So my husband and I are planning to drive around the entire world in our 4 wheel drive van. We plan to live, eat, sleep and travel in our vehicle to save costs and keep the adventure alive over 2 years. A lot of people are curious though, as to how we plan to live in a space of 5 square metres and wonder at what we need to pack and install in the car to make the trip comfortable.
That got me thinking about any adventure or travel trip. How do you know what and how much to pack and what are the things you just can’t forget?
I thought I’d share with you all some wisdom in regards to this so that your next adventure is as easy-going and hassle free as possible. If you’d like to find out more about how we’ve prepared for our own trip, check out our preparations page.
1. Security and keeping details safe
Scan or take photos of your passport, credit cards and tickets (if not the e type) and store them in an easily accesible place (in an email for example). You can also store the details of your emergency ‘lost card’ telephone numbers in your web based email account so you know who to contact if your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen. This way, even if you lose everything, you have immediate access your all important information. You can even email the details page of your passport to the embassy or consulate when applying for a new one.
Also consider writing your home and destination address (and mobile number if you have one) on a self-adhesive sticky label to stick INSIDE your luggage in a visible place. If your luggage is lost and the baggage label has come off, at least the airline can still figure out whose luggage it is.
2. Split up your valuables
Split up your bank cards, cash, travellers’ cheques and credit cards as much as possible in different pockets, bags or wallets when packing and travelling. In case you do get robbed, at least you won’t be strapped for cash (unless you have all your bags AND your wallet stolen at once of course!).
3. Small bottles are priceless
Getting a few 100ml plastic bottles is a must for flying adventures (especially if you carry toiletries in carry-on luggage or aren’t checking any bags in at all). You can repack shampoo or lotions so that you don’t have to always carry a big bottle with you, plus security won’t stop you for having liquids over 100ml in your carry-on luggage.
4. Backpacks don’t have to be a burden
When you are packing things into a backpack, place the lighter items at the bottom and the heavier ones on top. Your bag will feel lighter this way as the pack rests on your lower back. It is also smart to place the things you use the most on top. Dirty clothes are perfect to pack at the bottom of a backpack.
5. The many uses of plastic bags
It is always handy to have a few plastic bags around certain items, especially toiletries. Not only does it counter any leaking, the bags can also come in useful to keep dirty clothes in, as rubbish bags or even as a makeshift umbrella. Ziplock or other airtight plastic bags are even better!
6. Keep the clothes to a minimum
Pack only what you know you will use and if you are travelling for more than two weeks, plan to wash on the road. You can cut back on the number of clothing items by packing multi-purpose clothing, for example items that can both be worn during the day and as sleepwear, or a pair of pants that can be zipped off to form shorts etc.
7. Split up clothes when travelling with others
When you are flying somewhere and especially if you have a few stopovers, divide the clothes between different suitcases/backpacks/bags etc. If one persons luggage doesn’t arrive at the destination, they’ll still have clean clothes available. Airlines generally don’t compensate lost luggage for the first 24-48 hours so this will save you money if it happens to you. If you can’t be bothered splitting all the clothes up, at least have a pair of clean undies and a toothbrush in your carry on luggage.
8. Pack a separate beach bag
When packing to head to the beach consider pre-packing whatever you might need at the beach into a beachbag inside your backpack or suitcase. Especially if travelling with kids, this will prove a timesaver!
9. Suitcase lovers
For those using suitcases without a divider. A piece of cardboard makes an excellent divider and helps keep your clothes organized and neat as you are able to lay them out flat on the cardboard. It also makes airport inspections a lot less of a hassle as you can lift out your divider with clothes on top easily.
10. Torches and electronics
When packing a flashlight or torch (or any other item with batteries for that matter), turn the batteries around so that if the item is accidentally turned on, you won’t empty the batteries. Don’t forget to turn the batteries back around when you unpack!
11. A nappy bag can be a perfect disguise
If you are travelling with babies, then your nappy bag is an excellent place to hide your valuables. This most likely will not be the first thing to be stolen. It’s also great to use as a waste bag (even when not travelling with a child!), especially at places that do not allow you to flush toilet paper.
12. Packing those dirty shoes
If you want to make sure everything else in your bags stays clean and odor free, place your shoes in re-purposed plastic shower caps!
13. What to take as carry on luggage
Keep any medication and important papers in your carry-on bag. On long flights with multiple stopovers (especially if flying via London, LA or other major airports), packing a fresh change of clothes is a good idea as bags tend to get delayed or lost on long haul, multiple stop flights. You don’t want to end up stuck without medication, clothes or your important papers even if it is just for a few days.
14. The wonder of the “roll technique”
Somehow it seems that bags will hold more if the clothes are rolled rather than folded. If you roll in tissue paper, the clothes will also get less wrinkled too!
15. Travelling to warmer destinations?
If you appreciate cold drinks while on your holiday, what better thing to do than to use a six-pack cooler as a toiletry bag? Wait… what? Let me explain. Once you arrive at your destination and unload your toiletries your ‘toiletry bag’ guarantees cheap cold drinks on the beach, no matter how remote.