Location: An elephant retreat in Chaing Mai, Thailand
Twitter has helped me connect to other bloggers on their own journey. I have been reading Hannah's blogs for a while now so was pleased when she said she'd like to share some of her own tips with you. So, if you're heading off on a big adventure or a quick weekend get away, here are Hannah's Travel Tips to help you pack what you really need.
I've been fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time travelling the world, whether it was backpacking around SE Asia, inter railing over Europe or getting away for a weekend city break. Travelling is fun no matter where you go but sometimes it can be a little stressful, especially when it comes to packing. Over the years I've picked up a lots of little tips on how to get the best out of your luggage so I'm here to share them with you today.
- Give yourself time to pack - One of the biggest mistakes I've made in the past is leaving packing to the last minute. This is fine when you're going away for the weekend but if you're headed somewhere for a few months you really do need to give yourself time to think about what you need to take. Before a big trip I start packing a week or 2 in advance, I'll start by just throwing things I think I'll need into my bag but as leaving day looms closers it's best to spend one full evening sorting out your clothes as those are the items that take up the most room.
- Edit, edit, edit and then edit some more - The first time you pack you will inevitably pack way too much stuff which is why it's important to give yourself time to edit. As much as we'd all like to look fabulous when trekking through a jungle this really isn't the time to be showing off your finest garments so put back the 10 dresses you had packed and bring along 2 that you can wear all day, every day instead. I know it's hard but you have to be brutal. When I was in SE Asia for 3 month I took 1 pair of trousers and leggings, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, a few t shirts, 1 jumper, a waterproof jacket, 1 set of trainers and sandals, minimal underwear, a few accessories, 1 hand bag, a small wash bag / first aid kit and a travel towel. This doesn't sound like a lot but most hostels provide washing facilities which are usually free to use yourself or cost very little if you get someone else to wash your clothes.
- Don't over pack, you will need the extra space - One of the best things about travelling are the cheap markets and you will no doubt want to buy yourself souvenirs and maybe a few gifts for friends and family as well. Therefore it's really important to have space in your rucksack so you have somewhere to store the stuff you buy. You can always post stuff home but trust me this is more hassle than it's worth so best to leave a trip to the post office as a last resort. When I was in Thailand I bought an enormous bed quilt. Fortunately I just had enough space in my ruck sack (due to my minimal packing) as it would have cost a fortune to send home. My ruck sack was completely full for the rest of the trip but I knew I wouldn't buy anything big so it was fine.
- Separate your stuff into little bags - I kept my clothes separated into different bags inside my ruck sack. 1 bag for underwear, 1 bag for t shirts and shorts, 1 bag for dresses, 1 bag for chargers/electronics etc. This made packing and unpacking my rucksack really easy as I only had to worry about a few small bags rather than lots of individual clothes. I kept the small bag with my pjs and wash stuff at the top as it was something I had to reach for everyday. Little things like this don't sound like a big deal but they really do make the whole packing process easier and faster. If you arrive at a hostel late one night the last thing you want to do is spend 20mins rooting through your bag looking for a toothbrush!
- Embrace second hand book shops - This won't apply to everyone, especially e-book users but I love reading as many books as possible when I'm travelling however they take up an awful lot of space. To stop myself getting loaded down with paper I would buy and sell my books in second hand books shops. Not only are these places cheap but they're fun to spend a bit of time in and you can often pick up great travel advice from the people who work there. In SE Asia there are second hand book shops everywhere and the general quality and choice is excellent. After a visit to a few you will start to see a trend in what books they sell. Almost every shop I went into had copies of The Beach, Life of Pi and The Alchemist which are all great travelling reads.
I hope these packing tips have come in useful but remember there's a lot more important things to worry about when you're travelling. Enjoy yourself and remember that if you're carrying a ruck sack for 3 months it makes sense to keep it as light as possible!
Remember to check out Hannah's blog, which also has links to her travel and burger blog.