Essentials When Travelling

We’ve just returned from 6 weeks on the road in the US and UK. Living out of suitcases is never fun but there’s some ways to ease the burden. Here’s a list of essentials you’ll need while away:


  1. Ziplock Bags

These are a life saver. Whether you’re packing your shampoo and conditioner in one, or your makeup, it saves a lot of time having everything put in sealed plastic bags.


  1. A face cloth

I’ve found that most places, even flash hotels don’t supply face cloths. Make sure you take a light one that can dry, so go budget.


  1. Washing bag

You can go to the $2 store and buy a meshed washing bag. These are great for throwing in your dirty laundry. Sure, you can put it in a plastic bag but this way is more superior and they last forever.

bag 2

  1. Limited clothes

We all take way too many clothes on a trip. For our 6 week trip I took just 2 black and 2 white tee shirts, 4 pairs of underwear and 1 good dress. There were also a couple of cardigans and 1 pair of shorts. How many pair of jeans you need depends on what the weather will be like. Remember that you can always buy clothes on the run. Airlines are becoming more strict on baggage weight so don’t think you can sweet talk them out of 5 kilos overweight.


  1. Small bag for jewelry

While I try to take a limited amount of jewelry on a trip it’s nice to be able to reach directly in a bag and find something I like. On long haul flights the airline tends to give you a small draw bag with toothpaste, toothbrush and eye mask. I’ve converted my Emirates one into a bag I put my earrings into.

bag 3

  1. Nail file

There’s nothing worse than having a broken nail and you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Cut your toe nails before you leave home, but definitely take a nail file.


  1. Antibiotic/Mossie cream

Sure, you can pick up a tube at the chemist when you’re out and about but when you’re itchy from a mosquito bite in the middle of the night you want to reach out to something there and then. Put the tube in a sealed plastic bag so it doesn’t explode on the flight.


  1. Coin purse

It might seem a bit girly but in some countries there are so many coins. You don’t want to have the hassle of going through your wallet trying to suss out unknown coins. Keep them separate from your notes. It’s also handy if you are paying to get your clothes washed at a laundromat and need quick access to coins.



What are the essential items you take on your trips?

Travelling in a Group

We’ve just finished spending three weeks in the States on our way to Kenya. It’s the super long route to take, but since one of the kids was paying for it, who am I to object. We went to LA, San Diego, back to LA, Houston, New York City and Washington DC. Getting to Nairobi took 8 flights. Because we were moving country we had baggage galore. While we are on the road for 2 months of the year this certainly was quite different, going from hot summer days to places where it was snowing.

Here’s some tips for travelling in a group:

1. Number all of your bags.

It’s very easy to lose one or two small items like camera or video bags. At least when you get off a bus, train or plane you know which number is missing. Simply put a tag with a large number written on it.


2. Put things back in the same place.

Jetlag is a killer on the brain. When you put the passports or travel documents in the same place every time you won’t be stressing out where they are. It’s bad enough trying to find a pair of socks let alone the passport.


3. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

This is especially so if you’re the one who has put the itinerary together. You might know what’s happening but don’t assume everyone else does.


4. Double check info before leaving home.

You may thought you booked a hotel in LA, but accidentally put in Louisiana instead. While the taxi driver might like the fare, it could lead into all sorts of problems with your team. Also check the distances from your hotel from the airport. That way you won’t be shocked at the price.


5. Get the cab drivers number

Once you find a good taxi driver, get his number so that when you need a ride you don’t have to wait around. Depending where you are in the world, negotiate the taxi fare before getting into the car.


6. Print out everything

If you’re travelling to lots of places, put it down on an Excel sheet and print it out. Then print out all the tickets, motel addresses etc so you’ve got it in hard copy. Put everything into order so you’re not fumbling through a zillion pieces of paper to find the right one. If you need to, put them in plastic sleeves or in a small folder.


7. Pace yourself

If you’re on the road for more than 2 weeks you’ll be exhausted if you’re on the go all the time. Try and pace yourself so one day you do an activity and the next you spend gazing at shops or at the beach. While everyone is entitled to a bad hair day, it’s a bit harder in a group to hide it and it can spread like wildfire. When everyone is exhausted it can make things 10 times worse.

Happy Travels!!