Thursday, January 11, 2007

travel must-haves

Simplicity is key when traveling on the pack. One must be critical in determining what are the necessities and what one could do without. Even after all these years of living on the knapsack, I always end up bringing something I never get to use anyways. Though one can argue between travel light vs. bring what you can carry, which is for another post all together.

Anyways, here are your travel basics.


  1. Change of clothes. Make sure they are lightweight and dries easily. Since you are going around the Philippines, anything that is knit, wool or tweed is out of the question. Cotton, linen, dri-fit and similar outfits would be best. A light sweater or jacket would also be useful since in some places, nights can be cool. One pair of jeans would also suffice for a five-day trip. It could warm you in air-conditioned bus rides as well. Though if you are going to places like Baguio, Sagada or Bukidnon, a thick jacket would be a must. And never ever forget your swimsuit if you are going to the beach!!!
  2. Comfortable footwear. Most of the time, I would just wear some rubber sandals or flip-flops for the entire duration of a trip, especially when it's a beach or mountain destination. They are easy to put-on and take-off, and can dry quickly should they get wet. It allows your feet to breathe, as well, especially if you are going to do a lot of walking and exploration. Sneakers and rubber shoes would also do nicely, but are not as handy as sandals are. Anything other than those, would be just bothersome weight.
  3. Toiletries. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you hygiene does too. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste. Those are the basics. I have some other stuff too, but they are quite small and hardly weigh much. Forget about family sized anything. The smaller, the better. I use those containers you get from hotels to hold my shampoo and conditioner. Sachets are fine, but I try to avoid them if just because it is less environmentally-friendly. Do include a mosquito repellant in your list of to-brings because it is awfully helpful when outdoors at night. Tissue paper would also be advised to avoid using your bus receipts for desperate measures.
  4. Ziploc/Plastic Bags. It usually helps to pack your things in plastic bags or ziploc. Should some misfortune like a sudden downpour occur or your water container spills, and it gets your bag wet, at least most of your stuff remain dry. For my clothes (except underwear), I'm not as vigilant about this. But for things like my camera, batteries, books, paper and anything that should not get wet, I make sure it's wrapped in plastic. Spare plastic would be also good to use for your laundry and wet clothes.
  5. Camera. My buddies and I are camera-whores. If you want to get people together, the magic word is simply, "Picture!" They’d all come rushing in. That definitely works for me and my friends. Kodak was not kidding when it said, "These are the moments. Don't let them pass you by." Words would never be enough to tell others how great your adventure was, and time could blur the memories of your trip. But photos will always bring back the memories with clarity. And twenty years from now, you can prove to your kid that at one point in your life, that you were actually young and that you weighed less than when they got to know you.
  6. Cash. Don't forget to bring your ATM and/or credit card as well. But only use it when necessary. Some places may not have cash machines, nor may not accept credit cards anyway. So good old paper money is still the most reliable. It is a budget trip, and you aim to spend little while doing more. Nonetheless, you WILL spend. Once you have calculated the amount you will be needing before your trip, bloat it up 50-100%. That doesn't mean you should use it up though! It is for contigency purposes. And should you find a trinket or souvenir you'd want to buy, you wouldn't have to worry about not getting home if you do buy it.
  7. Water. Though mineral water is generally available in most places, it would still be best to bring at least a 500ml bottle with you. Take sips during your journey to avoid dehydration, but don't drink too much so you won't need to go the rest room often. Hydration is necessary on a trip, especially when you are under the sun most of the time.
  8. Food. Just something to nibble on, really. Like biscuit and chips. This would reduce your expenses considerably since most resorts add at least 50% to the grocery price of a product. Coke in cans that you can get for Php13.00 would fetch at least P20.00 from vendors and P35.00 from resorts. Crackers and cookies can sometimes substitute for a meal if you are desperate. Though it is not advisable to do this often as it may lead to uncontrolled laughter, restlessness and additional trips to the restroom.
  9. First-aid kit. It's better to be safe than sick. You might just need basic medicines like Bonamine, Biogesic, Diatabs, Immodium and Advil, so it's best to just have them. Band-aids, burn ointment, calamine lotion and iodine would be helpful for little cuts, bites and scratches you may get.
  10. Flashlight. In case you end up in a place that does not have electricity yet, which is often my case when I travel for work. This would also be helpful for walking unfamiliar territories at night, and so you can see the carabao poop littered on the grassy path to your hut.

There might be a thing or two I missed, but looking at the list, I'm pretty comfortable going out with those stuff. Some people prefer bringing a swiss knife to their trips, and I see the logic in that. Except I don't have one. So if you do, do bring it. It can pop open your wine or beer bottle or file your nails when you are bored.

If you do have something to add, you are more than welcome to share.

1 comment:

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