Monday, August 9, 2010

Travel Tips: Packing For Short Trips

Going from one place to another, seeing different places and cultures could be very exciting. At times we may travel for several hours only to get a destination then return the same, or maybe be gone for days and in my case,  sometimes months or years. Depending of what type of traveling you'll do, you may have to pack differently.

Before, almost always when I pack I tend to forgot something. Sometimes I forgot only petty things which I could well do without but there are cases when I forgot crucially important things. When I pack, I used to just think the last minute and pack fast and then when I'm on the road that's when I realize how forgetful I am and regret not on bringing a thing or two. Then I decided to pack a day before travelling, and still there are times when I forget something. The best solution: make a checklist!

Paranoid as it may seem, I now have different types of travel packing checklists which I use to counter-check if I have brought the right things for the right occasion. Like most people, even if I travel to place and stay there for a long time of say months, I still do little 3 day travel trips going to other places. So now, I'll just share my checklist for a 3 to 5 day travel trip. Please bear in mind that I'm a "male" so I guess you won't be seeing make-up kits on my list... most females like Calay, pack heavily ridiculously heavy... hahaha... no offense meant... So even if I pack light, when I'm with a female companion, I still carry heavy loads... their heavy travel packs not mine. So first tip to travel light, don't bring women... hahaha... Just kidding, we all know men can't live without them, so guys, I guess carrying their heavy luggages is part of our existence.

On with the checklist; here's my detailed list for a 3-5 day travel trip (vacation tour, not business). Also included are clothes which I already wear since it is important as well.

  • 1 pair of shoes which I already wear; something comfortable that I could use to walk all day
  • 1 pair of heavy denim pants which I already wear
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of light pants such as jogging pants or slacks which could be packed tight
  • 2 pairs of shorts, good for swimming, trekking, sleeping
  • 3 briefs; no need to bring a lot, I wash each after I use it
  • 2 pairs of socks; again I wash each pair after using; aside from the pair I'm wearing so total of 3
  • 5 T-shirts
  • 2 polo shirts
  • 1 waterproof jacket with hood; usually I already wear to lighten the pack
  • 1 ball cap or hat; personal preference
  • 1 small towel
  • 1 big towel but not too thick
  • 1 pair of shades (sunglasses); usually worn already

Medicine: this is very important as there are places where medicine could be hard to find
  • 10 tablets good for fever/cold/flu/headache/pain (all in one like Panadol)
  • 10 pcs. 500mg capsules for pain - Mefanamic Acid 
  • 10 pcs. 500 mg capsules anti-biotics for infections
  • 5 tablets for anti-diarrhea
  • 5 tablets multi-vitamins
  • 5 tablets vitamin C
  • 5 tablets Melatonin (makes you sleep naturally when you find it hard to sleep in other places)
  • 10 tablets anti-histamine for allergies (for those who need it like I do)
  • 5 strips of band-aid
  • 5 capsules of penicillin (used for cuts and wounds, sprinkled directly to wounded area)
  • a small bottle of alcohol

Other Personal Supplies:
  • some medical adhesive strips
  • some cotton
  • cotton buds
  • 1 small bar soap
  • small bottle of shampoo with conditioner
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • brush or comb
  • small bottle of perfume
  • deodorant

Technical stuff:
  • celphone and charger (don't ever forget the charger, chaos when it happens)
  • universal power adapter (could be used at any country in the world)
  • small power strip at least 3 meters long with 3 or more outlets
  • iPod or any small music player with charger and headphones for entertainment
  • small flashlight
  • multi-purpose pocket knife (I use a Leatherman)
  • wrist watch 
  • laptop with mouse and charger (personal preference, your option to bring or not)
  • extra bag which could be compressed small  to put in things you bought which you'll be bringing back

universal power adapter which could be used 
almost anywhere in the world

my choice: Leatherman Utility Knife

Others more:
  • a few plastic bags for wet or dirty clothes
  • if using prepaid cards for you phone, be sure to be loaded
  • a few packs of biscuits or choco bars and a bottle of water (you'll never know when hunger kicks in)
  • local cash currency where you will be going to

  • Passport (if needed)
  • IDs 
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Other travel documents: itineraries. tickets, reservations, etc.
  • Map of the place of destination (most times available for free at port of entry)
  • Emergency ID tags - contact numbers, medical notes; 1 have 3 -- wallet, big bag and belt-bag
The Emergency ID Tags I have are credit card sized printed cards which I personally made and laminated. The details I put there are:
  1. Full Name beside small head-shot picture
  2. Home Address / Work Address
  3. Home Phone / Work Phone
  4. Person to contact in case of emergency and contact details (phones, emails); more than 1 is better
  5. Medical notes: allergies, ailments, diseases if any, required medications
  6. SSS number
  7. Insurance details

When carrying a utility knife, be careful not to carry it with you on the plane. Just put it with your luggage otherwise you'll be in a little trouble causing some delays and you may even lose your knife by confiscation. Also check with the local laws as to having such a knife in possession. Usually different countries have different laws as to what is considered a deadly weapon which usually based on the blade's length.

When riding a plane, be sure that all liquids are packed inside individual plastic bags such as zip-locks and placed on your bag which you will check in; if not, you will be asked to leave them for confiscation. These are new rules when riding planes for security reasons - No liquids and creams on board. At times they'll let go of creams and pastes such as toothpastes but some airports are strict and they'll just confiscate it when you bring it in with your hand-carry bag.

As a precautionary measure, be sure to let someone know where you are going as well as your plans. Give a date as to when you will return and maybe arrange a call-appointment to be made by you if you will not see him or her in person when you come back. In case you don't make that call, they'll know that something is wrong... maybe you are stranded on island somewhere with beautiful girls with now way of escape... haha... maybe you'll prefer to be a missing person then... haha... But seriously, the person you'll be giving your travel details could be a family member or friend, someone you could depend on in case of an emergency.

This travel checklist looks long, but when neatly packed, it all fits in a medium sized knapsack I have which has a laptop compartment and a small belt-bag strapped around my waist. The travel packing list is only for a 3-5 day travel trip to Asian countries where the weather even if cold is still tolerable using only basic clothing which means packing for destinations of extremely cold temperatures is very different. I bring only a clothes because most times I buy a few where I go as souvenirs, so I wear them as well. The extra bag you'll be bringing will be useful for other things you may want to buy to bring home as souvenirs and presents.

Like a pilot that goes through his gauges and instruments on board, I check all my things before traveling making sure that I have everything listed. This are just my personal preferences of what to bring when going on tour and of course everyone has their own, but to those who don't have a list yet and think that you may need one, you could use this as a reference and put in or take out a thing or two depending on your choice and need. Happy trip!