September 23, 2018

essential travel packing list

I’ve been traveling enough to have a list of my essential items for travel – which I plan to share here.

Alright, I’m going to split this shit into 2 parts. ‘Must Have’ and ‘Nice to Have’.
Must Have – you’re definitely going to thank me for it. You should not travel without it.
Nice to Have – only some of you might thank me for it. You can still travel without it, but it’s not recommended.
Now, on to the list:

Must Have’s:
Vacuum bag(s) with pump
It’s basically a bag that has this valve that allows a manual vacuum pump to suck air out of the bag (looks like this). If you’ve seen how Ayamas packs its frankfurters in the freezer section at your local hyper-mart, it’s basically the same thing, only that this is for your clothes. The purpose? More packing space!
You see, most people bring big ass suitcases for their travel because they have too much shit to bring. Well, with the vacuum bags, you can suck air out of your clothes and be able to save half of the space required for your travel. I managed to pack 3 thick winter jackets, plus enough clothes for 3 people for 1 week, and enough space for my tripod into a 25″ suitcase + souvenirs + food items + toiletries. During my excursion to Kawaguchiko, I packed 2 days’ worth of clothes for 3 pax into 1 regular sized backpack. Do you need me to say more? (it literally means, you can cut your suitcase size into half, or double your shit into the same packing capacity – either way, it’s awesome).

Toiletries bag
Most people have this already but I’m including this in case you’re in the lower half of the distribution list in terms of intelligence quotient. It’s basically a bag with lots of pockets for you to keep your toiletries like toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorants, comb, shaving apparatus, nail clippers, et al. Look for one that has a hook, and allows you to just open it and hook on to something like a kit. This saves you time/trouble to pack and unpack your toiletries, which can be used for something more important like planning where to go the next day (if you haven’t already got a plan in place). You can just hook on and hook off without the hassle of packing the toiletries all over your suitcase at random/different locations.

Ziploc bags
Ziploc bags are the shit to keep liquids contained or keep things dry. You wouldn’t want a sticky situation like hairgel or your facial wash gel to get squeezed out all over the interior of your suitcase when shit happens. I learned this lesson the hard way many years ago during a trip to Cameron Highlands – when my wife’s body wash gel’s tube lid gave way and I got this body wash slime all over the toiletries bag. They’re in my comb, my razor, my tooth brush. Nasty shit. So, now, I make it a habit to store liquid items into a ziploc bag, in case there’s a leak, it gets contained inside the bag. Also, you can keep your stuff dry in a ziploc bag too – like maybe your money notes, passport, powerbank or a non IP rated phone perhaps. They’re cheap as fuck and should be used indiscriminately for all your items. Get those from the kitchen section used for marinating food, should be reasonably cheap enough.

Multi ports charger
It’s a charging device with multiple USB ports in it. There are many kinds available in the market, just look for one. I have this one which I got from Lazada. Idea is to save you the trouble of needing to pack too many chargers for your charging needs. i.e. If you have 3 pax traveling, you’re looking at packing 3 – 4 chargers for the trip. But if you have a multi port charger, you just need to pack enough charging cables and ONE multi port charger (and it’s cheaper than an original OEM charger so, you can still afford to lose one during your travel – which tends to happen).

Travel umbrella / disposable raincoat
Weather is the most unpredictable thing and you should be prepared for it. You wouldn’t want a bout of rain that comes suddenly to ruin your shit just because you’re unprepared to get wet. You’ve paid so much for your trip, you might as well do a little bit more to get prepared for it. Get one of those small (but tough) travel umbrellas that can be easily packed into your backpack, or get yourself one of those disposable raincoats. If you have the moolah, you can also opt for a full waterproof garb like 3-in-1 Jack Wolfskin jackets, pants, hat and shoes combo – like one of my buddies did. This is especially important if you have a hiking activity in your itinerary and have the compelling need to want someone to take you seriously as an outdoor person. (this is also when the ziploc bags mentioned above come in handy for your other pocket stuff).

A fucking Pen
What?? A fucking pen?? What the fuck?? Yes, a fucking pen. It is an essential item to bring during a travel. Look, you’re crossing international borders, and going through immigration and you’re required to fill in forms and shit. Chances that you’d need a pen as part of your immigration procedures? 100%. I’ve had the trouble of not being able to find a pen when I need it the most (this was many years ago, back in 1997). So since then, I’ve made it a habit to bring a pen during my travels. It’s always a black pen (never get a blue or a red one), one of those plastic Pilot type that’s also waterproof and quick drying. Cheap as fuck (a few bucks), and going to last you many years. I use it for forms, slips, notes and labels.

Paper packing tape
Don’t need a wide one, just a couple inches will do. Not many people would agree with me on this but, there’s a whole lot a paper packing tape can do to save a situation. Taping things to ensure they stay where they are, taping lids to ensure they do not get loose during transit, et al. Because it’s paper, you can write on it like a label (and used to label stuff), and you can tear them off without needing a pair of scissors or a penknife. You can use the paper packing tape to bind something, as a temporary bandaging tape, etc. I always have a roll of paper packing tape in my suitcase.

Nice to Have’s:
Casing for smaller items
Get a box, like the one used to store your engagement/wedding ring. Use it to store small items like your SIM card, SIM door eject pin, SD card, luggage lock key, USB thumb drive for your photos, et al. Those small items are hard to pack, but by storing them in a container, they’re all in one place, easier to store/locate. I got myself a plastic box from a set of Samsung earphones to store my smaller stuff.

Travel laptop
From booking tickets to checking your train schedule, a laptop is definitely handy. For me, it’s even more – I use a laptop to download and backup my photos from my dSLR camera (which is as old as shit and doesn’t have wifi but a legacy USB cable). From the laptop, my precious photos go into the drive, secondary USB flash drive, and cloud (yes, triple backed up). Some of my raw photos get processed as well, when I have the free time at night. So, that’s that for me. I know nowadays you can do a lot of things that a laptop can do with a goddamn phone but, that’s like saying a right hand can substitute your girlfriend for your carnal needs.

Swiss army knife
I figured that I need a set of tools to MacGyver around, especially when I’m packed tight and do not have the access to tools like when I’m at home. Can be used to remedy a life threatening situation like cutting a tag from newly bought clothes, removing a splinter from a finger, removing a piece of annoying beef stuck in between my incisors, opening a bottle of wine or a can of tuna in the kitchen, cutting up a fruit, etc. I got a Huntsman 1.3713, courtesy of my credit card points.


I’ll add more to the list as I grow older.

michaelooi  | enlightenments, places  | 

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