It’s exactly 8 days until I am leaving for this year’s adventure. Since I won’t rent a car this year, but will be travelling by train mostly, I tried to plan ahead and think about what I really and absolutely need to take with me and what will be unnecessary baggage. Still, I noticed that there are a few things that I depend heavily on, especially while being abroad:
Sunscreen and skin care in general
Since I can remember, my skin has been high-maintenance. I get breakouts from almost everything such as food, dust, sun or stress. Since travelling combines many of these factors, I am careful to pack all of my skin care things. This time I will bring my favorite cleanser from Sebamed in a travel size and probably stock up on the things I used while I lived in Ohio which was mostly from Neutrogena or AcneFree. Both work fine for me.
As I have very fair skin, I usually end up with a sunburn within the first two days even if it is cloudy. Last time I went whale-watching and even though I used sunscreen, I ended up with a nasty burn and blister on my nose. It took me a week to get rid of it otherwise I would have ended up looking like Rudolph on my friend’s wedding pictures. This trip I thus come prepared: First of all Neutrogena Clear Face Sunblock Lotion with 30 SPF which I like a lot because I don’t feel like I bathed in oil after applying it to my face. The second sunscreen that I am bringing is a foundation with 30 SPF from Shiseido. It is one of the few foundations that don’t cause breakouts with me and that I can use everyday.
My Iphone and other technical stuff
I know I am a typical smartphone addict. My iPhone holds all of my everyday information that I need, all of my contacts, my calendar, my music. I have tried travelling without my phone, without service or without data, simply relying on free WiFi in restaurants or cafés. It doesn’t work for me so far. I hate having to stop somewhere to connect my phone to Wifi in order to look up some places or to google the way. I love using Twitter and/or Instagram when I’m travelling and posting pictures right away. Call me spoilt, but my Vodafone service works all over the EU which is why I decided to go with an American SIM card this time. I’ll probably be able to tell you more after the trip when I can say for certain that it worked. As of now: I ordered a SIM from SIMbee online for 30 USD. I will have unlimited texting and calls within the US, plus 300 MB of data (after that it will become slower), plus a certain amount of free calls worldwide.
Usually, I’d say that I’m a heavy sleeper. I never wake up to any noise outside because I have got used to it, I guess. When I travel, however, I feel like I sleep more lightly which means that in hostel dorms I constantly wake up due to noises. Two years ago, in Boston, I got really mad at the A/C in my dorm room that couldn’t be turned down and kept making so much noise right above my head. The staff at the hostel was very sorry and they provided me with a dozen free pairs of ear plugs. I have to admit that it takes some time to get used to them, but since then I don’t travel without Ohropax anymore.
Be it summer or winter, I always bring a XXL scarf which I can use as a scarf, a blanket or a pillow. Air conditioning can be cold even during summer and when you have to spend some time freezing, a scarf can safe you from getting sick. Been there in Thailand where I caught a bad cold from air conditioning on a bus (didn’t have any blankets) and had to stay in bed for three days missing out on a good time on Koh Samui.
Shoes are always a big question mark on my packing list. They take up so much space and still I can never decide on which and how many to bring. They are often the reason that I overpack. I guess gone are the days where I only brought my trusted Converse and a pair of Havaianas to walk around. Lately I had issues with my knees and I know for certain that I will need comfortable shoes on my trip if I don’t want to take an ibuprofen every night. So far (list is not finalized yet) I decided on my Bata shoes which feel like Birkenstocks but don’t make my feet look that big, a pair of sneakers with insoles and my Minnetonkas. I’ll also bring old flip flops for showering in the hostels, just to be safe. Since I like to go shopping anyways, I’ll have a reason to go if it turns out that I really need more shoes (I always do) or that one of the pairs I brought isn’t comfy enough. I was thinking about buying these sandals from Crocs which is something I thought I’d never say about anything from Crocs.
What are your must-pack items? Is there anything that you can’t live without while being abroad? I’m curious!