Ladies, What Not To Pack For World Travel
The first time I set off on a round-the-world trip I was determined to be super prepared for any eventuality. I took plenty of things with me, including a universal sink plug, mini-hair straighteners, plug mains for all of my electrical equipment, batteries (with no battery-powered items), and outfits for every possible occasion. In reality, I needn’t have bothered because along the way two thirds of my belongings were binned in an effort to lighten the weight of my backpack. The second time I set off to travel the world I took half the amount of stuff, yet still I find myself throwing away unused possessions!
So, from one female backpacker to another, here’s my list of what not to take on the road with you…
1. Hair straighteners
No matter how small, you will not use them. Just let go. Part of the joy of being a backpacker is the low maintenance beauty regime that comes with it. You’ll be more concerned with the heat outside, the trek you’re about to take or the low voltage of plug mains abroad to want to bother perfectly styling your hair.
2. Expensive looking items
Examples include Ray Bans and designer handbags. They may not be a symbol of wealth to you, but in the middle of a low-income neighbourhood or poverty-stricken country they are practically a siren screaming out, “Please mug me” or, “I’m Western and have more money than you”. Don’t make yourself a target of thieves or alienate the local people that surround you.
Now this one is mainly relevant if you’ll be travelling to hot countries where you’re going to tan. If that’s the case, don’t bother with heavy skin makeup like foundation, you’ll be barefaced every day anyway and for the rare evening you feel like getting dressed up, a thin-based cover up cream and a bit of bronzer will do perfectly.
4. Plug mains
It’s extra weight for no reason. These days almost everything charges by USB so invest in a good world travel adapter that contains USB sockets and you’ll only need to carry the wires.
5. Anything that doesn’t look good creased
It goes without saying that hostels tend not to have irons, so unless you can grab it out of your backpack and chuck it on looking moderately uncreased, leave it behind.
6. Stand-out jewellery
For reasons similar to number 2, but also because once you’re travelling the world you won’t want a Topshop £20 faux gold bangle jingling on your arm, you’ll want to collect original bracelets, anklets and rings made by the locals of the amazing countries you’ll experience.
7. The ‘just in case’ outfits
These include that skirt that you might wear on a bar crawl in Asia, the low-back top that’s for special occasions and the maxi dress that’s only comfortable in mild climates. If it’s not in the collection of mix-and-match tees, vests and shorts, chances are it’ll sit in your bag for the duration of your travels. Allow yourself one or two nicer tops at most.
8. Beauty and hair products
The likes of hairspray, leave-in conditioner and face masks have no place in a female backpack if the trip is long-term. Again, half the fun of travelling is the ability for us women to truly relax into ourselves and the way we look naturally. Be brave, ditch the luxury beauty products and let a zest for life radiate from you instead!
For the past month I have carried two tester-sized bottles of my favourite perfume around, but as I’ve been in mosquito-filled, hot and therefore sweaty countries, not once have they been used. Perfume is another luxury not worth packing if you’re heading to similar climates.
Of course, the chances are, you’ll read this blog post and still attempt to pack at least one of the items listed above, I know because I’d do the same! Even if that’s the case, hopefully this post has led you in the direction of eliminating at least some of the weight you’re committing to carry for the months to come.
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