How to switch off on holidays
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Packing for a two week holiday can be a complicated experience, but what do you pack if you’re going overseas for a few months? How do you prepare for the unexpected without becoming a pack horse?
Having recently turned from travelling for four months through South America, TID’s Marketing Manager Brona Pham explains how to pack for multiple countries, multiple climates and multiple activities.
Packing cubes will make packing up and moving around a breeze and keep your belongings organised.
Take a backpack
Avoid top loaders and get one that zips most of the way round and opens like a suitcase.
… and a daypack
Invest in a good daypack with a waterproof cover and different compartments so you can easily access what you need.
Notebook and pen
A notebook and pen is always useful for writing down addresses for taxi drivers when there is a language barrier.
Bring enough clothes for 2 weeks and do laundry on the road. Laundromats are always available, whether in your accommodation or in town, and you can hand wash lighter clothes as you go.
Zip-off pants may not be the most stylish item but they are super practical, especially in changeable weather and for hiking or trekking.
For cold climates, bring layers of warm, thermal tops. They are lighter and easier to pack than bulky jumpers.
If you plan on hiking or trekking, good quality, waterproof hiking or walking shoes are a must. Have a pair of thongs for beach destinations and shared showers in hostels.
First aid kid
Do not leave home without a basic first aid kit. Consider simple things you might need, such as band aids, safety pins, antiseptic wipes and ibuprofen. If you’re travelling in more rural areas, stock up on headache tablets, diarrhoea pills, malaria medication and rehydration supplements. You can buy supplies as you go but communicating with a pharmacist in another language can be challenging.
Heading to a tropical climate? Buy your insect repellent in Australia. We thought we’d get much stronger mosquito repellent closer to the Amazon, but the locals don’t need repellent so our options were limited to low DEET versions which were not as good as our Australian product which had run out. The last thing you want to catch is dengue fever.
Bring as much Australian sunscreen as you can. Beware buying high factor sunscreens in other countries especially UV 50+ as they are often not water resistant for very long. Most Aussie sunscreens are water resistant for 4 hours so you’re protected for longer.
If you forget something, don’t fret, you can buy it when you get there. Toiletries can be heavy so bring small quantities and buy as you go.
A rain poncho is very useful, particularly for areas where you might be travelling during the wet season. They can be bulky to carry though so buy one when you get there.
Hiking, camping, skiing or snowboarding? Consider renting specific items you need for these activities instead of carrying them around with you.
If you are going to be in high altitude, you will need to wrap up at night time. Save space by buying your cosy hats, gloves and cardigans when you get there (and for a snip of the price you’d pay in Australia).
Powerless battery charger
A powerless battery charger that enables you to charge your phone, camera or GoPro on the road is very useful especially if you are hiking, camping or in areas with no electricity.
Some of our Australian devices worked in South America without an adaptor but it varied depending on where we were staying. Bring a compact universal adaptor to ensure you’re always connected and a double-adapter so you can plug in multiple devices.
A torch or headlamp will be useful for hiking or camping in remote areas. A keyring torch can also prove helpful and doesn’t take up much space.
We brought our smart phones and left tablets and laptops behind to reduce weight. It worked for us but booking things like flights can be tricky on phones and uploading photos required using a shared laptop in a hostel or an internet café.
Money belts are a great option for storing credit cards and cash when you are on the go. Remember the golden rule of travel though and never have all your valuables in one spot.
Bring copies of your passport and any visas, and keep in a safe place. You can also download Tripwise so you can keep your policy details on your phone. Share your itinerary with friends and family so they know where you are and register online with DFAT at www.smartraveller.gov.au to facilitate contacting you in an emergency.