As it’s finally time for part 5, and it’s only fitting since it’s about packing, and today is my last day in Canada until May 31st! In the case that this is the first time you are stumbling upon one of these posts of mine, welcome to my travel prep series! In a series of 5 posts, I have (and will be) discussing how I get ready for my trips abroad in the hopes that it will help some of you prepare for future trips of your own! In this post I will be discussing everything to do with packing! (And you will see below, why packing gets an entire post to itself!) Also, if you would like to read parts 1-4 first, you can find links to all of them below this article! If you have already read the previous sections, or would just like to jump right in part 5, please read on!
– Packing –
Congratulations, you have made it to the packing stage of your travel preparations! Although, if you have started packing, this does not mean that you can’t do any more research on your destination! Don’t think of this as a strict set of rules, but rather as a checklist! Chronologically you could also do most of it in another order entirely, except maybe that you wouldn’t pack before picking a destination or buying tickets. There’s quite a bit of planning that goes into packing as well, and again that research! This time it’s a little more fun though, don’t worry. Unless you’re like me and had fun the entire time you were researching all the things. But anyway, depending on where you are going, you just really have to take into consideration where in the world your destination is, and the weather patterns for the specific time you are going.
When I rent to Romania last October, I didn’t have to do any research beyond asking my grandparents how the temperatures and weather are usually like around that time of year. I mostly packed casual clothing, most of it cozy and warm (because it would be cold, and the heating in Romania is not like what we are used to in North America). I also packed one set of nicer clothes, because I knew that we would be going out for dinner in the city at least once. So weather, and activities play a very important role in what you will be packing! If you’re going to a resort in Cuba, let’s say, you’d pack a million bikinis, beach clothes, pajamas, and clothes for going to the club/bar.
For the trip I will be leaving on tomorrow (oh my gosh, I still can’t believe it!) I will be packing a variety of things because I will be doing a variety of things. We will be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing, so I packed a comfortable pair of shoes. While most people will pack running shoes for this, I only wear running shoes when I go to the gym because if I have them on for longer than an hour, my feet overheat to a very uncomfortable level. So, wearing running shoes would make the walking and sightseeing less pleasant for me. And since we won’t be doing any hiking, I’m figuring it’s fine that I don’t pack running shoes. I am also bringing three pairs of sandals with me, for when we’ll be in Tokyo just walking around, looking pretty (haha), and also for when we’re doing the same thing in Seoul, South Korea.
I am also bringing my short rain booties, because last time I had not packed rain boots (since I didn’t think them necessary, and all of my boots were cracked and leaking at the time), and I had wet feet whenever it rained. Flats are not the best option for rainy weather, people! Or at least not rain in Asia. I learned this the hard way, and you can see in the pictures below just how rainy it was when we went to Kamakura in 2014, and how I’m wearing flats in all of that. I am also contemplating bringing a pair of high heels, but doubt that I will go through with it, since I have a weak ankle, and I twisted it again just a few weeks ago (go me). So, maybe I will compromise and pack a pair of pretty flats in stead, even if it makes my already-short legs look shorter. Sigh. I’m trying to adulting, can’t you tell?!
Besides shoes, there are also some other basics. For sightseeing, I’ve packed three pairs of shorts, yoga pants, and some plain t-shirts. I’m not trying to impress anyone, but rather just want to see the beautiful country that is Japan. For days in the city, I have packed some dresses, my best two pairs of jeans, and some nice flowy shirts. If it’s going to be anything like how it was the last time I was in Japan (which was also in May), I will not regret packing those flowy shirts, because it will be hot out.
There are also, of course, the basics: underwear, bras, socks, makeup (if you wear makeup), skincare (if you do skincare), tampons (if you’re female and are expecting your Aunt Flo to be joining you on your trip uninvited), razors (if you don’t want to start looking like a Sasquatch), deodorant, perfume, all of your important documents (such as tickets, maps, vouchers for your JR pass, and other stuff like that), a pen, my phone charger, my laptop and its charger, my passport and a photocopy of the main page of my passport (thank you for the suggestion Melanie!), cash, cards, and a change of clothes in my backpack.
In the case that you have never traveled by plane before, I just want to let you know that you cannot pack any containers with over 100 ml of liquid in them in your backpack or carry on luggage (or purse, basically anything you will be taking to your plane seat with you)! All bottled liquids have to go in your large luggage. When it comes to makeup, I therefore pack maybe my mascara (because it’s less than 100 ml), and possibly a pocket mirror with powder, just so I don’t scare anyone. The rest of my makeup will be going into my big luggage, and I will just have to hope that my big luggage will make it to where I am! I’ve never had issues with my luggage before, and here’s hoping that I never will…but I have heard some horror stories, haha. That is one of the reasons why I will be packing a change of clothes to have with me in my backpack! The last thing you want, after 15 hours of travel is to be stuck in the stinky clothes you left your home with. I don’t mean that you would put on stinky clothes, but rather that they will become stinky as you’re traveling, haha! Trust me, even if you don’t have access to a shower right away, for whatever reason, a change of clothes will make you feel loads better.
Those of you who take medication, make sure to that you order enough of it to last you the entire trip! And those of you not on any regular medication, be sure to pack certain emergency items such as medication for headaches, stomach aches, diarrhea, bug bites, antibacterial cream, and band-aids for blisters and little cuts just in case!
Another important item (which I mentioned above, but deserves its own section) is your passport! You should make sure, some weeks (or even months) in advance that it is up to date and everything is in order! Some countries will not let you enter if your passport expires within 6 months from the date you leave the country you are traveling to. I had to update my passport last Fall for my trip to Europe, because my passport was going to expire in 6 months and although Romania would have let me into the country, I had a layover in Holland and would have had to deal with some stressful stuff there if I didn’t update my passport. It’s good for 5ish years now, so I didn’t have to worry about that at all while preparing for this particular trip, but I wanted those of you reading to be aware of these things, just in case!
And yet another important thing to look into is plugs! Depending on where you travel to, the wall plugs might be different. It’s very important to look into that, and see if you need a plug converter. Airports will usually sell those as well, but I don’t want to depend on that and then be left without a converter and have all of my technology die on me. I own one from my previous travels, so I packed that one with me. Japan has the same plugs as Canada and the U.S., so I don’t need it there, but South Korea has plugs different from ours, so it’ll be necessary during my week there.
My How I Prepare for a Trip Abroad Series:
AND THUS ENDS MY TRAVEL PREP SERIES! I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND ALL OF THE POSTS HELPFUL, AND IF NOT, THAT YOU WILL LEAVE ME FEEDBACK ON HOW TO IMPROVE IN THE FUTURE! PLEASE LEAVE ANY THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS IN THE SECTION BELOW!