Saturday, 11 January 2020

BLOG VOYAGE PACKING LIST: FORGET IT AND YOU'LL REGRET IT


1. Sun cream
It may sound obvious, but sun cream is probably the most essentiall-y essential you can essentially get. Essentially. It’s also a globally expensive commodity, so if you have a bottle tucked away at home somewhere, do pack it. Always wrap it in an old carrier bag to avoid any spillages (we’ve had to learn the hard way, my kindle cover is stained with Factor 30).
It doesn’t matter if you’re going somewhere hot or cold, UV rays penetrate the sky on both cloudy and cloudless days. Haze and I got more tanned in the most Southern city in the world: Ushuaia, the nearest city to Antarctica, than we did in tropical Brazil! Windburn can catch you out in cooler countries too -- some people in our hostel came back from a hike with bright red cheeks because the wind had cooled their skin and prevented them from realising they were burning. Suncream is useful even when you're on top of a mountain!
2. Walking boots
Georgie will challenge me to the death here about how her Docs are perfectly fine for trekking mountains, but I think she’s conveniently forgotten how, as we climbed down from the 3 base trek in Chile, she had to hold my hand for support most of the way. It sounds cute but in the context of if-not-she-might-break-her-ankle, it’s actually rather bleak. Fortunately, her ankles are still intact, though her Docs are probably not going to make it much further than New Zealand, now their soles resemble the underside of skis….
*You’re right, I am here to contest their brilliant 'multi-purposeness'! I’ve used DMs to hike, trek, ride horses, walk, beach, and travel in. However, I will say that supple leather (bought before I was a veggie) is not the best support on the ankles for difficult hikes downhill. I did not anticipate hiking or trekking as much as we have over the last 2+ months and I don’t own walking boots anyway… I think if you are considering hiking, which, if you travel to South America it's likely you'll at least be attempting easy treks, make the investment before you go. And their soles are perfectly intact thanks very much...
3. Kindle
I could harp on about e-readers until I turn as purply-pink as my font colour! I am reading a 1,500-page novel and if you have been following us on social media, you’ll see from the picture that I wouldn’t have lugged it around with me had I bought the paperback. Hazel has zoomed through 5 or 6 novels and still can access them whenever she wants instead of having to leave them behind in hostels. It’s light, it has an amazing battery life, and it’s affordable if you buy second hand! Haze got hers on eBay and I stole my mum’s so we were set for the trip. It frees up space in your hand luggage, plus you have a library at your fingertips.
4. Padlock
Until this trip, I’d only use a padlock when I travel to lock my suitcase before a flight, so when I realised that my backpack didn’t have those zips with the holes in to make them lockable, I just left my padlock at home. I am an idiot. Almost every hostel has lockers which have, guess what, a hole to put your padlock in so you can keep your stuff safely stored away when you’re out. Luckily, Georgie had two padlocks. I’ll forgive her for the Docs.
5. Sleeping liner
Get yourself a sleeper or a lightweight sleeping bag to take with you. I bought mine for £10 on Amazon and it claims to be anti-bacterial, bug-repellent and easy to wash. It’s perfect if you’re not too trusting of the hostel’s hygiene standards (which can often be the case) or if you’re simply in a country where mosquitoes are a nuisance. I’ve been able to avoid curious stains and poorly washed sheets, I’ve also prevented mozzies from feasting on my legs and ankles in the night. Although there really isn’t much you can do to protect your face…
6. Bumbag
This is definitely one for the hot countries (in Patagonia I could just put my valuables in my coat pockets). Not many of my dresses or skirts had anywhere to put your phone and purse, and little bags are easy to lose if you’re sitting down on buses or benches. We rocked the bumbag look throughout Brazil - we could be sure that we had our purse and our phone on us at all times, have free hands as we were walking and no ugly bag strap tan-lines on our shoulders. Perfecto!
7. Worldwide adapter
It’s a given but also easy to forget. I only brought one adapter with me and because I use my laptop to write a lot, I regret not bringing two. We knew we would need a ‘worldwide’ one because we planned to go to New Zealand and South America from the start, but even Brazil uses a different charging port to Argentina and Chile, so it is probably worth the extra £ to get a worldwide adapter even if you’re only planning to travel a few neighbouring countries! Labels might be useful, Haze accidentally picked up someone else’s adapter thinking it was hers. She got over the guilt pretty quickly when she realised that she had two and could charge her laptop and kindle at the same time…
8. Reusable bags
Not just shoppers, but bin bags to keep things dry, re-sealable bags for food (or freezer bags with pegs/clips), bags for dirty and clean washing… just bring a load of bags! And another bag in whatever bag you’re carrying around with you – too many times we’ve had bananas falling out of our pockets on the walk back to the hostel because we decided to top up on groceries after a day out and hadn’t brought the bags with us!

9. Sleeping mask & neck pillow
I can’t sleep with the light on so I wear a sleeping mask every night anyway, but it is great for long flights, bus journeys, or hostel rooms that don’t have curtains! There’s nothing worse than not being able to get to sleep, or being woken up, because of the light (which happens a lot when you share a room with 7 other people all getting up at different times).
I bought an adorable pink giraffe neck pillow on one of our lunch stops on our long-haul bus journey. I slept notably better with the pillow. I also like to lie in bed to read and as the hostel only gives one pillow per bed, I use my neck pillow to prop me up to the perfect 70-degree comfy reading angle. Weird flex? Yeah whatever.

10. Water bottle
Save money and the environment and bring your own bottle. *But the water isn’t always drinkable* I hear you splutter. Although they’re a little on the pricey side, we invested in filter bottles (LifeStraw for me and Water To Go for G) which cleans any water (within reason) before we drink it. Plus, most hostels have filtered water available anyway. Looking to stay hydrated, save money and be environmentally-friendly abroad? I’d tap that!

Love, George & Haze xx


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