The time has come, you’re finally going off on your holiday! Hooray for that! Long or short, it doesn’t really matter – we’ve been there before and know how daunting the preparation process can be. From all the logistics to ensure the budget stays afloat to the endless lists of must-dos & must-eats, things can get a little hectic. But worry not, we got your back. Here’s five essentials to help you ease into your holiday like it ain’t no thing!
1. Suitcase or Backpack?
Ah, this old chestnut. Everyone has a different opinion based on their own experiences and there are many, many web pages arguing both sides of the story. I’m of the opinion you can go for either if you pack light. Yes, you’re probably travelling for 4 weeks or more, maybe even several months, but speaking from someone who has lived out of a carry on size pack for 10 months, you can downsize. Try to keep it down to 10kg! No matter if you’re bobbing a wheeler suitcase over cobblestones or lugging your backpack up 4 flights of stairs, if you keep it basic then it won’t be too heavy or awkward. The beauty of this is… you can always buy more clothes! I call it the vacuum effect – get rid of one shirt or jumper and then you can replace with clothing that will take up the same space. Time to start living that #basiclife! You may even become a little obsessed seeing how little stuff you really need…
Seems obvious but I feel like it should be mentioned, not just because it’s essential to travel between countries but also because it’s important to protect your papers. If you’ve already thrown out the protective sleeve it comes in, it might be a good idea to hit the shops for a passport holder. These days a passport wallet may seem void due to most tickets and documents being electronic but your passport needs a bit of love. Just last year I saw a passport that had gone through the wash, and it was not pretty. Preserve your arrival stamp and for the love of whoever you worship, please please don’t take it on a night out!
Togs, boardies, cossies, budgie smugglers, swimmers, DTs, bathers, Speedos, bikinis, trunks. Whatever you call them, you definitely need to pack beachwear. There are endless possibilities when it comes to swim spots in Europe. Even if you’re not heading to Croatia or Greece, you can hit up Badeschiff, a floating swimming pool, beach bar and sun lounge on the river Spree in Berlin, cool off at Madrid Aquopolis water park, get wet inside a converted hangar complete with rainforest or soak in many of the hot spas in Budapest. Don’t be the guy who forgot his swimmers unless you really, really want to skinny dip in front of your new coach mates.
4. Travel Insurance
I know, I know. Another practical point. At the risk of sounding like your mum, I’m still going to write about it. Do not leave home without travel insurance! Check out the coverage for lost items, travel delay allowance, injury while overseas. Trust me, when you accidentally drop your phone overboard, your luggage gets lost in transit or (gasp!) you even get hospitalised in a country that doesn’t speak your language, your travel insurance provider and level of cover is going to be vitally important. Make sure you sign up for a policy that has a 24 hour phone number that can make immediate decisions about your claim. Worth the time to trawl through some of that dry policy jargon to make sure you’re covered.
You’re not going to want to look back on your travel pics and realise you have a bad case of squinty eyes in all your rad pics. So to up your game on Insta, there definitely needs time spent picking out the perfectly outrageous pair of sunnies. All about the eye protection as well so make sure your quest includes some UV protection. If you’ve been rather conservative with sunglasses in the past now is the perfect time to splash out with a ridiculous pair of heart shapes/reflective John Lennon shades or bug eyed orange glasses. How else will your jealous mates back home know you’re living it up in an endlessly sunny European summer?
Get your electronics sorted… adapters, cables and smartphones ready to go. If you’re anything like me, your phone is not just for Snapchatting. It also becomes your lifeline while travelling: currency converter, translator, camera, friend connector, map and navigator. You will burn through your battery during the day so it might be a good idea to buy a decent portable battery. Preferably one that holds more than one backup charge. Guarantee your unprepared buds will want to borrow it at some point. This might be the difference between you finding your way back to the hostel at 3am vs stumbling around an unfamiliar city!