Monday, December 22, 2014

The importance of the daypack

When I'm packing for a trip, the absolute FIRST thing I take into consideration is what I'm going to need have on me at all times/day-to-day.

The Bag:
What: You'll want something small, lightweight and with multiple zipper pockets (bonus if there are mesh pockets on the side)
Why: You'll likely have personal items that you want to keep close and don't want flashing around (ie, passport, cash, travel tickets, etc...)- an internal "secret" compartment is perfect for those. Mesh outside pockets are great for easy water access or a wet bathing suit. Keep it lightweight because if you're in a hotter climate or doing a lot of walking that day, you'll be glad to not have something super heaving weighing you down.

What goes in:
Important materials: Cash, passport, or anything you don't want to leave in the hostel or hotel.
Lip balm: If it's hot: you'll need it. If it's cold or windy: you'll need it. If you're doing a lot of walking or hiking: you'll need it. Trust me, just take one. My favorite is the Vaseling brand mini- its small enough to sail through airport security, hang in your pocket, and it's really good for your lips and skin!
Hand sanitizer or wipes: You'll likely be touching some gross surfaces and in some countries, you won't necessarily have access or want to use public sinks or washrooms.
Map or guidebook: Unless you purchase a SIM card (which may or may not be a good idea depending on price), you'll be without technology on your excursions. Having a printed map with the hotel location can be clutch if you get lost! Guidebooks are great because they offer ideas of things to see and places to eat- sometimes all the choices can be overwhelming! 
Snacks: Pack something to eat.... just in case.
Water: Make sure you stay hydrated no matter what your planned activity.
Pen and paper: I've found that especially when I'm travelling solo, I wind up meeting people who have great suggestions of things that they have done/plan to do in the area that I hadn't thought of.
Gum: You'll be trying new foods and you'll like most of them! However, on the off chance you don't like something, you'll be glad you have something minty fresh!

Items worth considering (climate depending):
Hat: Really hot? Really cold? Try a hat!
Lightweight jacket: Hot places tend to cool down in the evening. Weird, I know. Sometimes that excursion runs a little later than planned or you meet some cool people you want to grab a drunk with and don't want to run back to your hostel. This can come in ESPECIALLY handy if you're visiting a religious country. You never know when you may happen upon a cool temple and you'll need to be covered. Hm, you might also want to consider a.....
Scarf or sarong: Cover those legs in temples. Sit on some grass and eat that snack. Surprise beach trip. Wow, my neck is cold/getting sunburned. In Asia especially, this one works for men, too.
Extra t-shirt: Sometimes.... you sweat through your t-shirt at the Angkor Temple Complex. Whoopsie.
Pain reliever: You never know.
Bandanna: Because you're badass.

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