When staying at a backpackers lodge in Cape Town, I have been told horror stories about travellers that had carried too much with them on their travels; the first time I went overseas I packed one pair of jeans, five t-shirts, a coat, a pair of shorts and dress that did not need ironing. I detested all these items with the utmost passion 5 weeks later having worn, washed and carted them around on my back for weeks.
These days I am a wee bit cannier, I can still pack light but I pack clever. Feel free to take or leave the following advice:-
The first rule of travel packing is take clothes that you normally wear. You are not going to wear that specially designed overprice safari shirt again. Its damn ugly and you aren’t going to wear despite its sun and mosquito repelling qualities. You will have something that is light and long sleeved that will suit your African safari just as well and you won’t feel like a freak. Take your favourites. Sometimes when you are homesick for vegemite or apple pie wearing your favourite frock can put a smile on your dial 🙂
Shoes. Get a pair shoes that you would wear “out” but you can walk in. Spend more than you ever have before. It is worth your entire shoe budget to get comfortable but amazing shoes. You will wonder why you have never done this before. Thongs/flip flops depending on your nationality. These are very versatile and double up as slippers when away from home. Also there may be places on your travels (not here at Ashanti) where you may want something between you and the shower floor if you know what we mean.
Clothes that roll and don’t crush. I have this amazing pair of jersey trousers .. so soft, so pretty. (I bought them at the Gardens at Big Blue) So comfortable. They will forgive an feast, be worn at a dance party or out joling around town. For you newbies – joling is to go out and have fun. Seriously don’t forget pack things that are comfortable!
T-shirts. Nothing says where you come from more than a t-shirt. The Aussies with their triple j t-shirts. The Americans with their Redskins, Penguins and New Your Yankees. The Kiwis with their all black t-shirts. Give it up you guys we all know SA has the best teams!
Medicines. Some countries require scripts for things that you can get in the supermarket at home. Bring your favourite cold sore cream, headache tablets just in case. If you occasional need a special cream and potion bring a script from home just in case.
Guide Books .. the advent of tablets mean that you don’t have to take all those books .. just your adapter and plug to recharge.
Power board. If you are taking a phone, tablet, computer .. think about just bringing a power board. You only need one country adapter then.
Travel diary. 20 years from now you will flick through and be amazed that you did write down the address of that blond boy from Estonia .. Should you send him the photo that you took atop of the mountain?
Don’t forget though.. we do have shops here in Cape town if you forget anything!