While some people have packing down to a science, plenty of others can use help. And since I am invariably one of the planners on most of my many trips, I end up putting together a list of things to take for everyone. This time around, I thought I’d make it easy for my travel group and put this together. This is MY basic long list for any trip planned in and around Asia.
If you travel a fair bit on your own (and by this I mean not sponsored travel), here are a few things you really should spend some time researching and spending some money on.
Almost everything else you can work out along the way.
This printable packing list below is a detailed list that works for a two-week trip to most places in Asia. Print it and put it on your cupboard. Once you have put out all the stuff you want to take, tick them off as you put them in your bag.
While taking only carry on luggage, airports and airlines make for temperamental company and its good to be ready. If the plane’s overhead bins are full, then you might have to check in your luggage at the gate. In this case, you will want a few things with you.
I’m taking a large tote and packing it lightly. This means I have more room for all the last-minute shopping, odds and ends I might want to bring back and not have the enough space for in my carry on.
* Passport + copies of all travel documents.
* Travel itinerary with telephone numbers to all your hotels / confirmation or booking numbers.
* Some money. Keep most of it in a money belt on your person, but you will want to have some in your bag to pay for a sandwich or two along the way.
* Empty foldable travel water pouch. Fill this after you clear security instead of buying overpriced bottled water. On a side note: If there’s anything about the water coolers that make you think twice about how safe / hygienic they are, just buy a bottle.
* A light, wool scarf that can double up as a blanket. Remember, no matter how humid or hot it is outside the airport, once you get in, it’s usually cold and dry.
* Chap stick – Again, because it cold and dry
* Makeup – As a tan coloured girl, just the right shade of make up is important to me, especially since I’m travelling to Europe. While I might not wear too much make up on the flight, I still prefer keeping this with me rather that running the risk of losing it, if I have to check in the bag.
* Camera (Chargers can go into your checked in bag)
* Pen + small notebook
* travel battery
* travel neck pillow – There are plenty of kinds out there. I’m fine with the inflatable pillows, that flatten out after use.
* Trail mix to snack on
* Mouth wash
* Chewing gum
* Wet wipes
* Perfume – Take a few sample bottles or a single 100 ml, whichever works better for you. I have migraines and need a clean, fresh day perfume. For the nights, a perfumed cream or oil work well.
* Spare set of clothes (if your bags don’t make it.) I didn’t pack anything extra, simply took one set from the clothes I packed. This included one set of unmentionables, a pair of socks, a top, a small quick dry face towel and a thin scarf.
The great part about this tote I’m taking, is that it has a removable compartment that doubles as a day bag.
For a complete list of all the stuff I packed for a 14 day European summer holiday, click here.
2 weeks in Europe during summer with only a carry on… Here’s how I’m doing it.
Packing to spend two weeks in Europe isn’t easy to begin with and for a serial over packer like me there’s almost no hope. I’m always ready for the worst. There’s always a backup plan and I always seem to have a little something “extra” for that maybe situation that doesn’t always happen.
This time around I’m going on a 2 week trip across Europe (Spain-Germany-Switzerland) and am challenging myself to only take “carry on” luggage. What this meant – Lots of Pintrest/YouTube and LOTS and LOTS of research and my personal favourite – LISTS.
There are plenty of valuable tips out there if you only try to look. At the end of this piece, I will include a few videos that I found very inspirational.
As with any kind of advice – you need to mould it to fit you. If something doesn’t work for you, drop that bit, keep the rest and either create your own solution or find an alternative. It can be done and it’s not difficult.
As always, a few key things you need to do before you start the packing process.
1. Plan your trip and make notes on what kinds of activities you’re into.
2. Pick a colour palette and either make mental notes on all the stuff in your closet that fits into that or make an actual list.
3. Check out the weather in the places you are going to – during the time you are there.
4. Back up all your documents on email / cloud.
5. If you’re tech savvy, check out apps that help you keep track of your itinerary
6. Download pdf/e-book versions of your favourite guide books and don’t tote books around.
7. Prepare to do / pay for a little laundry
8. Remember ‘quick dry’, wrinkle resistant anything is a good idea.
9. Pick a bag that you can hang up for your toiletries. It’s always a good idea and such a space saver when you have a tiny bathroom when travelling.
10. Take a few zip ties. They’re easy to use, cheap and a good idea to secure a whole bunch of things.
11. Pick a 45l bag that you are comfortable to lug around. If a backpack styled bag is more your thing, pick that. If you like strollers better, they work well too. Just make sure its strong and as compact as possible with pockets for organisation. Since I had one already. Here’s my 12-year-old Delsey stroller.
Okay… now that I’m done with the general bits of advice I picked up, here’s my packing list. For ease of use, I’m dividing it into a few smaller lists. I’m also taking a tote, which has a convertible compartment for a day bag option. Click here to see my tote packing list and tips
* 1 set of soft pyjamas
These should preferably have long sleeves and be semi-synthetic. If its hot you can always just use a tank with pyjama bottoms.
* 8 tee shirts + 1 long-sleeved top
This includes the one I will wear on the flight. Bring soft, good quality basic tees that you can wear on your own or layer under a light shirt or cardigan. I tend to avoid the discard as you go rule. I’m probably visiting these places once and want great memories without looking like a vagabond. Pick stuff that’s comfortable and fits you well. Instant confidence guaranteed! See how to fold them into a super tiny parcel here.
* 1 Skirt – This one is khaki coloured, will go with all my tops and has built-in shorts underneath. Perfect for cycling or hiking for a bit and very very comfortable. Got this one from Decathlon (Decathalon – Mumbai) and its quick drying too!
* 2 dresses
An entire outfit in one go, there are few things simpler than a dress. Dress it up or down with accessories and scarves and you can’t go wrong. I took 1 maxi dress and one casual dress. You can afford to step out of your colour theme and be as colourful as you’d like.
* 2 pairs of jeans – both dark blue. One straight cut and one skinny fit. Wear one pair and take another. Pick thin denim so that you aren’t adding to the weight of your bag.
* 1 pair of black jeggings + 1 dressy top
Dress up simple black jeggings with a nice top and jewellery or wear it under a skirts / dresses if it gets too cold. These are really very versatile.
* 2 Long sleeve tops
* 1 light cardigan – I picked a neutral cream coloured one.
* 4 scarves – a mix of coloured and neutral. These are super light, add a pop of colour and don’t take up too much space at all.
* 1 Leather Jacket – This short zip up leather jacket works with all the tops I have and even goes over the dresses. Its light and great on a day when the wind chill is high.
* Trench coat – for all those light drizzles and short cloud bursts. Pick one that’s light but warm.
* Underwear – 4 sets + 1 sports bra – You are probably going to be out and about all day, so pick your most comfortable, classic cuts.
3 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of high denier stockings. Pick socks and stockings that are wool, odor resistant and light as far as possible. They dry quickly and can be layered under pants, skirts or dresses.
* 1 swimsuit
Pick a versatile swimsuit, preferably in a neutral colour
* 3 pairs of Footwear
I love shoes and a total of 3 is a huge challenge for me. I’ve picked a black ballet-like flats to wear on the flight, brown sandals and a pair of Sketchers Bobs. All comfy and great to walk around in. I’m not taking any heels.
* 2 belts – one black and one reversible (so really I get 3 belts this way)
* Small day bag – in my case it was part of my tote. Click here to check out my tote bag list.
* Travel umbrella – My raincoat doesn’t have a hood, hence I needed this. If yours does, then you can skip this.
* 2/3 Hair grips and pins
* Earings, rings and neck pieces
* 1 pair of walking shoes
* 1 pair of slippers / flip flops (especially for bathing areas)
* 1 pair of brown sandals
* Travel Iron (Yep, I don’t like wrinkles)
* Camera+charger+extra memory card
* USB stick
* Towel – 1 quick drying towel (I know hotel’s have towels, but I’m going swim outdoors for a bit, this one rolls into a small bundle and is very light.
* Swiss Knife
* Neck Pillow
* Laundry soap / stain remover
* Travel sized toothpaste + brush
* Travel sized shampoo + conditioner
* Mini nail clipper + file (Will leave this behind if necessary)
While plenty of people travel without makeup, I like to take mine along. Since this post was getting a little long, I’m doing a separate post on travel make up. Click here to check it out.
* Pens+small notebook
* Extra safety pins
* Water pack
* Tissues/wet wipes/ make up removal wipes
* Trail Mix
One video that was a big help…
Another guy who has plenty of tips is Rick Steves – Call me paranoid, but the one thing I really don’t subscribe to is his “don’t lock your bag” tip. This one leaves your bags not only open to theft, but open to someone introducing foreign objects / contraband into your luggage, which is something to think about.
Travelling is exciting and daunting all at the same time for someone like me. Well, the travelling bit is exciting, the packing bit is what usually saps all my focus and energy. I’m always planning for the ‘what if’ and somewhere along the way I made a few notes. 1. everyone always seems concerned over the amount of stuff you pack – even if you’re the one thats packing, unpacking, repacking and carrying it around. 2. You are the go to person for everyone who has ever forgotten anything. 3. Yes, you are prepared for everything, but you also have 25% extra baggage that might never be used at all. So, on a recent weekend holiday by the beach, i decidedly to go light and try my hand at some minimal travel. It was an 8-hour road trip to the destination and a flight back. Plenty of sun, swimming and outdoorsy stuff on the menu. Here’s what I packed all into one backpack.
The list: Day 1: Cotton tank (pink)+ loose light full sleeve cotton shirt + jeans to travel in. Pink Bobs loafers. Pink Shorts and Blue tank (white stole) to swap into for the day. Blue thong sandals. Pyjamas to sleep in. Day 2: Cotton tank (dark blue)+ pink shorts for the day, Swim suit, hat and towel romper for the beach+ Maxi dress for evening dinner out (white stole). Pyjamas Day 3: Loose dotted dress, loafers and white stole for air-travel straight to the office. Some other things that were common for all the days: 1) Toileteries+ First aid kit
2) Make up + make up removal/ wet wipes + perfume + sun protection 3) A couple of accessories to mix and match 4) Plenty of underwear 5) iPod + Kindle 6) Phone charger+torch *While there is a cream cardigan pictured under the perfume bottle and a rolled up coral dress. Both those were cut out of the final list. I know this list might not win any minimalist awards, but its a big step in the right direction for me. It was fun to note that even on this somewhat minimal list, I had plenty of options for clothes to change into, which I used. I know now what I can minimise next time around and plan to do just that. Look for my next post, the next time I get out on a holiday. I plan to trim trim trim the list.
Sometime ago I listed a few vegan bath and beauty products that I love and are readily available around Mumbai. Why? Because in a city (also country) where no one thinks much of proper labelling and ‘vegan’ is only now being understood as different from vegetarian a few suggestions can go a long way.
#1 Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel Im a big fan of Original Source Products, and this one is one of my favourites. I can never resist a fresh, crisp fragrance and this shower gel that leaves you and your shower smelling minty fresh is one of my favourites by far. Ignore the tall claims about how many leaves have actually gone into each bottle and simple pour onto a shower pouf and lather away. Fair warning: While the marriage of tea tree and mint is one made in heaven as far as I’m concerned, I’m not sure everyone will enjoy the fun tingling sensation that this product leaves you with every time. But at Rs 170-190 depending on where you’re picking this up from, its a steal.
#2 Auravedic Ultra Whitening Face Wash It was a gag gift, though one that actually has a happy ending. My first experience with this company was a Tomato soap bar, that was, disgusting. Think about a delicious creamy tomato soup, now imagine smelling like it after a bath. Needless to say, my first experience wasn’t a pleasant one.
Though this time around, the experience was good enough to write about. I an’t testify to its whitening properties, but this is a creamy, face wash that doesn’t irritate even my sensitive skin.Yay!
The smell is something that might take some getting used to for some people, but this gentle face wash even assists in removing most of your make up. I love simplifying a beauty routine and especially when the weather is colder and you could use something that doesn’t zap your skin of moisture, this is a great bet. In summer, you might be better off using a different cleanser.
To all of us who knew her, she was the courageous 16-17 year old street dog who never gave up. She was also the gentlest soul on the street. This isn’t a sad story though. It is meant to share that she will be remembered for showing all who interacted with her time and again how to… Be strong, even […]
There are a number of things that can go wrong on a plane. You’d never think there was anything worse than a plane crash when it comes to air travel. And given the recent spate of accidents, I agree. However, spend a few hours in an airborne aluminum tube – a plane, and you’ll know why a flight attendant’s job isn’t so glamorous after all. “You’re in the wrong seat” This scene has many variations. The tall guy wants to sit at the over wing seats, which don’t recline so, he’s still uncomfortable. The tired business person wants the children in and around him to behave themselves, which almost never happens. Two friends want to sit together but their seats are a whole row apart. How will they survive without the constant banter and giggling? The first time traveller is stuck next to the guy that wants ALL the free booze he can get his hands on. He will then go ahead and get uncomfortably chatty or even worse drool over you as they pass out in the seat next to you. The person in the window/aisle seat is a fidgety traveller. If they aren’t flailing around in their seats, they are pulling open newspapers or fiddling with the seat/music controls. God forbid their Audio Visual On Demand isn’t working. Oh no sister that stuff just won’t fly! They will kick up a fuss and perhaps scream bloody murder until they have everyone in the vicinity irritated or pandering to their requests. The one thing all these people have in common with the average traveller sitting closest to them is the unsettling feeling that they are, ‘in the wrong seat’. In many or most of these situations, a flight attendant is brought in to mediate and perhaps resolve the situation. While different airlines have different policies on this, most fight attendants follow a simple rule – sort it out among yourselves like adults. When this is not possible here’s a few things they can do and some they can’t. (Even if you believe that they have the supernatural powers to solve everything.) Hey tall guy, once you’re on the plane, you’re pretty much stuck with that seat. We feel for you but NO! we can’t upgrade you, because you’re tall or because your seat wont recline. If it’s not a full flight, you could just walk to an available aisle seat and make the most of it. Hi there John Joe Businessman! I’m sorry you were up late working on that presentation. You didn’t get much sleep and your stuck in the middle of a bunch of screaming kids. No we can’t offer to stick a sock in their gobs (although sometimes we’d like to), but we could try to give you a stiff drink and some ear plugs if you ask nicely. If the flight isn’t full, we could even give you an extra blanket and move you to a quieter available seat. Until then, stop acting like we’re doing this to you on purpose. You never know what could be going on with the children on their families. That’s a topic for a whole other post. Yoohoo! Was I disturbing you when I asked for my assigned seat while you posed for your 200th giggling selfie holding up an aisle full of tired passengers looking to get settled? No you can’t have my seat. I booked it specifically for me. Also I would perhaps have been a little more accommodating if you had been kind enough not to mess up my seat, crumple my pillow and politely ask me to swap while pointing out that you had the same seat only one row ahead/behind. No no, don’t look at the flight attendant for help on this one. They can’t take your side, because the seat is rightfully MINE and I have the boarding stub to prove it. Is it legal to drink your own alcohol on flight? No any alcohol you bring on board or buy on board cannot be consumed on board. The only stuff you are allowed to drink is the stuff the airline serves on board. Oh this next one is a toughie. You can guzzle a keg of beer, 12 large shots of whiskey and a dozen Jagermeisters without keeling over at the local dive bar. But at 35,000 feet above ground, 2 large shots of spirit might be enough to knock you out. Why? The New York Times claims that altitude only makes a marginal difference to your cognitive abilities. But from personal experience I can safely say there is a big difference. With no scientific evidence to support my deductions, I’m going to propose that the combination of a lack of sleep, varying levels of travel anxiety – even for experienced travellers – coupled with recycled air and cabin pressure makes a big difference to how your body responds to alcohol. While the airport bars try ply you with drinks, airlines are within their rights to legally refuse you entry on to flight if you are drunk and/or disruptive. They rarely if ever do this, though they could without any legal repercussions. To better manage inebriated passengers from getting to the point of no return, flight attendants work on the rule of 3D’s, Delay – Dilute – Deny, with the last one being used only in extreme cases. As a passenger, can you do anything about it? Yes. Drink more responsibly. Stop behaving like a child with free access to a cupboard of treats. Dear Fidgety traveller, whatever you are going through, dealing with it quietly and without waking up everyone is an option and you really should consider it more often. You aren’t entitled to entertainment. It’s a perk, so stop throwing a tantrum if it doesn’t work. More often than not, asking politely to be reseated works best. But, if it’s a full flight or there is a technical glitch, work with us. They aren’t electrical engineers or magicians. If its broken, we won’t can’t fix it. No, this isn’t enough reason to upgrade for you and your family free. The more you fight about it (except for Gulf carriers who are credited for spoiling it for the rest of the worlds airlines) the less likely you will get anything, let alone compensation. All flight attendants understand that travelling isn’t the easiest thing you will do. Most often, we will try to help, if you work with us and co-operate. However, there are always a few crazy passenger and flight attendants, so running into a few ‘crazies’ along the way is something you can expect. Having said that, in the course of their work life, flight attendants like most front line hospitality staff, meet more than their fair share of difficult passengers. Yes this actually happened: (Pax – passenger / FA – Flight attendant) Pax @35,000 ft – “Can you open the door? I want to take my baby for a walk.” Pax with a packet of microwave popcorn – “What do you mean you don’t have a microwave? How old is this airplane?” Pax strolls into galley mid-flight – “I’ll have a strawberry milkshake to go. Umm…. Do you have fries with it?” Pax on a 2 hour flight – “What do you mean, you don’t have camel’s milk for my baby?” Pax who didn’t like the look of her special meal – “What do you mean this is a Hindu meal. I’m a pure vegetarian.” (I’m compelled to write this for the sake of clarity – not all Hindus are vegetarians! ) #justsaying Next time order a vegetarian meal not an Asian Vegetarian as that might lead to “Noodles! I asked for a vegetarian meal. I don’t like noodles.” First Class Pax in first class loo who was vehemently pressing the EMERGENCY call bell while still inside – FA – “Is everything is all right sir? Are you okay?” (opens door while still seated on the toilet, visibly in the process of eliminating his bowels) “Of course I’m not okay. Where’s that cup of tea I asked for 10 minutes ago.” If you aren’t cringing at the though of that last incident, you should be. If you thought flying economy was horrid, the tantrums and demands (not requests) only get worse as you move to the front of the plane. For the most part, pax are a simple, fun bunch, but dealing with the irate, drunk or just otherwise disruptive passengers is sometimes enough to justify an instant pay hike. The great thing to remember is that while it might not seem like it sometimes, most often FA’s are on YOUR side. If you need something super specific, carry it with you. If it isn’t life threatening and you’ve forgotten it, do yourself a favour and make your peace with it. There is only so much that can be done at 35,000 feet, so please, calm down and try to have a happy journey.
There are plenty of reasons to stop animal cruelty. Champions of the vegan/vegetarian movements will give you enough of gruesome evidence of animal cruelty taking place in the world around us. Though, how stringent a meat regime each one of them prescribes is subject for much debate.
Celebrity vegan and American comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres never courts controversy, but sometimes it finds ’em anyway. At one point she even managed to get a whole segment of vegans horrified with her comments on eating eggs. Say WHAT!
My take on this :
For peats sake, the woman (Ellen) had a vegan wedding, has a blog promoting veganism and vegan eating and is a strong advocate of life all around. So, she’s the face of Cover Girl? And what’s the big deal about eating a few eggs from her neighbours “happy” chickens?
There is no dispute in my mind about the fact that all animals feel pain and have emotions. More importantly, we have no proof that any of the so-called “humane” methods we use to kill them are actually humane.
Having said that, here’s a message I hope all radical vegans would understand. Calm down!
Just as you expect the world to respect your right to not consume animal fare, respect theirs to do exactly the opposite. By all means educate and promote the vegan message, but that’s where it needs to stop.
Stop biting people’s heads off, trolling them on social media, play nice with other members of the vegan community who might subscribe to slightly different ideas of veganism than you. Personally, I’d settle for most of the world population being vegetarian. From personal experience of being on multiple vegan groups, it might just be too insufferable otherwise.
Even the Dalai Lama (arguably one of the most respectable men of the living world) understands that NOTHING is ever as black and white and people would like us to believe. And in the end, we’re all responsible for our own karma.
In response to a question about non-vegetarian diet, during his talk at the University of Bern, His Holiness the Dalai Lama talked about animals having pain, and so encouraged everyone to adopt vegetarianism.
November is World Vegan month and coincidentally also the time when people celebrate Thanksgiving. This year more than ever, the internet is buzzing with creative meat free thanksgiving dinners recipes, ideas, tips and tricks. To encourage vegan eating in Mumbai, Actor Neha Dhupia (who really needs to brush up on Why you should go vegan?) was PETA India’s ambassador to launch India’s first vegan discount card, PETA’s V-Card an initiative supported by local, food-search portal Burrp!
“The V-Card gives cardholders a 10 per cent discount on vegan foods from special V-Card menus at numerous participating restaurants in Mumbai and Bangalore. The card – which can be ordered for free from PETAIndia.com – debuted in November in honour of World Vegan Month.” – PETA India.
I recently received my card and I’d be happy to check out a number of the 20 restaurants that have made it to the Mumbai list. With 28 options in Bangalore, there is mix of popular all vegan restaurants as well as those that have vegan sections on the menu.
If you live in Mumbai or Bangalore and are curious about the card, click here.
If I told you that you could fold your shirt so that it was as small as a tube of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, you wouldn’t believe me. So read on and check it out yourself.
This technique isn’t something I invented or figured out myself. Though it did seem like a very good idea. After the folding the first tee shirt and realising not only how easy it was but also how incredibly efficient it was, there was nothing left to do but to follow through with the rest of my stuff.
While most of my tee shirts folded down to the size of a large tube of sunscreen, even the dresses turned out to be easy to fold using the same technique with a little trial and error. In fact my entire night-stop/emergency set of clothes fit in one zip lock.
For reference: The tee in the picture is a basic Zara V-neck tee.
Step 1: Lay your tee on something flat with the front side down.
Step 2: Make a 2-inch fold on the bottom along the base of the shirt.
Step 3: Fold in and over one side and then the other.
Step 4: Now roll the shirt tightly from the neck to the fold and tuck the 2-inch flap over the end to secure it.
Step 5: You’re done. For stuff like thick jeans or maxi dresses etc, simply fold them lengthwise and roll. Secure with a ribbon or rubber band.
Saw this on my timeline as I started my day today… “I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for […]
While embarking on a trip, there is always a fair amount of research and planning that goes into it. But looking at pictures, reading up and asking your friends can only take you so far. We did all of these and finally came up with a travel plan, that we ‘almost’ adhered to.
23rd night – Mumbai – Zurich 24th morning – Zurich – Madrid 24th – Spend the day in Madrid 25th – Madrid – Toledo – Madrid (Day Trip) – train
26th – Madrid – Cordoba (bus)
27th – Cordoba
28th – Cordoba
29th – Cordoba – Madrid (early morning 1am) – Berlin 30th – Berlin 31th – Berlin – Zurich (evening)
1st – Zurich (National Day)
2nd – Zurich – Bern- Zurich
3rd – Zurich – Mumbai (late night)
My most sincere bit of advice. Draw up a plan, yet take every hiccup along the way (should you have any) in your stride. Remember, this is a holiday and you probably only see this place for a little while.
Take some time to be in the moment, take in the sights, sounds, smells and vibe of where you are and yeah, try a few crazy things. When you get back, it wont matter if you have 5 pictures or 500, you will forever have those little mental snapshots to remind you of that particular trip. The brain is a fascinating muscle; if only we’d learn how to exercise it better.
Over the next few posts I plan to cover:
A day trip to Toledo
3 days in Cordoba
36 hours in Berlin
48 hours in Zürich, Switzerland
It has taken me a fair bit of time to sit down to this post, mostly because I’ve been a little overwhelmed with the amount of information to be passed on. Of course post production of some of the pictures can also be a tedious task. The great thing about film cameras was that you were forced to adhere to economy. With digital cameras and high-capacity storage devices, its easy to get carried away.
Compared to my last long trip a couple of years ago, this time, I came back with under a thousand pictures. Yet I can honestly say, I am completely satisfied with the memories each of those pictures holds.
Now onward bound to the planned posts. Stay tuned!