When you’re packing for the big trip, it’s difficult to know what’s a must have and what’s going to sit in the bottom of your rucksack for the next 12 months. Space is precious and any excess weight you can shift just makes your life that little bit easier when you’re lugging your bulky new best friend around. Pack smart and be prepared for everything without having to carry.
Lush Godiva Shampoo Bar
Travelling is no excuse to be stinky. Whilst it would be nice to pack your whole pamper pack, it’s just not viable, and you really only need the absolute basics. Enter the Lush shampoo bar. This magical little cupcake (please don’t try and eat it) is made as a solid shampoo but is oh-so-much more.
They have a huge range of these shampoo bars which cater for everything for itchy scalps to blonde locks but for a fix-all, I’d recommend the sunshine yellow Godiva which has a beautiful floral jasmine scent. Not only will it give your luscious locks a good clean but it also has a built in conditioner in there which is really important when you’re in extreme weather which will dry out your tresses. So it’s great for all hair types from tight afro to fine, fair lengths like mine. Not content with merely giving your hair sweet smelling softness and shine, you can also use it all over your body as a soap, to wash your clothes and it will leave a lovely perfume with you all day long.
Not entirely convinced yet? This bar packs a powerful punch and can last anywhere from 80 to 100 washes (depending on your hair type) so it’s like carrying around three bottles of shampoo in your bag but it’s smaller than the palm of your hand.
First Aid Kit
You might be tempted to leave this behind because it’s a little bulky and heavy but from experience I can promise that you need it. Being sick sucks and there’s no worse place for your body to fail you than on a 17 hour bus to Bangkok. Plus, once you finally do find a pharmacy, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to remember the Thai for ‘paracetamol please’. Here are my must haves:
1. Nasal spray and decongestants to help you breathe better at night and to clear your head before a flight.
2. Painkillers to dull any pain, from headaches to tummy cramps and ibuprofen is also an antinflammatory so particularly great for bumps and knocks.
3. Diorrhea and constipation tablets. Enough said.
4. Insect repellant and bite relief because that’s no fun.
5. Sun cream. The sun varies from country to country and even the hardiest of skin that ‘never burns!’ can get affected. Stay sun safe, it’s one of the most important things to remember.
6. Plasters/Band Aids. Shoes rub and it hurts.
7. Antihistamines. Preferably the non-drowsy kind. You never know what you might have a reaction to. Hives aren’t a good look.
And obviously any medication you know you need such as asthma inhalers, migraine tablets etc.
If you’re not a reader well…then I suggest you start. It’s a great way to relax and pass time whether it’s at the airport waiting lounge, hostel or on the beach. It’s also a great talking point and there are usually book swaps at hostels, cafes and if you’re in Melbourne there’s the Little Library at Melbourne Central where you can pop in and have a free read, get chatting to some new people or just swap your paperback for something new.
Versatility is key. Although you might be tempted to wear short shorts the whole time because of the heat, make sure you bring either long trousers or a skirt. These are great for nighttime when the mosquitoes want to be your friend, for hiding that slightly sunburned skin from getting any worse, and so that you can visit places of worship that require you to cover up. The same goes for tops, make sure you have something that covers you up, especially considering that even the hottest places can get cold at night.
My number one item? A sarong or scarf. This can be used for so many things and it takes up almost NO room in your bag and is light as a feather. Use it as a beach cover up, a head scarf, a shawl around your shoulders, a head scarf for bad hair days, a belt, a necklace, a makeshift bag…the list is endless. Take a look here for inspiration!
You might need one for your suitcase or your hostel locker, they’re useful for so many things and you can get tiny ones for a couple of a dollars that don’t take up much space at all. You might not have the time/money/facilities to buy one right that second and you definitely shouldn’t leave your stuff unlocked. Your travel insurance might not even cover your belongings if they’re not locked up and after you’ve put all of that effort into packing your perfect backpack, you don’t want stuff to go missing. It feels horrible to have your stuff taken and it could have been avoided with a simple padlock.
These are a must have for festivals and travelling is no different. Great for removing make up and body paint, for getting rid of small stains or mopping up beer spills and, most important, for when you can’t (or can’t be bothered to) have a shower. A wet-wipe-wash is better than nothing. Do your nose and room mates a favour.