I think we’d all like to be our own kind of expert packer. Whether we’re light packers or even high maintenance travellers, if you give us ample time to prepare our own luggage, we’re the highest scorers in the league…Or are we? It’s not until we’re on our merry way into our vacation when everyone’s common denominator rears its ugly head, which is — a list of things we wish we packed before the trip!
These are the same things we contemplate to pack but end up “thinking better of it”. Or the items we never at all thought we would need on a trip. We ultimately end up regretful or even annoyed, especially when we find ourselves buying what we didn’t pack in a foreign country. Avoid this scenario! Here’s a rundown of the things you shouldn’t second guess about packing.
1. A pack of band-aid
Being a tourist involves a lot of walking and exposure to different environments. You never know if you’re going to bump into rough concrete, trip over, or if you’ll get blisters because of your shoes. I for one am prone to blisters and rashes above my heel, so not packing band-aid in my travels would most likely mean walking in pain, then buying band-aid in the nearest drugstore or asking a travel buddy if they brought some with them.
2. Practical eco bags
Planning to go shopping in the local night market or a big-time mall? You’ll need a big eco bag to place and carry all your purchases. It’s no good if you’re going to bring several plastic or paper bags while you’re hopping from one store to another. That’s going to be painful for your arms, but more importantly, single-use plastic is harmful to the environment. Do your part in saving mother earth and always bring an eco bag whether you’re at the grocery or abroad.
3. A bunch of candy
Everyone needs some sugar on a long trip. It’s scientifically proven that candy restores willpower, which can help shoo away the dizziness, thanks to that shot of sugar. There’s even a study that chewing gum can soothe stress. So buy your favourite pack of gum from your local supermarket and underestimate the power of candy no more. It may well be a life-saver for travellers prone to anxiety and fatigue!
4. Your neck pillow
Trust me, once you’ve experienced the wonders of a neck pillow, you’re always going to regret not bringing one with you on a bus, train, or aeroplane. I make it a habit to bring my neck pillow whenever I’m travelling overseas. Once, I did a foolish thing and intentionally left it at home because I thought I could survive a four-hour flight without it. Well, I did survive the flight, literally. But I swear something inside me died when I saw other passengers napping peacefully with all their lovely pillows tucked around their necks. That could have been me. That could have been me…
5. Your usual skincare products
Let this be a wakeup call to backpackers and high maintenance travellers alike: Just because you’re on a vacation doesn’t mean your acne will be. It doesn’t matter how short your trip is. Your skin reacts to different environments and it’s up to you to give it the TLC it needs, whether that’s a facial wash, moisturiser, or acne ointment. Pack your skincare products with you, in fact, pack a small face towel too! Using the hotel’s hair or body towel to wipe your face might just transfer bacteria.
6. Functional and stylish sunglasses
I’m guilty of always taking my sunglasses for granted. The irony of it is that I have a collection of them at home, but I never use them enough when I travel. I can never tell whether the sun’s going to blind me on that day or not, mostly because I’m a tourist who’s just getting to know the area. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar. But I’ve also realised that leaving your sunglasses at home is a more foolish decision than not bringing them with you. After all, they don’t take up much space in your bag, so it wouldn’t hurt to pack them.
7. Your comfy slippers
Slippers are almost never packed because hotels have them anyway. But the thing is, hotel slippers are never the right size and I’m sure you’d like to wear slippers that fit you if you’re just going out briefly. And don’t get your hopes up with Airbnbs. You’re either going to face the same dilemma as with hotels, or they’re not going to offer you slippers at all.
8. Universal power adapter
When you’re travelling abroad, be mindful of the electrical outlet in your destination because it might not be the same as the one in the Philippines. That’s why there’s such a thing as a universal power adapter which you can change any time into the connector that you need to plug your device. You can buy a universal adapter in stores like True Value and SM Appliance.
9. A trusty power bank
If you’re the type to regularly go on social media and use Google maps while travelling, no doubt your battery will be drained before your day has ended. Packing a power bank in your day bag can literally save you from getting lost and scared in a foreign place!
10. A simple face mask
When you’re headed somewhere dusty or cold, face masks really help shield you from the harsh blow of the wind. I’ve hiked up a mountain wearing a face mask to protect my nose and mouth from inhaling dust, and I’ve seen locals and tourists in winter destinations wear face masks to keep their face from freezing. On top of that, you can use it while commuting to cover your nose from unwanted odours. If that’s not enough reason to pack a face mask, I don’t know what is!
I hope I’ve justified why you should pack at least half of these things. It’s pretty clear that packing these essentials will save you the effort, save you from regret, and save your budget! No more wishing you packed this or that, just do it, and thank me later.