Tips on packing for holiday travel

If you are done booking for your tickets, have sorted out your spending money and your accommodation, it’s now on to packing your bags.

Opinion by Heather R

Before you travel anywhere:
Know what type of weather to expect in that area and whether there are any precautions one needs to take before going to a chosen destination. For instance, you may be travelling to an area prone to malaria, in which case it would be wise to get on an anti-malaria course.

Find out more concerning how the locals in your holiday destination dress. For example, Parisians tend to wear a lot of flat shoes because they do a lot of walking instead of the high heels you would expect to see since they are the fashion capital of the world. Also, in Dubai and other Arab countries, they are very conservative in their dressing, so you will need to pack your modest clothes so as to not offend them or even end up being arrested.

Find out the weight limit for luggage and the number of pieces of luggage you are allowed to carry so you do not end up leaving stuff at the airport.

Get a VISA card. It is the safest way to carry cash. You risk losing the cash or being robbed of it if you carry it on you.

Packing for all vacations
What I find helpful is writing down a list of the things I will need while I am on holiday, then, as I pack, I tick off what I have put  in my suitcase.

Whenever I travel, I make sure to pack a mini first aid kit for myself. I have hay fever, so I always take an antihistamine with me in case of an attack. I also include pain killers, antacid tablets, band aids, rehydration sachets (in case of a runny tummy) and something for a cold. I also carry a tissue roll, especially if I am travelling by road because it is highly likely that some of the toilets along the way will not have any tissue.

Cash, is also a must for any vacation, even if you are going to be staying with friends, you need to offer them a little something for their hospitality. Have a little on you as you travel and withdraw the rest when you get there, unless you are travelling to an area where you will have no access to a bank.

Make sure you carry adaptors  for phone and laptop chargers, blow-dryers and anything else you may need to plug in.

Before leaving, confirm that your car is road-worthy and has all the necessary paperwork required by the law. Have your reflective vest, reflective triangle, fire extinguisher, jumper cables and a spare wheel, as well as tools like a wheel spanner and jack.

If you will be going out for a party, formal dinner or wedding, pack appropriate dress for the type of event.

Road trip
What is a road trip without soundtracks to go with it?
If travelling alone, ensure your iPod or cellphone are fully charged so you can listen to your music. If travelling with others in a car, compile your playlist with songs you will sing along to as well.

Toilet paper, serviettes, a 2-litre or 5-litre bottle of water to wash your hands with, should also be packed.

Then of course, you will need to eat on the road. Pack a cooler box with drinks, water and ice and then pack your food into containers that will keep it as fresh as possible. Avoid food cooked with peanut butter or tomatoes as they spoil easily and you do not want to have food-poisoning on your trip.

Preparing for a vacation in the sun

Holiday in the sun
Packing for this kind of holiday is easy because summer wear is light in comparison to chunky knitwear.
Sunscreen is a must, as is a sunhat, and your swimwear and sandals. If I am going to be outdoors in the sun, I pack light weight fabrics like cotton and chiffon with sleeves because I feel as though I am baking in the sun if my arms are exposed.
It may rain and temperatures may drop, so pack a pair of jeans and a long- sleeved cardigan to wear on cooler days. No need to take your boots and coats with you. Opt for scarves instead; they are lighter to pack.

Winter vacation
The wise thing to do would be to pack warm clothes that you can layer. Most buildings overseas have central heating systems, so you only really feel the ice-cold winter when you are outdoors. Coming from our warm Zimbabwe, it is understandable that you may not own very warm coats or shoes because you have no need for them here. So you may have to buy them once you get there or borrow from your host, if you are staying with one. It would be futile to buy loads of them because you will have no use for them once you come back home.

The shopping vacation
Overseas, sale season is approaching, so there will be a plethora of stores selling off items at a bargain. The wise thing to do is to take very few clothes that can be worn many different ways and the rest of the time you can wear your new clothes. It will also help when it comes to paying duty at the airport. If everything looks brand new, they may not believe that it is all for your personal use and may think you intend to sell the stuff.

Packing to fly

If you are flying, pack your liquids, like your perfume, moisturiser and toner, into your main bag or you will be asked to leave them at the airport.

Sharp objects like tweezers and nail files should go into your main luggage as well.

Keep your important documents on your person in case your luggage is lost or stolen.

Secure your bag with a lock or you could get it wrapped at the airport.

Mark your luggage clearly to avoid picking up the wrong bag.

Roll all your light items and lay chunky items flat so that you have more room in your bag.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you all!

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