As I’m about to plunge back into a 40 hour week after having 4 months off working, I would like to share some sneaky tips and travel advice for anyone thinking of taking the nomads road. I’m not claiming that I am the most traveled backpacker, however after doing it recently through eight different countries and then of course my past experiences though East Africa, India and Thailand and of course NZ, I like to think I have some pearls of wisdom for you all….
Packing and luggage:
- Invest in good quality luggage.
Believe me, this is one time to skip The Warehouse or Onehunga Dollar Discount store. You will be pushing those zips to their limits and I couldn’t think of anything worse than a bag breaking in the middle of a trip!
- To backpack or not to backpack?
In Europe you don’t really need a backpack, in fact I’d wished that I had a roller bag, especially in those hot sweaty countries. Apart from maybe losing some street cred, the backpack isn’t that necessary as most of Western Europe is set up for tourists with roller bags, including buses, trains and ferries.
- Packing cubes are your new best friend. Seriously.
It’s inevitable, you will take too much no matter how much you try, so why not neatly organize that pack or suitcase, with packing cubes!? With these you can categorize your stuff so no need to rummage through that bottomless pit of a bag!
- Check you out.
The time you think you need to re-pack your bag before checking out or getting a bus/train, should always be doubled, especially if hung over.
- A weighty Issue
Your bag, like a hormonal woman, will mysteriously fluctuate in weight. So be careful at airports with weight limits if your cutting it close!
- Shoes and bags.
I know one thing can be tricky to decide on is how many and what kind of shoes and bags to bring. So I recommend three pairs of shoes, runners (walking shoes), sandals/jandals and a dressy (yet comfortable) pair. Bags, a day/beach bag that can fold or compress down, a going out bag (small hand bag) and a larger, easy to carry, handbag can fit a laptop, book, makeup etc. Use this as your carry-on baggage.
Saving the Pennies $$$
- Food glorious food.
Try and choose places that give you free breakfast, then take extra bread ham etc and make a sandwich for lunch! Two in one. Extra tip** Airport liquid bags makes great sandwich bags!
Also try and choose places that have a communal kitchen so you can do a supermarket shop and make some meals at your accommodation.
Finally, lots of hostels have a ‘free food’ shelf, pretty much just things people have left behind, sometimes you can find enough stuff in there to make a basic meal out of!
- Summer Essentials
Things like Sunblock and insect repellent in places like Greece, Thailand etc are always a HUGE rip off, they know that whities like me need to and most likely forgot to pack it. If you can stock up at home do it.
If your like me and have a student ID with no expiry date on it (thank you Auckland Uni) then this can be quite handy and get you a few discounts around the place. Sometimes they don’t even ask to see it. But often its a 50% saving on transport, entry ticket etc.
Strongly Suggested Travel Apps
As most people have smart phone now, its a bit pointless me writing this, but having one was amazing! Google maps – a life saver (except that one time…)
- Hostel world
Random bits and bobs
People all over the world find tourist very grating, I found that simply smiling when asking a question can actually really help the situation, even if your stressed, unwashed and running late!
If heading into a hot climate, do not decide last minute that a new fringe would go down well. It won’t, except sticking down to your sweaty forehead.
Basically friends, the world is set up for idiots, so I’m sure all of you will figure things out and be fine!