Experienced travellers know that the secret to a successful trip lies in the preparation.
Here are some ideas on essential items to take with you to save time and ensure that your holiday is spent in peace and relaxation.
Essential Documents and Medication
Your passport is obviously a crucial item, but every year a surprising number of people have their holiday plans disrupted by forgetting it, or failing to realise that it has expired. Check your passport expiry date when booking your trip, just to be sure!
It’s a good idea to take copies of important documents, and to take pictures of valuable items, with details and serial numbers written on the back so that if anything is lost or stolen, you can easily report its theft and claim on your travel insurance.
A hidden travel wallet or money wallet can be a sensible choice if you feel you might be at risk from theft.
Don’t forget to take any necessary medication, and be sure to stock up on your prescription medications in advance if necessary, although Europe has plenty of pharmacies and hospitals.
Useful over-the-counter medications to take are headache tablets, travel sickness tablets, indigestion tablets, plasters, antiseptic cream, insect bite cream, and also medication for upset stomachs, in case the food isn’t quite as good as you’d hoped for!
Modern technology makes travelling so much easier than in the past. Take advantage of it and download useful apps onto your smartphone before you set off. There are train and flight schedule apps, hotel and restaurant apps to name but a few, so get the right ones for your destination.
The TripAdvisor app is very useful: it lets you download entire city guides, including maps and reviews of places to eat, so that you can view it without racking up expensive data charges on your phone.
Just before you get on the plane, turn data roaming off on your phone. This should stop your phone from using its data connection outside the UK (apart from when you’re connected to WiFi), which will keep your bills down.
Put your phone into flight mode when you’re not using it to make calls, to be double-sure it’s not still receiving emails or using data in other ways. Otherwise you could end up with a nasty surprise when your phone bill arrives!
Flight mode is also useful to save your battery, in case you won’t be able to charge the phone for a while.
A currency translator app is always useful when working out how much something costs in pounds. As a rough rule of thumb though, right now:
- 10 euros is around £7.50
- £10 is around 13 euros
A USB world travel adapter is vital if you are taking electrical items. It’s best to pack two adapters, to prevent arguments about who can charge their phone at any one time! An adapter for Europe isn’t the same as an adapter for the USA, even though both systems use two-pin plugs, so make sure you take the correct type!
Don’t forget chargers for mobile phones, cameras, and laptops. To prevent them from getting tangled in your bag, put each charger into a separate carrier bag.
If you don’t want to take too many chargers, an Amazon Kindle with an e-ink screen (as opposed to the type of screen you get on a mobile phone or a laptop computer) can last a very long time without being charged, so you can just charge it before you go away.
Travel in Comfort
Pack comfortable shoes for walking along cobbled and sometimes hilly streets, and pack for changeable weather. Researching the likely weather just before you set off can help guide you in what type of weather to pack for.
If you are going somewhere sunny, buy a good pair of sunglasses that will protect your eyes. (More information on sunglasses here.) You can also buy prescription swimming goggles.
It’s better to buy sunglasses before you travel, so that you can be confident in the level of protection offered, or you can arrange for prescription sunglasses if you prefer. Make sure you get a good sturdy case for them, so they don’t break in your bag. Don’t forget a good sun hat too, and suncream that is appropriate for your skin.
You might find a travel iron or a travel clothes steamer useful, especially if you are packing formal clothing such as a suit. These only cost around £20.
A laundry travel bag is useful for keeping used clothing separate, and especially handy for wet bathing costumes.
Make your journey and stay more comfortable with a two-in-one travel pillow. These convert from a horseshoe-shaped neck pillow to a more standard rectangular pillow.
It can be difficult to drift off in an unfamiliar room, but you can increase the chances of a good night’s sleep by taking good quality ear plugs and a sleeping mask.
So there you have it – hopefully a few new tips to help you pack for your next great adventure!