Why are there some must-haves for easy travel? Travel is a fantastic experience but, like everything in life, it is better if it is planned and organized. This doesn’t mean having an itinerary that it planned to the hour though. It means taking care of what might seem inconsequential and peripheral details, details that actually have the potential to derail your trip or at the least, not make it go as smoothly as it could. Here’s my must-haves for easy travel.
1. An Itinerary
A basic itinerary is one of the must-haves for easy travel. Perhaps your new year’s resolution was to be spontaneous, but this doesn’t mean you should be ill-prepared for your journey. Having a basic plan – knowing how to get places and where you’ll rest your weary head for the night – doesn’t have to ruin your resolve for spontaneity. Draw a rough sketch of your itinerary, but don’t set it in stone. Make that reservation, book that ticket, investigate the sightseeing options available to you; work out the vague outline, and let the finer details write themselves in. This will ease your anxiety, while allowing the adventure to unfold of its own accord.
“Duh!” you’re most certainly muttering to yourself. Of course some sort of containing device in which to carry all your things is a must-have for easy travel. But the trick is choosing luggage that’ll be a help and not a hindrance. If you’re checking luggage, bring a piece that has 360 degree spinner wheels. These are much easier to maneuver through the twists and turns of an airport. If you’re carrying on (which I highly recommend for easier and more efficient travel), then condense into one bag. You won’t feel weighed down by your possessions, which always makes travel easier and more enjoyable. An average backpack can hold quite a lot, and almost always fits the carry-on dimension requirements. Still don’t think you could possibly fit your wardrobe into those dimensions? Unless your trip’s itinerary lies between the extremes of the Sahara and Antarctica, you really don’t need to bring twenty different shirts and half a dozen pairs of shoes. Limit yourself, and I promise you won’t regret it. You’ll be having too much fun traveling to yearn for that pair of boots you left behind.
If you’re staying in a hotel, nowadays shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, razors, even shoe polish are supplied and built into the room price. So don’t pack unnecessary toiletries that take up valuable space. If you’re staying in a hostel or some place which doesn’t supply all the extras, consider making a stop off at a convenience store before checking in, and you won’t have to bother with adhering to the 3 oz liquid standard in going through airport security.
I know in the previous must haves for easy travel I just recommended you limit yourself, but don’t sacrifice comfort. If you’re in for a long flight, you don’t necessarily need to invest in the ubiquitous neck pillow, but do have a soft sweater on hand, which can do double-duty as wardrobe for your trip and as neck support when needed. If you swear by your neck pillow, try an inflatable model which will be easier to transport and stash away when not in use.
Not only is an e-reader, like a Nook or a Kindle, a great lightweight way to go about packing your entertainment, but it can also supply you with easy-to-access travel guides, such as Lonelyplanet and AWS of course, which offer helpful information for thousands of destinations. Guidebooks often advise you on hotels and restaurants, provide historical facts about your destination and its famous landmarks, and are a great foreign language resource. Guidebooks allow you to have a tour guide in your pocket, without the annoyance of a guide’s babbling ever-presence. You can simply access information in your own time and at your own pace.
Of course you need a camera to capture those memories (as well as to post all of your brag-worthy adventures to Instagram). But, let’s face it, if you’re not a professional photojournalist, then that huge professional-grade camera is just weighing you down. Don’t lug around an awkward and expensive piece of digital equipment simply to look cool. Instead, capture your memories with a small, portable, affordable digital camera. It's so much easier for travel and, besides, many models take truly quality photographs anyhow.
7. Thin Laptop or Notepad
You probably want to bring some sort of electronic device to document your adventures, access WiFi, and keep in contact with those back home. However, you certainly don’t want to carry a huge, heavy laptop across an entire country or continent. So if you already own a thin, paper-light laptop or notepad, then you’re set. If you don’t own either, then I’d suggest to leave your laptop at home and take advantage of Internet cafes or the computer banks in the hostel or hotel. This may even be more convenient, as you’ll remove the temptation of spending your whole travel adventure behind a screen.
Which of these of my must-haves for easy travel are you quite happy to venture forth without? What are your must-haves?