So you’ve racked up quite the collection of feathers in your cap, notches in your belt, stamps in your passport or in my case flag patch badges of every destination I’ve been to. Friends flock to you for travel advice: “What should I do in Destination X?” they'd ask in an adoring manner, almost idolising you.
God of Adventure and Travel — for all the sagely advice you bestow upon your worshippers, you’re probably guilty of committing elementary mistakes and perhaps, overlooking basic travel tips and know-how.
Packing All Your Travel Toiletries
You’re a liar! If you say you’ve never forgotten to pack certain toiletry items when travelling. Even the most seasoned of backpackers and the most spontaneous travellers have found themselves sans toothbrush or contact solution.
Ever brushed your teeth with your finger or gargled and swished a toothpaste-water solution in your mouth? I have. So make a list, check it twice and be nice to novice travellers who may be on the road with you.
*Related Post: The Anywhr Traveller Spirit Animal Guide: What's Yours?
Roll Up Your Clothes To Save Space
I picked this tip up during my national service, where the folks are extremely particular about packing efficiently. Folding clothing is for the uninitiated person that spends the duration of their backpacking adventure wondering how his/her compatriots are getting by with a 50-litre bag — while they have a 60-litre backpack and smaller bags slung across their chest.
Besides space saving hacks, always pack light. Ask yourself “Do I really need this?”, then repeat the question in your head multiple times till you realise you don’t actually need an umbrella and cans of tuna — if I’ve had friends who’ve committed this backpacking crime, there’s got to be more people out there.
Am I exaggerating? Hardly. But personally, everything fits into my backpack and is carried on (the flight). No check-ins unless it’s an extended trip.
Even if you’re not travelling frequently, it’s always a good idea to get yourself vaccinated. But people mockingly say “it’s not that bad!”, “you don’t need to, what are the chances?”, “don’t be kiasi (overly afraid)”. While you’re not likely to become the next “patient 0” of the next pandemic, a few jabs to reduce the chances of a nightmare trip isn’t an irrational fear.
If anything, it’ll put your mind at ease and you won’t spend time worrying about that cute stray dog that sorta-kinda scratched you. On a side note, a certain medication used to prevent malaria has anti-acne properties.
Print Important Documents
With everything going digital and accessible at your fingertips you might be forgiven if paper seems foreign, backward or even barbaric. “Save the trees” the people cry. But it’s always a good idea to print essential documents like booking confirmations, identification, tickets, etc….
*Related Post: Destination X: On Learning From Falling (Literally)
Stash The Cash
Whether you’re on a budget travel backpacking adventure or a surprise trip, it’s best to keep the surprises pleasant. “Don’t place all your eggs in the same basket”.
Similarly, don’t place all your cash in a wallet or the same place. I like to keep “tribute” stash on my person at all times as a potential offering in the event that I’m visited by the friendly local conmen or mugger. Remember it has to be sufficient enough to appease them.
Stash the rest in really hard to access areas… just remember where you put your bundles of cash.
Stop and breathe. While preparing for a trip can fluster some, the very best trips happen with less planning (without omitting the essentials). If you’ve taken care of the things that really matter (e.g. backup documents) then you can sit back relax and let spontaneity of travel flourish.
Travel with an open mind. Go free and easy when you’re travelling with people who may be less experienced or who have different interests. There’s no single perfect way or type of activities to do when travelling and seasoned travellers are often guilty of scoffingly saying "that's lame" while brushing off the ideas of others.
That seemingly boring museum might be really eye-opening, that hike might have you falling in love with the outdoors and maybe… just maybe... that dog cafe might change your life.
*Not really an outdoorsy person but would love to chill and relax? Grab your best bud (or just your travel plushie) and go on a Getaway!