Going on a long trip around the world or InterRailing through Europe can be daunting for the novice traveller as there can be plenty of things that can go wrong, whether that be luxuries from everyday life that you have to give up or inconveniences along the way.
Here, we’ll look at 9 things you can do to make travelling that little bit easier, more comfortable, and much more enjoyable. All of these tips simply require a little bit of preparation before you leave!
Roll your clothes instead of folding them
Isn’t it annoying spending lots of time neatly folding your clothes before you travel, putting them in your bag, and finding them all creased up when you arrive at the hotel? Surely everything should stay neat and tidy once folded inside your case! It sounds counterintuitive, but you should actually avoid folding your clothes. Instead, roll them up. The benefit of rolling is you’re not adding any folds to your clothes which can turn into creases during transit, so they’ll come out the other end looking neat and tidy. Plus, rolling saves a lot of space too!
Try rolling your clothes around something large in the centre, such as a wash bag, a pair of shoes or flip flops, or a bundle of underwear, with all your garments that must not be creased wrapped around the outside.
Drop a pin on your map app to mark important locations
Are you travelling abroad to a place where you won’t get a cellphone signal? Unfortunately, in many places, roaming with your smartphone can get very expensive, particularly on data charges. This is why many tourists resort to turning off their data allowance when out of their home country. However, this can make navigation difficult in an unfamiliar city. While Google Maps now allows you to download offline maps to your device, it is still not possible to get navigation instructions while offline. Furthermore, landmarks such as your hotel, local shops, and restaurants don’t get saved on your offline map by default, so while you can now see where you are, it’s still difficult to know exactly where you’re going. This is where dropped pins come in.
Make navigation in a foreign country that little bit easier by dropping a pin on important locations that you need to navigate to. For example, when you leave your hotel for the first time on your trip, drop a pin on its location to make it easier to find again. Or if you’re driving and you’ve just parked your car, drop a pin on its location so you can get back to it easily.
Bring a portable power pack
On the topic of smartphones, chances are that the device in your pocket is an integral part of your life that you just couldn’t do without. It can be daunting to go without a source of power for 12 hours or more, particularly for those who want to use their devices regularly throughout the day. That’s why it’s always a great idea to bring a portable power pack along to keep your devices charged up. Skip the smaller ones that only give you one charge of your device. Instead, opt for a larger one with a 6000 mAH battery that’s usually good for four charges of your iPhone, or even a 10,000 mAH one or larger if you want to charge larger devices like a tablet or watch videos while you travel. Look for ones with two USB ports so you can charge two devices at a time!
A power pack is essential on both long-haul flights as well as train trips, particularly if you’re looking to travel across Europe, where many of the trains don’t have power plugs at each seat.
Bring moisturiser for long-haul flights
Long-haul flights can really take their toll on your body, particularly as the air inside an aircraft tends to be much drier than it is back down on terra ferma. The air can really dry out your skin, making you feel that little bit worse when you arrive jet lagged at your destination. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack a quick-action moisturiser for you to use prior to the flight and again once you’ve arrived. Look out for smaller ones that fit in the 100 ml hand luggage allowance, as well as in-shower moisturiser sprays, which help you moisturise much quicker than standard ones where you need to wait for the cream to soak in!
Take an empty bottle with you
We’re all aware of the limits on taking liquids through security on flights, which is a real pain as many people must resort to overpriced bottled water at the airport. However, there’s no restriction on taking empty bottles through security. Next time you travel, bring an empty bottle, and once you’re through security, either find a water fountain to fill it up or ask for tap water at one of the bars. Over several trips, the savings can really add up!
Put underwear in your shoes to save space
Got a lot to fit into your bag? It’s important to make best use of all the space you have, and that includes the space inside your shoes. This space is perfect for storing smaller pieces of clothing, particularly underwear, which can be crumpled up to fit in tight spaces. Not only that, but filling your shoes with items of clothing helps them to keep their shape in your bag. There’s nothing worse than arriving with badly deformed shoes due to packing your bag tightly — if done regularly, this can damage them.
Keep shirt collars looking smart using a belt
When people think of backpackers, the word “scruffy” tends to come to mind. What about those who want to travel but also dress smart, for example to fit a strict nightclub dress code? Dress shirts can be hard to keep looking smart if they’re to be stowed in a backpack. We’ve already looked at how to keep them uncreased by rolling instead of folding, but what about the collar, which could get crushed? This is where your belt can come in handy. Simply roll up your belt and place it inside the collar area of your shirt before you wrap it around other pieces of clothing. Your collar will look nice and neat when you arrive!
Bring travel detergent
Are you heading away from the city or don’t have the time (or money) to go to a laundrette during your travels? Bring a tube of travel detergent with you. These travel detergents usually come in 100 ml packs so they’ll fit in your hand luggage and allow you wash your clothes anywhere — all you need is water and a bucket. It even works with sea water! The only other thing you might want to bring is a washing line that you could hang in your bathroom to dry.
Put a soap bar in your dirty laundry
Do you ever take the free soap bars that are usually left in your hotel bathroom? These can be great for keeping your dirty clothes from stinking up your case. Simply bung the soap bar in with your dirty clothes and the aroma will help keep your clothes smelling fresh, even if you’ve worn them several times without a wash.
Featured photo credit: Ashim D’Silva via unsplash.com