23 January 2014

10 Items NOT to Take Travelling

Before writing this post I did my research to see if others had similar items on their lists. I found one article that highlighted some of the avoid-items I have listed but this article was met with a million and one comments saying the writer was an idiot. Apparently it’s obvious what NOT to take, and any traveller would know that. However, there are some beginners out there, and even some of the most experienced nomads have their backpacks full of crap, I included. This post is more aimed for the less-experienced, haven’t been travelling out of their pockets for three years kinda person. Also, it is more aimed for a traveller on the go, rather than my backpacking life where I get lazy and live somewhere for six months at a time. So here is my list of ten items you should avoid on your travels. Please feel free to state the obvious, but hey, no gypsy nomad backpacker is perfect.

1. Photos – you won'’t forget what your boyfriend, mum, dog looks like so no need for photos. You'll look like an idiot sticking these up for two nights at a time in every hostel you stay in, and no doubt you have a phone with photos on, or you have a memory? Leave the photos you printed off during your lunch break at home, I'm sure your dog won’t be upset.

2. Heels – or just more than 2/3 pairs of shoes. This is mainly a girl error, but I'm no judge. They're bulky, they're heavy and no one else will be wearing them. Plus you'll be able to last much longer in that grungy club in eastern Europe without them.

3. Laptop – people who take laptops travelling really annoy me. Only in the sense that if you're moving cities every two days, then why do you need a laptop? If staying at certain places for weeks at a time I can understand but I've seen friends take MACs on three day city breaks. They're expensive, you probably won’t be insured for the full amount of the laptop, and they're heavy! Leave it out or buy a travel size netbook/iPad; most hostels have free computers and WIFI anyway.

4. Hair-dryer – hostels will have them, if not then man up, you're probably in a hot country where sweating even more isn't ideal.

5. The whole of the pharmacy – take your basics, pain killers, plasters, malaria tablets, voila. I've got a friend who could give the Doctor’s surgery a run for its money when she travels. You can buy emergency stuff in other countries, even if can't understand the packaging its better than trying to find your malaria tablets if you're rummaging round a first aid kit with every tablet under the sun.

6. A million and one cameras - I know if you have a snazzy camera you like to think you're some kind of freelance photographer, but trust me, you're not. I've seen friends take SLR cameras, GoPros with a million and one lens on holiday. Why???? Just take the one, or do as I do and just use my phone. 

7. One too many books – two words, book exchange. Obviously put, books are heavy and space consuming. Take a few cheap paperbacks and then swap them with a book exchange that most hostels have. Your Kindle is too expensive and too annoying to charge along with your phone, camera and iPod. Leave it out.

8. Shower gel – just use soap, which can also be used for your washing, pots, pans etc. As a guilty skin-care, hair-care freak, I already know the amount of crap girls (and guys arguably) can take with them travelling. So I have now learnt to ditch the many bottles of products and stick with soap and shampoo.

9. Food – you don't need much food. Take a snack for the journey then grab anything else on the way. Half the fun of travelling to other countries is to see their versions of chocolate bars. Also, avoid taking any ‘home’ food, if you're living in a place for a while and you get desperate for a jar of marmite, then get it shipped over, postage can be surprisingly cheap these days.

10. More than one guidebook – heavy, bulky. Admittedly a travel book has saved my neck a few times, so I understand the use of having them. But I've seen backpackers with Lonely Planets for five different countries, rather than a collective book that covers the area. Research the ‘need to knows’ before you go then these books won’t even be missed.

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