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Jun 2014

What to Pack when Travelling – How NOT to take the Kitchen Sink


International travel is always a very exciting prospect, although there could be some unpredictable situations. The best thing to do is to be prepared for any situation. But how would you do that without bringing everything you have with you, except, maybe, the kitchen sink? Pack only the essentials so you do not end up with plenty of useless things.

  • Have a valid passport and visa (usually), tickets and have your immunisations updated. Get medical travel insurance and have your regular medications refilled.
  • Buy the right size suitcase. Airlines today have reduced the weight limit of free checked-in luggage and have restriction on bag’s size as well. Check your airlines guidelines here:
  • Instead of folding your clothes, which will definitely end up creased anyway, roll them. Your clothes will have less creases and also take up less space. Use packing cubes to segregate your clothes.
  • Pack a small bag with a first aid kit – alcohol, bandages, sterile strips, antiseptic, anti- diarrhoea tablets, ibuprofen, insect repellant, dental floss and antihistamine and why not throw in a small sewing kit.

medical kit

  • You should at least pack an outfit suitable for a social gathering, as well as the right pair of shoes. Dark colours are suitable for most occasions and will hide slight stains and a bit of soiling. Wrap them is several layers of tissue paper so creases will not form. Protect your shoes with a shoe bag.
  • A sarong is a very versatile item to bring with you. Use it as sleepwear instead of pyjamas. You can use it as a casual dress, a beach cover-up, an emergency towel or roll it up as a pillow. Bring several large scarves with you as well, to cover up your shoulders and arms for temple visits or as a skirt, to ward off sudden chill or as a colourful accessory.


  • Australians travelling to the United States must use TSA-approved locks for all checked bags in case of random screening. Likewise, you have to pack liquids, pastes, creams and gels they should be in 100 ml containers and placed in transparent, resealable plastic bags that should not exceed 20cm x 20 cm. These go in your hand luggage. Unless you are using prescribed shampoos, toothpastes and other toiletry items in liquid, gel or cream forms that would be hard to find elsewhere, it is better to buy them later.
  • Bring sturdy, well-fitting and broken-in shoes to protect your feet. Stuff your socks inside your shoes to keep them in shape as well as save on space. If you are a person that cannot leave your home without your own towel, consider getting a dry-off towel,(can be purchased from camping stores). It comes with its own case, very absorbent and easy to dry.
  • Your main concern is to feel comfortable so if you will be gone for one week, take three bottoms (cotton and khaki pants, rather than jeans) and three tops. Mix and match them and you’ll already have nine outfits. You can wash them easily in the bathroom of your hotel room. Add a dinner jacket (men) and a cardigan (women). You can bring the same number or double the number of undergarments which are smaller and will not take up too much room. Unless you are going to a far-flung area, you can buy most things from stores in your destination.
  • Bring a small foldable day pack (for your souvenir items, etc.), plenty of zip lock bags in different sizes, a torch, high-quality earplugs, hat, universal adapter plug with three holes that are compatible with Australian plugs with three pins, small scissors, travel mask, folding umbrella, chargers for your electronic gadgets, pens, notebook, lip balm, duct tape (it has hundreds of uses), a money belt, safety pins, sunglasses, comb, deodorant, tweezers, nail clippers, razor, nail file, a backpack and chewing gum.
  • Remember that most checked bags are black so if yours is of the same colour, slap a colourful sticker on it or tie coloured ribbons to the handle to easily identify your bags.


  • Lastly, do not forget your travellers’ checks/ travel cards, your wallet and at least two major credit cards, plenty of cash, ATM card, camera, extra batteries, your tablet or eBook reader, mobile phone, phrase book, phone cards, extra photos and photo ID.

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