By way of introduction I married an outdoorsy Croatian guy. He stands by the life principle that you should be ‘prepared for anything’ when travelling with him. For those unfamiliar – it basically means that at any given time you should be expecting to be doing something you were not expecting to be doing.
Marrying this bloke has its perks I’ll admit, he’s full of beans, happy-go-lucky and loves last minute getaways. We have unexpected overnighters and work remotely from Nona’s balcony in Split when the flights are on sale too. But the language barrier between me and the fam in his hometown has its challenges. It means I often end up in places I don’t know, with people I don’t know, and I’m fundamentally ill-prepared.
In the peak of Summer of 2018, I was caught unawares having only denim shorts, wet bikinis and slippery thongs (flip-flops) for a ‘quick dip’ at the local beach. Sounds fine, but within 30mins of such beach talk I was on a 5km guided hike with his uncle to a popular UNESCO site. In the middle of an island. With no water, no snacks, or sunscreen.
See, this is what happens. Being blessed with fair skin, low blood pressure and a hangry attitude, this exercise was an effing nightmare for me.
Summer is coming so here’s my top 6 tips for being prepared for anything next time you travel.
1. Carry-On Only.
Think like a minimalist and pack light. Ask yourself what you need and what is a nice to have so you can maximise your time at your destination. Pack a lightweight collapsible tote so you can carry supplies to the “beach”.
2. Backpacks are everything. Choose wisely.
Choose your trusty travel bag wisely. Look for lots of zips, pockets and a laptop sleeve so if you travel with tech, you can free your arms up to scan boarding passes and fidget with that annoying little bag of liquids under 100mL without dropping your favourite perfume.
When you forget about the incidental costs of travelling (exuberant transport, last-minute duty-free gifts etc.), avoiding airport food is best for your bank balance. Healthy snacks are handy when travelling to keep your energy-high and mood boosted. Squeeze in a ready-to-drink smoothie on the train so you don’t have to buy something when you get there. Our jelly sticks are a great quick fix if you’re stuck on the tarmac, or if you’re in a holding pattern while air traffic control plays solitaire, wellness shots are a great when the in-flight bar’s closed.
4. Swap plastic for Stainless Steel
Eco-friendly and thrifty at the terminal gate where water costs close to £4 a bottle, stainless steel water bottles are a lifesaver. I have my favourite obvs (Very Berry Stainless Steel Bottle) and highly recommend packing one of these babes in the side pocket of your backpack. Drink the dregs before you line up to scan your bags so it’s empty and fill up on the other side of duty free with tap water. Free and fine most of the time*. *Do not try this in India.
5. No such thing as too many pairs.
If you think you need two days of undies, pack five, just in case. I know this contradicts point 1. but roll them up to reduce space, they will fit somehow. Better to be fresh and comfortable below the belt, always.
6. Need the bathroom? Go.
Never bypass the opportunity for the toilet – it’s simple. Even if you think you don’t need to go, go anyway, as you never know when your next pit-stop will be, or where. I’ve made this mistake before.