thankful to have a pack on hand, as they make face cleansing easy and fast. You know exactly what I mean if you’ve ever had to wash your face on a plane, at the airport or in a car during a road trip (hint: it’s super annoying). Some great brands are Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Wipes and Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes (both are on the cheaper end without skimping on quality). Some staple travel toiletries include facewash, body wash, moisturizer, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, tweezers, razor(s), and any makeup you normally use.
Another must-have for any trip is a First Aid kit. And no, I am not talking about one of those bulky containers stuffed full of Band-Aids and rubbing alcohol. There are lots of small, travel-friendly kits you can purchase at your local drugstore. Make sure to have Band-Aids (various sizes), antiseptic wipes, aspirin, compress dressings, gauze pads, adhesive tape, tweezers and scissors in your pack. Although you may not be venturing out into the Amazon, anything can happen, and you’ll want to be prepared in case of injury. Speaking of health and sanitation, make sure to bring either disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer; you never know whether you’ll have the luxury of a bathroom, and disinfecting your hands is essential while travelling.
We all know that navigating unknown territory is difficult, even for those with an uncanny sense of direction. Make sure to pack a paper map of the city or area you are travelling to or purchase a map at a local shop. One of the best travel tools is an offline travel map app. You may, at some point, have limited internet connectivity on your travels; even if you have access, you won’t want to use up all your data unless you want to become the proud owner of a massive cellphone bill once you are home. Maps.Me is a great option for an android or iPhone; you can navigate where you want to go based on an offline map, as well as see points-of-interest like restaurants and museums. Also, it’s free to download! There are a lot of great offline map applications, so be sure to do your research; an offline map has the potential to be your most helpful travel companion. You can also download translator apps, which will likely come in handy.
Speaking of navigating unknown territory, make sure to invest in travel insurance. There are several ways to obtain insurance: through your credit card at your local bank, through a travel insurance agency, or directly through the airline you are travelling with. It can sometimes be expensive to purchase insurance, but it’s worth it; if you suffer a medical emergency while you are abroad, you can get at least part of your medical care costs covered. Travel insurance can also reimburse you in case of such misfortunes as trip cancellations and loss of baggage- just make sure you know what’s being covered. Do make sure to pack your travel insurance documents, as you may need to call the travel insurance hotline or verify your coverage at some point during your travels.
Well, you’re set to go. You’ve just packed all the essentials: clothes, toiletries, maps, your travel insurance papers, a First Aid kit in case of emergencies and – most importantly, of course – shoes! You’ve officially become a tourist extraordinaire! Oh… and don’t forget your passport!