Logging into social media sites like Facebook is a daily activity for many people with a computer, tablet, or smartphone but I can never log in without first skimming new photos shared by my friends and family – especially from their recent vacations. It’s really inspirational to see the images of incredible landscapes and vibrant cultures. I add something new to my “bucket list” just about every day, and lately entries include things like “Experience India” and “Bring almonds for bribes in Panama”. I like to think that I’m the type of person author Anais Nin was describing when she wrote, “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
Don’t Let the Idea of a Long Trip Intimidate You
However, preparing for a vacation can be daunting, from the initial booking of travel and lodging accommodations, finding someone trustworthy to take care of the pets while I’m gone, ensuring bills will continue to be paid on time, and the list just goes on and on. Sometimes just preparing to depart can be a headache, and traveling is supposed to be fun! Knowing what to bring along on your trip can help reduce your stress level, as it puts you into the mindset of your destination and the potential excursions you’ll enjoy while traveling.
Your best bet is to carry as little as possible. After all, you’ll be hefting your baggage from one place to the next, sometimes through less-than-ideal conditions, so select something that travels easily. Rolling suitcases and school-sized backpacks are a great place to start! Use the wheeled luggage to carry garments and toiletries, and stow your laptop in your pack. Toss a quick change of clothes in your pack with your laptop and you’ll be prepared in case you find yourself in one location, and your luggage in an entirely different place altogether.
Of course, you could just consolidate everything into one big backpack, the style used by serious backpackers for cross-country treks. The problem with the giant backpack is it can be heavy, uncomfortable and unwieldy. It’s also more difficult to use planes and even some forms of public transportation with a hefty pack, so choose based on your particular needs and destination.
How Much to Pack of Which Items?
Knowing what to include in your bag is as important as the types of bags to carry. Don’t bother with tons of clothes, accessories or extraneous baubles. These will only weigh you down and create more burden than benefit. Besides, you’ll probably want to take advantage of local shopping around your traveling destination. When I’m traveling over an extended period of time, I keep my bags light by mailing souvenirs home whenever possible. Some stores will even ship them for me at rates that are cheaper than if I’d tried to ship them myself!
Thankfully, I discovered Jonathan and Carrie Kraft before embarking my first serious traveling adventure. Their experience over the past two years of traveling around the world has been both inspirational and informative. For the most part it may look as though these two are simply backpacking it from one place to the next; but the truth is they’ve got packing down to a science. When traveling, they carry the following:
- 7 – 12 shirts
- 2 pairs of convertible shorts/pants (the kind with the zip off legs)
- 1 sweater or sweatshirt
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 10 pairs each of socks and underwear
- At least 2 swimsuits
- A hat, a pair of gloves, and a heavy coat
- 2 pairs of shoes (It’s advised that one pair be hiking boots.)
- Basic toiletries and a small first aid kit
- Deodorant (Trust me; you don’t want to forget this one!)
- Power conversion necessities and other tools for connecting to the internet
Other things to consider:
- Carry a knife – for cooking, not protection.
- Water purification kits – being sidelined by an upset stomach can ruin a vacation.
- Cash – always have it on hand, but also divide it up in separate places. In case you’re separated from your wallet you still have your stash tucked under the insole of your shoe, for example.
- Translation dictionary – Don’t assume everyone speaks English world-wide. There are some pretty incredible free smartphone apps that help with this. Even if you’ve shut off service to your phone, apps that you previously downloaded that don’t require internet access still work.
When it comes to getting a good coat, go for something with a fleece lining which can be unzipped and removed, this way you’re essentially carrying three jackets in one. You may wish to carry more if you’re not planning on living a nomadic lifestyle like Jonathan and Carrie Kraft, but you can certainly gain valuable knowledge about preparing for extended travel without the burden of too much luggage. Of course security is a concern as well, especially if you’re bringing your laptop along as I assume you are, so make sure to take some time and research the various iPad security cable locks and other safety options from www.locksondemand.com available for your equipment.
Jason Munroe is a freelance author who is rarely without his iPad. After spending time researching information about tablet accessories, like the best iPad stands, sleeves, and other essentials, he decided to share his knowledge in hopes of saving time for other professionals who rely on the tablet to do their work. When Jason isn’t writing or researching for information to complete his latest assignments, you won’t find him anywhere near a WiFi connection. This tech-savvy writer prefers spending his free time enjoying the peace and quiet of nature with activities like hiking scenic trails.