It’s quite hard to know what to take when going off to explore a new country, especially if travelling is a new experience for you, but with a few basic essentials you can’t go far wrong. I’ve written a list of items that I couldn’t be without when I’m abroad, whether that’s sunning it up on a beach resort in Europe, or heading off the beaten track in rural Asia. Hope the tips below are useful!
If Sex and the City taught us anything it’s that a woman needs a decent pair of shoes – sorry, pairs of shoes. However, shoes are the bulkiest item of clothing ever to be squashed into a suitcase, so restraint, however painful, is definitely needed in this area. Firstly, ditch the heels. For nights out invest instead in a lovely, dressy pair of sandals or flip flops, because trust me, that’s what nearly everyone does abroad. At the very most, a cute pair of wedges can be versatile, but the last thing you want in the heat and on dodgy, dusty paths walking back after a night out is to negotiate the way home in heels!
Honestly, they get everywhere. I was never – or only ever very rarely – bitten abroad until Rome, and I still to this day do not know why that changed, but I regret not being more vigilant in protecting myself against mosquitos during my time in Italy. Once they’d had a small taste they launched a full on attack, and by the end of my 2 week holiday my legs were literally covered in bites, despite my desperate attempts to combat the swollen red marks with creams from the local pharmacies. Now I’d strongly urge anyone to take what you can to prevent being bitten. I take a hanging mosquito net, spray, mosquito wrist and ankle bands, and a plug-in repellent – what some may call dramatic I call being prepared!
A side bag.
Whatever country you visit, be it a city in the UK or a rural village abroad, you have to be vigilant against theft. Theft happens everywhere, but it can be completely devastating when it happens abroad and you’re somewhat helpless or vulnerable. Sometimes you need to carry a backpack or a rucksack, and that’s unavoidable, but I would strongly urge you to invest in a small side bag for valuables – your money, passport, phone and camera. A side bag should fit nicely under your arm, therefore making it that little bit tougher for someone to tamper with it – and they’re way cooler than a retro bum bag! I use my trusty £10 tan one from New Look as it goes with pretty much every outfit.
I know they’re not cool, but they are a sensible, practical decision. Obviously depending on where you go the chance of rain varies from country to country, but often weather is unpredictable (see Global Warming crisis), and so a poncho is a great back-up plan. I’ve experienced the rainy seasons in Florida, Mexico and parts of Asia, and, whilst it’s often incredible to be out and about in a warm shower, if you don’t fancy being left in wet clothes for hours, or, like me, you don’t want your hair ruined for the rest of the day, a poncho is the answer! They’re light in your suitcase and uber cheap in the UK – save yourself the $20 you’d spend on one in Disney World and go prepared!
Hair scrunching products.
If you’re lucky enough to have hair that falls perfectly and looks good no matter what you do with it or what the humidity is like, I’m happy for you. And insanely jealous. My hair is fine and often frizzy, and particularly difficult to manage abroad. When I am away I avoid straighteners for two reasons. Firstly, who has the time when there are so many things to be doing when you’re away? Secondly, frequent exposure to sun can damage hair anyway, so straightening it as well can cause further harm. My advice is to have a go at scrunching it when it’s damp and use scrunching products to create an easy, messy look.
Thanks for reading, ladies, I really hope my tips are useful. Right now I’m off to do some last minute shopping for my trip back to Cambodia!