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  • Writer's pictureAlex Starr

Pack These Handy Items for Your Travels

You’ve decided to go travelling. Currently, there’s a mountain of tops, trousers, coats, swimwear, jewellery, toiletries and shoes strewn across the floor that are ready to be packed. What to keep? What to eliminate?

I’m Alex Starr, digital nomad, solo traveller and author of ‘Plan Safe Travel Solo.’ Here’s 10 handy items that you should add to that pile, which might not yet have crossed your mind:

1) A cheap, old mobile phone.

Communication is key to your loved ones knowing you’re safe. Packing a spare means staying in touch, no matter your situation. Plus, you might want to invest in a local SIM, so it’s a way of simultaneously running your ‘home’ and new number.

2) Business cards and a resumé.

It is always worth having printed contact details available to pass on! A trip can produce the most unexpected outcomes and a new job opportunity might just be one of them.

3) An inflatable cushion.

Long bus journeys and night flights are so uncomfortable; any item that eases the pain is welcome!

4) A variety of bags.

An inexpensive, light, fold-up rucksack for excursions and one of those canvas bags for the beach; you do not want to be lugging around your rucksack for simple, everyday tasks! Hook a small purse (attached by a keyring loop) to your bra strap, if you want to avoid carrying any bag at all.

5) A spare wallet.

How do you store excess money and bank cards in your accommodation’s safe without one? Lock away those valuables, including your passport. Importantly, USD is a worldwide currency. Exchangeable in any country, these notes can be spent across the counter in the most unlikely of destinations, so keep some to hand!

6) Hand-sanitiser and face masks.

This Covid-19 global pandemic is staying with us a little longer. Consider cleanliness from the start of your trip. Illnesses cause weakness; feeling strong is staying healthy.

7) A medical kit.

Rehydration packs and diarrhoea tablets help if you eat something dodgy, not pleasant, but - trust me – unfortunately, it happens. You’ll be surprised by which medications are unavailable outside of the UK; I always struggle to find paracetamol. So, pack the ones you might miss.

8) Travel wash.

Items are hand washable and overpacking is your worst nightmare. Remember that you will be responsible for carrying your luggage, so make it lighter by eliminating the unnecessary. Think multi-purpose items/layers that can be cleaned in a sink and left to dry overnight.

9) Ear plugs and an eye mask.

Blocking both noise and light helps with sleeping. From sharing a room in a hostel to trying to take a nap on a flight, catching those twenty winks is much easier without disturbances!

10) An international plug adaptor.

I always pack at least two. Remember to put one in your hand-luggage though. A delayed flight means more chance of low phone battery, but there are always charging points in the departure terminal.

I can honestly say that I have used every single item! I’d learnt the lesson about carrying a second mobile phone because I’d taken one away that hadn’t been unlocked yet. This made buying a local SIM impossible. I then met new friends and had to give them an English number to contact me on. I tried my best not to use my data, but I also didn’t want to miss out on socialising. My bill was extremely expensive that trip!

No matter what you decide to pack, think carefully. Are you actually going to use it? Disregard anything that is a “maybe.” Most importantly, remember nearly everything is replaceable. Only four items hold real value: your passport, your money, your phone and any specific medical items. So, discard what you don’t need and stay calm if you lose anything.

For more top tips, buy my book ‘Plan Safe Travel Solo,’ which is available to pre-order now.

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