Prepare – Packing & security
Should I prepare what to take?
Preparing for your trip is a very important part of the planning process so the short answer is yes.
When you actually think about it though I guess you don’t need to prepare too much until you know some key facts about your trip so it always helps if you Plan & Organise your trip first
Some of the key things you may want to consider before you prepare are as follows:
- Where am I going? –
If you are travelling the middle east you may need to cover up
What you doing when you get there? –
Can you hire or do you need to carry your own Snowboard?
When am I going? –
Do I need shorts in the winter or winter coat in the summer?
What is prohibited? –
Some countries have strict boarder controls, prohibit items and fine people hard
Once you have an idea about these factors and more you will have a better idea about the equipment you may need and then you can prepare.
Think about it
Is it worth carrying a winter jacket for the duration of your trip when you will only use it for the last week? A Jacket would take up a lot of space and be redundant for most of the trip!
How attached you are to the items you take? Can you leave it behind if you need to or can you sell it or throw it if you get something better?
What is the useful lifespan of the item or equipment? Are you going to get to use the mosquito repellent before it expires?
Do you need something you didn’t take?
Prepare for your trip, consider everything you may need then take out the items that are nice to have but not necessary, take all the necessary stuff and then if there is room add the less important items.
I took a mosquito net when I went travelling,
I really thought this was essential equipment as I was heading to Malaysia, Fiji & Thailand, it was compact, light weight and I carried that net all the way round the world.
I thought I was prepared but Did I really need it?
NO!?!? (But I was prepared…. or was I?!?)
I found that on the rare occasion I needed a mosquito net they were already supplied.
You know what… I still have that net unopened, in the original wrapper unused and well travelled, you don’t want to buy it do you….?!?!?!? I will give you a good price….
Think about and prepare for the weight of your bags
A heavy backpack can sure be a burden on your shoulders but that’s not all; a heavy backpack can also be a very expensive overhead especially when you have a weight restriction.
Imagine getting to the airport with a load of new stuff you were really happy to buy only to find you are overweight. You either have to ditch some stuff or pay the fees nobody wants to have to do that under pressure and in a short space of time. This wont be an issue for you if you prepare in advance.
Prepare a list to answer Important questions such as:
Do I need everything want to take?
Can I send some stuff home?
Anything I can sell or swap?
Can I give anything away that I don’t want? (Food, toiletries, books)
Can I wear something extra until I get on the plane?
Weight is costly; not only can it be a burden to your shoulders; the more you carry the bigger risk you take in paying excess baggage costs and this means you have less money for all cool stuff you can buy or want to do.
Is it really worth paying excess baggage costs to save a little effort and a couple of quid when you get there? Consider if it is worth taking spare batteries, all your toiletries, 3 jumpers etc when it could cost more in excess baggage?
You will be amazed at how many people leave shower gel etc along the way, that’s great for you when you get there as you didn’t have to buy or carry any and you will do the same when you leave.
This is one of those things you will learn along the way and giving away a bit of food when you leave a hostel or leaving your shower gel for someone before you leave a country helps spread the backpacker goodwill and you can feel great helping someone else out.. Isn’t it great to be prepared?!?!
Posting items home
Need to send some kit home sharpish; you can either go to the post office or organise a pick up with these guys:
Click for a quote
– Posting international to US
Preparing for & the best way to pack
Forget traditional packing methods, when you go travelling you need to be compact to make the best use of your space.
It really is very important to get the right kind of bag for the job one that can be adjusted for you individual needs as you could be carting that pack around for a long time.
I bought a backpack that does everything, your hand luggage can be zipped to the back making it easy to carry or can be attached to your front and clipped to the backpack giving you a better weight balance.
This also meant I was prepared, I could fish out important docs right in front of me hands free at the airport etc and more importantly keep an eye on it…
If you prepare everything you want to pack before you start packing this will help you out big time.
Get you list of items and tick them off as you pack them this way you will be able to make sure all the necessary items are packed and you know which of the nice to have items fit.
The best method I found for packing clothing items is to roll them.
You may not have the most crease free clothes when you get to your destination but it is a very practical method and you will be pleasantly surprised by how much more that bag of yours can hold.
Underwear, (much like when you are wearing it) can find its way into all sorts of nooks and crannies meaning you can push it into gaps other items may not reach leaving vital space for other important items like your Ipod charger……
It doesn’t hurt to be prepared and practice makes perfect; we have all done it where you set the alarm and some how it “didn’t go off” or “I turned it off thought I would have 5 mins then woke up an hour later” if you were prepared you can pick up your pack and off you go but if you need to pack at least you have practised! lol!
When you are travelling most people are in the same boat as you, its not really a holiday (although parts of it may be) but more a way of life so having 4 t-shirts isn’t really an issue and these can easily be replaced when you have had enough of them.
How can I make it secure?
Again this is something you should consider before you go (and while you continue your travels) make sure you are prepared.
I know I did, I thought why not get the slash resistant backpack cover and leads to hold bags together, padlocks etc. These were all very sensible but wasn’t long before I realised that some people don’t use anything at all.
This is the “classic” if you have got something worth nicking you are going to protect it and if you don’t, is it even worth looking in the first place if you are a thief.
At the end of the day it is all about finding a balance that you are comfortable with.
I still used padlocks all the time but it can be a pain when you are using a bag frequently (particularly hand luggage) so consider something small and manageable and try not to travel with too many valuables.
When I had multiple padlocks locks and someone to trust I found it was good to give a spare key to a friend just in case I managed to lose one of mine!
I also had a wire to attach bags together so if you are in a group you can leave bags together and the bag you didn’t notice go missing won’t go missing!
When you know what you need you will more than likely need to prepare yourself and buy some kit.
Why not take a look at my Equipment & Essentials page to check out some of my suggested essential items.
If you have a lot to buy it may be worth staggering your purchases so that you don’t have to pay for it all at once.