My Top Tips for Carrying Your Life on Your Back.

I own a lot of stuff. A lot of bits and bobs. Of course, I couldn’t take my whole life with me to American and Canada, so I have a few tips and trades to make your life a little bit easier when travelling.

Pack Wisely
This is the most important element of packing, remember to pack wisely. My sister and I made a list of everything we wanted to take with us travelling, we then made a second list of everything that we needed, rather than wanted. I would recommend minimising the weight load:

    • If you need one take a lightweight travel hairdryer, they are smaller and more convenient.
    • Buy essentials when you arrive to your destination- shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Minimises your baggage allowance at the airport.
    • Don’t overload on shoes. You need a comfortable pair of walking shoes, one nice pair of formal shoes and reliable flip flops.
    • If you are travelling in winter, try to take one thick, warm jumper instead of a couple. You can always wear two tops underneath to keep warm.

Fold your clothes as small as possible, or some people recommend rolling your clothes to make further room in your backpack. If you have compartments in your backpack, I would recommend categorising them; one pocket for toiletries, one for underwear (etc). And don’t make the mistake I did by packing your pyjamas at the bottom of your backpack, leave them at the top so they are easy to find. Just pack what you need!

Remember Your Documents
This is quite an important one to remember, to remember your travel documents.

    • Passport
    • Relevant Visa
    • Travel card, Currency Card and Foreign money
    • Travel insurance- confirmation, agreement, terms & conditions
    • I would recommend taking photocopies of your important documents- passport, driver’s license, and visa.
    • Back up every document on a memory stick. A useful trick to remember!

Plan Ahead
If you are the spontaneous type, this might be a difficult one for you. I would there are times where you need to be wise and plan ahead. My sister and I we are very organised people, who like to book and plan ahead. If you don’t fancy doing this for your whole trip, I would recommend just planning and booking your first accommodation. After a long day of travelling, going through customs and passport control, you’ll want to have accommodation booked so you can get settled for the first night and have a good night sleep.

Be Confident and Be Wise
The world is a very scary place and I understand if you are planning to go away for the first time, away from home, your family and friends this can be a daunting adventure. Remember to be confident and wise. The best advice I can give you is to be 100% confident in yourself and if you are travelling with someone else, then be confident in them as well. It will be very difficult to fit in with a giant backpack on your back, but don’t let this intimidate you. Act confident, know where you are going, plan ahead and you will be fine. You won’t get very far if you are too afraid to step outside the front door, take the step and be self-assured. Believe me when I say you won’t regret it and you will feel so confident in yourself every step of the way.

The 50/50 – Do you take hand luggage?
This one is a 50/50 decision. Some people prefer to travel with just a backpack and others like having the second hand luggage. Faye and I took hand luggage on wheels, so it was very manageable with a backpack on. We decided to take hand luggage to keep our important documents, and technology devices close to us. I felt this came in handy when travelling between places. Faye and I used the Greyhound Bus Service to begin with in America, for which our backpacks were stowed underneath in the luggage compartments. We then kept our hang luggage with us, and this made us feel secure having our important items with us at all times.

Don’t look like a Tourist
This was a tough one for me, to blend in and not look like a tourist. And I know what you are thinking, how can you travel with a huge backpack on your back, and look like a local. I admit when I first arrived in Vancouver, I opened up a map and unfortunately, I did feel like a target. The world is not perfect and pickpockets do exist. Don’t make this mistake, we learnt to research before we reached our destination, we knew how to get from one location to the other and we always had a plan to stick to. If you can follow this, you won’t need a map. However don’t be put off by this; I happily used a map and had my camera out in certain areas. Areas which are filled with thousands of other tourists and travellers, people who are in the same position as you and would be happy to help you if needed. Research and assess the situation J

Travelling is one of the best experiences of my life. Have fun, take millions of pictures, research, plan, and pack wisely, be confident, be wise, be a local, use your common sense and always wear comfortable shoes.

Are you planning to travel? Solo? With someone? Check in and ask questions! I will be happy to help with your travels and pre-packing travels.

That’s it for now. Speak soon.

Sadie Chillingworth

23/12/2016

P.S Have Each Other Backs.

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