I’ve no wish to tell you what to pack when travelling – you’re mature enough to know what you want to wear. But there are some things I have learnt over the years that are essential “Must Have’s”, and plenty of “Don’t Need” items as well:
My flying essentials for on board – packed in a clear clip-lock plastic bag to keep the airport staff happy:
- Eye drops – Refresh or similar, to keep eye’s from drying out during flight
- Lip balm – for the same reason for your lips – use repeatedly
- Facial wipes – those wet wipes in a resealable bag, to remove make up as soon as possible in flight. Ideally, no make up before a flight is best, but we all know that’s never going to happen, we have to look good for farewell drinks!
- Moisturiser – to replace the makeup we’ve just removed. Use as often as you use the bathroom – which should be every two hours, even just to stretch your legs
- Hand lotion – again, use every time you wash your hands to prevent ‘chook hands’
- Toothbrush and paste – airline size. Feels almost as good as having a shower
- Panty liners – yes really. For longhaul flights, you’ll feel so much fresher on arrival
- For longhaul flights (more than 10 hours I consider longhaul), take two melatonin tablets (available from health stores) 9 hours before your ETA – helps adjust your body clock to new time zones. A natural product, check with your doctor to be safe
- Not wishing to promote this, but my secret to getting sleep on planes is to take a half a Murelax (prescription only – they are a relaxant, not a sleeping tablet), generally after the evening meal but at least 8 hours before my ETA, and I sleep like a baby for around 6 or 7 hours. Of course, washing it down with a Bailey’s doubles your chances of a good sleep!
- Wear an Aah bra – they really are that comfortable! Especially on long flights.
- Use the eye mask & ear plugs provided in flight, or bring your own. They do help.
MY ‘MUST HAVE’ LIST
For travelling, I’ve found these to be invaluable:
- Pashmina’s – a light one, and a warmer one. Fabulous for when you don’t want to lug jackets around – great as shawls, or around head and neck to keep out the chill, even a knee rug on a chilly train or bus. Roll up to nothing in your suitcase or handbag – perfect.
- Comfortable walking shoes! Seems obvious I know, but forego the glamour look of high heels, strappy wedges, backless sandals etc and choose a stylish closed in mule or similar with a bit of arch support – you are just not going to enjoy exploring those beautiful cities on foot otherwise.
- Scarves – dress up a boring t-shirt or long sleeve top, add glamour to a plain dress or top for evenings. Lightweight and generally don’t need ironing.
- A white singlet – sounds strange, but it is surprising how much warmth one provides under a lightweight top, without bulking you up.
- An across the body handbag. Two reasons – it leaves both hands free, and can’t be snatched from you. One that can be zipped or snapped closed for obvious reasons.
- A fold up umbrella and plastic poncho kept in your handbag at all times. Don’t let a little rain spoil your sightseeing, and don’t wait for it to ‘fine up’ – it may not.
- A good quality lightweight raincoat with hood – at least thigh length.
- Waterproof walking shoes for inclement weather
- Travel clothes line – invaluable for rinsing out a few things overnight
- Imodium, Panadol, antibiotics, band aids – a small supply of each
- Anti itch crème for insect bites – roll on deodorant works in an emergency
- Dettol hand sanitizer – purse size – use it frequently, you really don’t want to pick up a bug, believe me!
- Carry small change for toilets – many European countries charge for the privilege.
- Photocopies of passport, credit and debit cards, travel insurance – three copies – keep one in your suitcase, one in your hand luggage, one with next of kin at home.
- Emergency contact number in mobile phone – stored under “Emergency” – it is a universal word. Put name and relationship with number (include country code)
- Emergency contact business card in wallet – make it eye catching – if something happens to you, first place people will look is your wallet and your mobile phone.
MY ‘DON’T NEED’ LIST
- Valuable jewellery – it’s not worth the stress of worrying about it. I once lost a ring in flight & had the hostesses strip the plane bare looking for it on landing – it turned up in the bottom of my handbag when I arrived at my hotel! Bring a small selection of bling only, it does get heavy and adds to your allowable weight.
- A multitude of belts – again, they add to your weight limit – choose a couple that go with anything
- A multitude of shoes – again for the same reason. I’ve learnt to travel with just four pairs – slip on runners, comfy sandals (or boots if cooler weather), one pair of mules or moccasins and one pair of high heels for evening wear
- Knickers for every day of the week! Just four pair of everyday undies is really all you need – wash out each night, dry overnight and alternate each day. Of course, take a ‘might get lucky’ bra and knickers set – no explanation needed!
- Your everyday wallet – take a separate ‘travel’ wallet and only take cards you’ll use. Leave the library cards, members cards, frequent coffee cards at home.
- Never, ever use one of those hold all wallet folders that keep everything in one place – passport, credit cards, licence, money, etc. Lose that or have it pinched and you’ve lost everything! I had a travel companion have it happen to her – put it beside her for a minute, got stolen – and it was a pain in the proverbial, we couldn’t leave Spain for 5 days until a new passport was issued. Keep your passport separate to your wallet, keep some cash in your suitcase, take a debit card to a secondary account and keep separate – at least if you lose your wallet and have to cancel credit and debit cards, you’ll have a separate one to access cash.
- A travel clock – mobile phones have made these obsolete