Travelling light

Travel packing tips

Packing your bags for an overseas holiday? Here are a couple of tips to assist you on your next overseas adventure…

Use technology

Technology makes our lives a lot easier.  As I will be traveling to Indonesia soon, I have set my cell phone on a dual display for my home city and my destination city for the last two weeks before my departure. Now I can see what time it is in Bali and at home and what the weather is like in my destination city. This will assist me to decide what to wear and what to pack.

With Google, Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Wikitravel and other such sites at our disposal, you can plan long beforehand what your every move on your trip can be. Accommodation can be booked in the general vicinity of the places you want to see. You can plan circular routes, determine your mode of transport beforehand and book (if necessary) transport in advance. People’s comments and advice on Wikitravel and TripAdvisor should be heeded and is normally good, practical first-hand advice.

Clothing

Pack to mix and match, the same pants with a fresh shirt can be worn to dinner with a change of shoes to make things more formal if necessary. Now is not the time to try out new outfits or shoes. If you are traveling to enjoy the new world you are exploring, it is done best in your favourite pants, shoes and t-shirts. Be comfortable, be yourself, be a tourist!

Safety first

Be smart about your safety. Take an old cell phone, keep your cards and cash separate and in separate places. In crowded areas, wear your backpack on your chest. It is wise to make copies of your passport and to keep it in separate places in waterproof pockets. Carry the copies with you and leave the passport in the safe at your place of lodging. Be careful with your belongings and wary of pickpockets and taxi drivers who see tourists as a way of making a quick buck. Tell the folks at home exactly where you will be staying on your trip, in case of tsunamis, landslides or other calamities.

Stay in contact

In many countries, wi-fi is free and freely available, even on buses. If you have promised people at home that you will stay in contact, you can do so easily via WhatsApp without even buying local airtime or sim cards. Remember your promise and post plenty of pictures on Facebook and Instagram for the people at home who are wishing they were there with you.

Packing

Rolling up your clothes always saves space. Pack those items that are crease resistant. Don’t pack your suitcase to the brim as you will inevitably buy stuff and have a messier bag on your return. Leave space for gifts and shopping…

Check the requirements of the airline and the airports and stick to their rules. Cans and Leatherman tools will get confiscated and making comments about guns, dangerous objects or terrorism can get you arrested. Don’t spoil your trip with unpleasantries at the airport.

Follow the rules

Make sure your passport, visa and other documents are in place. Although you are a tourist and are forgiven many things for the sake of hospitality, mind your manners. Consider the religion, culture and dignity of the country you are visiting. Respect their habits, their environment and their heritage. Take only photographs and buy items sold legally, and leave only footprints.

Don’t be That Guy

On the plane and public places, don’t be the one to abuse the bar, the waitresses, air hostesses or locals. Twice, I have been in foreign countries where I was most disappointed by the behaviour of my countrymen. It was very unpleasant when the rude, obnoxious man was identified as a fellow South African.

The most important travel tip on offer is that you must make the most of every minute. You are there, now, so see everything you can possibly see or do. Bon voyage!