I am finally back for a sort of long 2 week overseas trip yesterday morning and have since then, rejuvenated myself with lots of rest ie 10 hours of sleep! Seeing that I travel rather frequently these days, I thought it is only appropriate so share a few tips on packing and planning for a self-guided trip. Fingers crossed you will find some of these tricks applicable to your situation.
Planning a trip:
1. Determine how many people you are travelling with. It will help with booking flights and accommodations.
2. Scout out the cost of plane tickets and hotels/ hostels that suit your budget. If you are on a very tight budget but still want to have a good time, you can start looking into these things about 8 months prior to departing. Some hotels offer early bird bookings.
3. Always get to know the country you are visiting. Weather, language, currency, transportation, food and sight seeings are just a few factors to take into consideration. Ultimately, this eases the packing phase. If you are in a guided tour, you can probably skip this part as the tour guide will inform you beforehand. I have googled many government tourism sites, travel blogs and youtube videos just to gather information on what I wanted to see and what to expect.
4. As always, obtain a good map of the city/ town that you are in, if possible. I find that some maps may not be as clear as I wanted it to be so I spent a fraction of my time (and internet connection) using GoogleMaps to determine how to get to a particular spot and what's the timeframe. Very helpful tip if you do not want to waste time. If you are a wanderer like me, you can spend time wandering around the area..who knows what you may discover!
Packing for a trip:
1. Gather your essentials early or at least, prepare a list of things to bring weeks before the departure date. This prevents the "oh crap I forgot" dreaded moment.
2. Know what is vital to surviving the trip. My list includes having a passport, wallet (cash and credit cards if necessary), mobile phone, plane and accommodation itineraries, plug adaptor and camera. The rest are pretty much replaceable if your luggage goes missing or if you forget to pack them. You may want to bring an extra camera memory card if you are taking heaps of pictures or perhaps a spare battery. I kept my passport, itineraries and extra cash in a separate pouch bag to reduce confusion.
3. Bring sample facial wash/moisturizers/ body baths if you have any. This lessens your baggage weight whilst still keeping you clean.
4. Wear clothes and shoes that are practical. A very important tip that gets overlooked by a lot of us. That sexy black dress and killer stilettos in your wardrobe won't do you any good if you are spending most of your time outdoors and walking. Sneakers and skinny jeans are your best bet if you really need to look fashionable. I often wear shorts, depending on the climate, as it is easy to dress it up or down and it does not weigh a lot. I gravitate towards structured shirts for a polished, effortless look and jackets/ cardigans with zip pockets (less likely to get pickpocket-ed unnoticed).
5. For the girls out there, I recommend bringing eye and lip palettes. It is so much easier to lug around. I have been using my Maybelline brown eyeshadow palette on numerous trips which gave me a natural look in every photo. Lip tints are also good as you won't need to touch up as often.