I was having this itch, for years now already. Some days it faded away a bit, on others it was stronger then ever. It was necessary that i scratched. Now, before you start to think I’m telling you about some gross disease, don’t worry. Of course I’m talking about the travelbug! But this bug wasn’t going away with a citytrip or a 2 week holiday. This was a pretty bad one. So, I took the plunge, quit my job and booked a plane ticket to Asia. I figured it would take about 7 months of scratching before I returned back to normal. But, saying goodbye to my job and pay for the ticket was the easy part. How do you prepare for such a long trip? I wont bother telling you about the basics like arranging your visa and getting you shots (yes, get them, all!). But here are some (packing)tips and tricks that will make your backpacker life somewhat easier (don’t worry, you can use them on shorter trips as well).
Leave half of your luggage at home
I’ve learned the hard way, carrying a heavy backpack or suitcase is not fun at all. Many people told me to leave half of the stuff I wanted to take at home. I did not listen. The result is a bag full of clothes I probably won’t wear, toiletries that weigh me down and other small somethings that were thrown in five seconds before leaving. There is much more fun in buying new clothes during your travels and having space for awesome souvenirs. And be honest, do you really need that nail polish remover?
In the process of making my bag lighter, I discovered something awesome. Shampoo and conditioner bars from Lush. They look like soap bars and weigh hardly anything. Major plus: the shampoo and conditioner are heavily concentrated so you don’t need much to lather up. Meaning, you can use these babies for a long time. Also very convenient when you are traveling with just a carry-on bag. Best thing, they smell amazing! Buy them here!
Some say they are lifesavers. I tend to agree. About 50 ziplock bags cost about one euro at your local supermarket, but their value while traveling is priceless. It’s an easy way to categorize and keep you stuff together (remember those little somethings). Also, they protect your bag from (potentially) leaking liquids.
We all know what our suitcases or backpacks look like after two days (or even less): a total mess! Clothes everywhere, you never seem to be able to locate that one awesome pair of shorts. Fear no more, the solution is here! Bag-in-bags give you the opportunity to organize your stuff and keep it neat for the remainder of your travels. There are several shops where you can buy these (some even in nice, bright colors), I got mine at Decathlon for a very backpacker-friendly price. Since i didn’t listen to the advise to dump half of my belongings, these bags help me stay sane.
Skin so Soft
Nobody likes mosquito’s, period. But when you are traveling to a tropical country you have to be extra aware to not get bitten by those little buggers. Tropical diseases like Dengue, Malaria and Zika are easily transferred by mosquito’s. Many people use insect repellent with DEET in it, but here is the thing, DEET is really bad for your skin. It doesn’t really smell good either. I discovered a bottle of Skin so Soft from Avon. A dry oil spray that hydrates your skin, and even better, keeps the mosquito’s away! That’s what I call a win-win situation (not for the mozzies).
Proof Of Onward Travel
Last but not least: if you are going on a multiple country trip, make sure to check if your airline requires Proof Of Onward Travel. Say what? Yes, proof that you are indeed leaving the country you are flying into. Otherwise, you risk being denied access to your flight. This is not a commonly known requirement, which is very odd if you ask me. Not all airlines ask for it, but ours (Qatar airways) sure did. Luckily I booked a cheap train ticket from Vietnam to Cambodia to proof that I was indeed ‘ traveling onward’. Another solution is ‘renting’ a ticket. You can do this at FlyOnward and it costs about 10 to 17 euro. www.flyonward.com
Now you are ready to conquer that itch yourself, in a comfortable way. If you have any essential tips, do tell!
Love from Vietnam,
*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month! Jill is currently traveling through south East Asia.
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