bad horrible at packing in advance. Sometimes, I start throwing things into a pile in the corner about a week before departure, but that’s as in advance as I can manage. I always pack frantically until I am running out the door wondering what I left behind. However, there are always a few things that I never leave home without.
- Scarf – I can’t say it enough, ladies. Pack a scarf. Always. A scarf is like a dozen things in one – a scarf, a sarong, a head wrap, a mini blanket, a cover up for entering places of worship, an emergency towel, a mat to sit upon, as a belt, as a top, as a make shift bag, make shift sling, a toga (you never know, esp if you are staying at a hostel). how to make scarf into top/bag *The possibilities are endless and scarves are so lightweight that you can pack several without taking up valuable space. Go ahead, girl, McGuyver the hell outta that scarf.
- Mosquito Repellent Wipes – Carrying repellent in wipe form saves tons of space, doesn’t count toward your carry on liquid restrictions, wipes can be used more than once.* Remember to apply sunscreen first, then apply bug spray (otherwise you cover the repellent with sunscreen and decrease it’s efficacy).
- Tissues – Pack a few mini packs of tissue. It’s the best buck you will ever spend. You will thank me so much, so often. As a lady, you never know where you will have to go, and sometimes when in lands far away, there is no TP to be found. None. Also, you can be a hero to many when you are the keeper of the tissues.
- Disposable Cheapo Rain Poncho – Shield yourself or your backpack from rain, cover a gross seat, wrap dirty clothes in it, separate wet clothes from dry, spread out to make a wet barrier for sleeping bag, and so much more. They sometimes come 2 to a pack, so you can have an extra or be someone’s hero.
- Safety Pins– takes up no space, temporary fix for a wardrobe malfunction, can pop a blister, fasten keys to it and attach to clothing, etc.
- Nail Clippers – Use them to trim a hang nail or as make shift scissors.
- Reusable Water Bottle or Pouch – Because hydration, reducing waste, and being able to fill up and carry fluids anywhere are all important factors. Also you could use it as a flask (just sayin’).*Bonus points for pouch because it takes up less packing space.
- Mini Note Pad/Pen – You’ll keep up with a notepad easier than random bits of paper. You can write emergency numbers, addresses for post cards, accommodations info, train and bus schedules, etc. A notepad is essential- small, handy, and keeps all of your info together.
- Hair Ties – Because you can never have enough, someone else always needs one, you will lose them along the way, and there’s nothing worse than mop of sweaty wet hair stuck to your face and neck on a hot, muggy day.
- Plastic Grocery Bags – They take up no space and are invaluable. Use them to take away your groceries while traveling as most other countries charge for bags. Grocery bags can be used to wrap up your shoes/dirty clothes when packing, to carry toiletry items to hostel bathroom, to pack your lunch, to tie over your shoes in a rainstorm, to sit on, to wrap fragile souvenirs.