Never been overseas before? Then this is for you! Despite how much I hate packing and put it off until the last minute, packing is now an automatic process for me having travelled overseas regularly. Here are the 20 things to pack as a first time traveller:
- Passport – most important! You can’t go overseas without it!
- Visa – do you need one? Check well in advance as some visas need to be organised BEFORE travel
- Tickets – save paper and use electronic tickets where possible but if you absolutely need printed copies, don’t forget them!
- Medication – paracetamol, GastroStop (for upset tummies), personal prescriptions (including a letter from your Doctor if needed) and medication required for the destination e.g. malaria tablets
- Local currency – you can get this from your bank or at the airport. The best exchange rates are often at your bank or at the destination itself away from the airport. Get enough local currency for the first 24 hours of your trip or more if you’re going remote
- Two forms of payment – don’t rely on one bank card, what if it gets blocked or stolen? Also don’t forget to let your bank know you’re travelling overseas so they know it’s you using the card and not a fraudster
- Security money belt – wear around your waist with enough cash for the day. Leave your handbag at home, they are easy targets! Money belts also often come with RFID blocking wallets to store your bank cards in
- World travel adaptor – different countries have different power sockets so you’ll need a travel adaptor for your destination or world adaptor for more. Check the countries you’re visiting are included
- Power / battery pack – to recharge your phone especially if you plan to use it to take photos!
- Smart phone apps – before your trip, get yourself a currency converter app on your smart phone and update it when you have wi-fi connection for the latest exchange rates. Another great app is Triposo to download maps and things to do for your destination before your trip to refer to offline
- Unlocked phone – if you plan on getting a local sim make sure your phone is unlocked first by calling your service provider before your trip or unfortunately it will not work
- Lock – for your bag especially if you’re sharing a room with others
- Reusable water bottle – ideally smaller and an easy to carry size to refill from a large water bottle purchased locally
- Backpack – for day adventures
- Culturally sensitive clothing – where are you travelling to? Will you be visiting any temples? Churches? What religion do most locals believe in and worship? Be culturally sensitive and make sure you have at least one set of clothes that covers your shoulders and knees, especially if you’re female. I find that packing a scarf always comes in handy
- Comfortable walking shoes – self explanatory
- Sun protection – sunscreen, hat, sunnies and even long-sleeved and/or collared shirts if you’re going to be in high temperatures and UV
- Umbrella and/or waterproof jacket – the weather can be unpredictable!
- Waterproof phone cover – especially if you have water activities like kayaking on your itinerary. Or a rainy weather forecast. A ziplock bag will help keep your phone dry but it is hard to operate in the bag… I’m speaking from experience!
- Earplugs – depending on who you’re travelling with, these may not be required. In fact, I would recommend not sleeping with earplugs if you’re travelling alone for safety reasons. If however you’re travelling with your snoring partner in safe and secure accommodation, you’ll thank me for the reminder!
A further tip on things to pack if you’re looking for an alternative to using your bank cards overseas, is to get a travel money card. You can get these at the airport or some post offices. They work just like bank cards, are pre-loaded upon purchase and save you fees on ATM withdrawals and transactions. Make sure you have a form of identification that includes your address for when you get your travel money card from the airport or post office.
While there are probably lots more items you need to consider packing for each of your individual adventures to different destinations around the world, this list is a good starting point. If you’re travelling with a more experienced traveller, you could probably relax a little and borrow what you need from them if you happen to forget something. If however you’re travelling on your own, do your research and make sure you pack what you need to be safe, comfortable, healthy, happy and drama free on what will hopefully be one of the best experiences of your life!