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Wanderlust: The Traveller’s guide

Some will swear that travelling is the best experience that they’ve ever had. I second that, strongly believing that the experience of travelling teaches you so much about life, the world, and over all, yourself, how you make decisions and how you act as a person.

Sure, to dateI have only travelled overseas once, but the principle is still the same. You are exposed to some of the most amazing and different sights that you will ever see. You are thrust into a new world, forced to listen to and try to understand a different language, left to fend for yourself in an unfamiliar place. All of this sounds a bit confronting for some, but I personally crave the independence, lust after the experience and now have what seems like a permanent post-travel depression.

One thing that I did learn though, is that travelling can be extremely uncomfortable. If you’re anything like me who can barely sit still through a movie, let alone a 14 hour direct flight to your stop over before another 8 hour flight to reach your destination, then you’re going to want to prepare yourself.

On my flight to Italy, I was so uncomfortable because I couldn’t rest my head anywhere. They supplied small pillows and warm blankets but I just couldn’t get comfortable. So, from that I realised that a travel pillow would be my last Italian purchase. On my way home, I slept the whole 14 hours from Rome to Dubai, I slept 5.5/6 hours from Dubai to Singapore and the whole 7 hours from Singapore to Melbourne. Why? I was too comfortable not too.

One thing I did learn as well is that hand luggage has to be easy, manoeuvrable and as big as the hand luggage allowance. On my way there, I used a country road duffel bag and a medium sized hand bag. The hand bag was perfect for my iPad, a book, my phone, my iPod, my passport and tickets. The country road duffel bag had my Dr. Martens (to save space and weight in my suitcase), another two books, a jacket, two cosmetic bags (A fairly large one and a smaller one) and my hair straightener. To carry this on my shoulder and arm for the two hour stop over was hell. It was so heavy, so bulky and so uncomfortable that I actually made myself angry. Either pack better than I did or use one smaller bag that forces you to leave some unnecessary items behind. Which brings me to my next point…

Do not over pack. This was my crucial mistake that drove me insane and put a hold on my shopping dramatically! I packed so much that out of my 30kg luggage allowance, I could only bring back 10kg worth of stuff! Do not make this mistake. I did not need three books, two jackets, two hoodies, four scarves, seven t-shirts or four different pairs of jeans. Washing machines exist, so do sinks and soap if you are really desperate.

You need to pack the essentials. So, for my stylish readers, here is a personalised list of essentials that you should bring with you when travelling:

  1. Before you can pack, you need the perfect suitcase: I recommend a hard case four wheeler. These types of suitcases give you optimum space, is lightweight, compartmentalised, manoeuvrable, and very safe.
  2. Toiletries. What ever you use at home, bring with you. Your local supermarket should sell travel bottles that can be filled to the amount requirements of your country. In these travel bottles put your face wash, moisturiser and toner. Buy the travel sized hair products, toothpaste and don’t forget that deodorant is a must!
  3. You need an essential jacket. No matter the climate you are travelling to, a jacket is a must. Whether it be a classy leather jacket, an adaptable denim jacket or a warm anorak, be sure to remember to pack one.
  4. Jeans! Jeans are timeless and most never go out of style; an international style statement for the ages. They’re comfortable and versatile, making them perfect for your next adventure.
  5. Basic Tees. You need at least two basic t-shirts as they are the perfect supporting piece to any outfit. To play it safe, always pack either a white, grey or black tee. They enable you to layer up at night and are easily accessorised during the day.
  6. Your best friend: The Little Black Dress. Make sure to pack one that fits you well and always looks suitable on you, no matter where you go.
  7. A staple blazer. Look at the blazer this way; it can be worn over anything and can be dressed up or down depending on where you’re going.
  8. Always, always pack flat shoes. The best shoes you will ever travel in are Converse. I bought two pairs with me, a white pair and a purple pair. They will easily, comfortably and stylishly get you through your long day and into the night. For more dressy events, a pair of slip on flats or sandals will do the trick.
  9. Accessories: When I travelled I bought with me heaps of long necklaces, bangles, and statement collar bone length necklaces. No matter where you go, accessories always put the perfect finishing touch on an outfit and no one deserves to be left without.
  10. Last, not least but definitely a travelling must: Comfortable leggings. You can fly in them, walk in them and participate in what ever you have planned while wearing them. Make sure they’re good quality and are in no way see-through. Leggings can come across as trashy and can easily become a fashion mistake if you can see your underwear underneath.

Depending on where you are travelling to, make sure you’re accustomed to their expectations of travellers and tourists. You do not want to offend the locals or get yourself into any unwanted and unnecessary trouble. 

Most of all, don’t get caught up; you want to remember everything you do, everywhere you go and everyone you meet. Make sure to enjoy yourself, stay safe and trust your instincts. It is up to you to make sure that you are in the best position possible to make the right decisions in a foreign country so look after yourself and have fun!

For more information on how to be smart traveller, for further travel advice and for traveller’s information, please check out http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

For international readers please find out your version of the smart traveller guide provided by your government and department of foreign affairs.