It’s a truth universally acknowledged that unless you are going to be in the middle of nowhere you should pack half as much and just bring more cash. Most things can be found in any part of the world, and buying locally helps you blend in.
That said; there are things you don’t want to waste time procuring. If you have unusually large or small feet, specific taste in swimwear or any special requirements, don’t leave it up to chance.
For city breaks, wear what you would normally wear, plus or minus a few layers depending on the weather. As Londoners, we’ve all seen the bumbag-clad, puffer jacket sporting tourists who have arrived to the capital in their ‘on holiday’ outfit. We return the favour by arriving to warmer climes in Bermuda shorts, wrap-around sunglasses and money belts swinging from our shoulders. Nice.
If you’re heading to the countryside, miles away from the nearest Starbucks, you’ll need to do your homework. Water purifiers, mosquito nets, decent boots, base layers and a good coat are probably best bought at home. But over the counter medicines, toiletries, camping kit, and any other extras may be cheaper in your host country. Some of these things can make nice souvenirs too.
Electrical equipment is up to you. It tends to be the most expensive thing in your bag, but long bus trips are hell without music and it would be a shame to leave your camera at home. If you don’t want to carry your laptop, bring your Smartphone to access wifi instead. There are always book exchanges if you don’t want to bring your Kindle.
It’s nice to bring some home comforts. Whether it’s some makeup, some cooking spices, your favourite snack or something nice to wear in the evening, you’ll feel better for it. People you meet will love seeing photos from home and trying some Great British food too.
There are things I always pack no matter where I go. Flip flops for dirty showers, a tote bag and extra plastic bags, locks for luggage and doors, hand sanitiser, sunglasses, a watch, a sarong for religious countries as well as a general cover-up, and warm socks. But whatever I bring I always leave some room in my bag. I always buy something and turning up looking like a snail just isn’t a good look.
Next time: ‘Poor Niagra’ – The Magnificent Iguazu Falls…