Travel can be wonderful; even though the annoyances of airline security checks, there’s still something magical about finding your seat and settling in for a long-haul flight.
If you’re planning an overseas trip, whether it’s long or short, we have some tips that can help you travel more comfortably with fewer worries. These tips work mostly for travel to cities with temperate or cooler climates but the basic principles are the same for any climate.
Keep your documents close
It’s good practice to take copies of your passport, birth certificate and the now-essential vaccination records. Go old school and keep them in a money belt if you’re unsure about hotel or hostel security. However, keep copies in your digital wallet as well, or photograph them and send the photos to your email address.
Be comfortable wherever you travel
Do you love to be able to make a cup of tea when you want? Or have one night ‘at home’ where you don’t go out to eat? Do you like unpacking as soon as you get to your room?
If you plan on a longer stay in a location before moving to your next, there are three things you might find will make your life more enjoyable.
- A Birko that works with your adapter: You can heat water or food in your Birko ‒ perfect when all you want is soup and a roll for dinner or a quick cuppa in the morning.
- Plastic shower curtain rings: great for keeping clothing and other stuff off the floor when you don’t have enough hangers (and you’ll rarely have enough). They’re lightweight and easy to pack.
- A soft pillow: Hotel pillows are often too high and firm. If you love to read in bed, pack a small soft neck pillow.
None of these add too much weight and will enable you to feel more at home wherever you are.
Pack light and curate your travel clothing
Don’t be like our friends and pack 28 outfits for 28 days of travel. Have you heard of the capsule wardrobe? Your capsule wardrobe for outerwear means everything you take with you will mix and match with pretty much everything else. For a cooler climate, a sample capsule wardrobe that works equally well for both women and men is:
- 1 pair of dark blue jeans or pants
- 1 pair of black pants you can dress up for evening wear
- 1 set of work-out gear (if that’s what you do)
- 1 blue shirt
- 1 white shirt
- 2 t-shirts in neutral tones (black, white, olive green or tan). These can be long- or short-sleeved, depending on how cold you expect temperatures to be.
- 1 light sweater (wool or cashmere) in neutral tones
- 2 sets of underwear
- 1 jacket in a neutral like camel or black
- Trenchcoat or warm coat in a neutral tone
- Swimmers (as you never know where you might have an opportunity to swim)
- 1 pair of sneakers in black or white for walking
- 1 pair of boots or loafers in a neutral tone
For women, if you pack a dress or a skirt, take one in neutral tones so you can wear it with any top and you can dress it up for evening wear.
To keep everything easier to pack and unpack, use compression packing cubes you can buy easily from Kmart, Aldi (when they’re centre-aisle specials) or online from Amazon Australia.
Tops in one, bottoms in another, underwear in another. Pack toiletries into a small sealable plastic bag and don’t bother with a proper toiletries bag as it adds to the weight.
You’ll wear one set of clothing and a pair of shoes on the aircraft, keeping things simple.
Tip: Wear a watch. Pulling out your phone every time you want to check the time gets tedious.
What to take in your carry-on bag
When you travel with both carry-on and a checked bag, regard the checked bag as the decoy bag, especially in these turbulent times.
Having been caught out a few times with lost luggage, this writer now packs enough mix-and-match clothing plus essentials in a carry-on bag to last a whole trip if necessary. Apart from the clothing worn on the aircraft, basic carry-on last time was:
- 1 skirt that was equally appropriate for wandering the streets or in a restaurant
- 1 long-sleeved shirt
- 1 sleeveless top
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 extra pair of long lightweight pants
- 1 swimsuit
- Basic toiletries like body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant.
- Important documents
- Basic skin care products
- 1 sarong (to use as a skirt, a towel, a pillow or a sheet)
- 2 protein bars for a late-night arrival
- Laptop and iPad
- Cords and adapter
- 8 plastic shower curtain rings
- 2 100ml plastic flip-top bottles. (Most overseas airlines confiscate bottles of water but they rarely remove these tiny bottles of water. It’s just enough to stay hydrated until you’re on the plane and can get some water.)
- 1 100ml plastic spray bottle to fill with water and get out creases.
- 10 tea bags in a small sealed plastic bag
With the clothing and shoes worn on the aircraft, the above is enough to see you through four days or four weeks of travel (although you’ll be tempted to supplement your wardrobe and you might need to replenish toiletries).
Tip: Pack an ultra-light down jacket or pashmina to wear on the aircraft as it’s always colder than you expect.
Hot tip: If you’re travelling to an event, pack the clothes and footwear in your carry-on. It’s easy to buy basic items at your destination if you need to but it's trickier to buy evening wear.
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