I have 2 dogs so traveling light is not always an option. Because I have dogs, I am pretty much grounded to the uk (Though I have driven one to Spain - but the cost of fuel renders this pretty impractical). So I have a usual place I go to in the lakes and these are the top 10 things I need.
1) Car - as this is the main method of transport for me and the dogs, this is pretty essential. My car needs to be able to run a 3 hour journey without any problems so it needs to be running ok to begin with and have a full tank of fuel.
2) Dog Food - Obviously as I am taking the dogs I need to make sure that I have their food. There are local shops not too far away but none sell proper dog food and changing my dogs diet can result in them having funny tummy's! The runs are not what you want when you're on holiday.
3) Phone & Phone charger. Even though there is little signal there I need to at least have my phone. My phone also doubles up as a book as I have a Kindle app.
4) Wellies / Walking Shoes. Even if don't go walking I need proper shoes / boots as it's fairly muddy and wet when it rains. The thing with dogs is that they still need taking out to the toilet - regardless of the weather
5) 2 Sets of clothes. Even though I do essentially travel light, I need clothes suitable for sun and rain. The latter is more likely though in the lake district.
6) Cash! The village within which I stay, is tiny. There is no cash point and no one accepts credit cards so it is essential I have cash.
7) Human Food. You may notice that this is fairly down on my list. I take bits with me as it is self catering and although there are local shops, it is cheaper and easier just to take it with me. Saves me a) shopping when I am trying to chill, and also b) saves me trying to shop with the dogs. It's still fairly down my list as food is available in the village and I tend to eat out at nights anyway.
8) Camera -I love taking photos. Whilst the scenery is great, i love taking action shots of my dogs, combine them with great scenery I think make fabulous photos
9) Insect Spray. This is low on my list as this is only essential depending upon the time of year. It's inside my first aid kit anyway which I take with me as i;m a fairly clumsy person so it's really just a "just be prepared" thing. Its not completely essential as again there are supplies there
10) Family. I love it when we all go away together. 3 Adults and 6 dogs! Its great fun. Even better still is when family and friends go away. The last time we had 12 adults and 25 dogs! It was great great fun! you may notice this is at the bottom of my list as it is not completely essential - I do go away by myself - but on the other hand it is way more fun when we go together!
So there you have it! My top 10
10) Family! Again this is very low on my list
If I was to go on a camping weekend away 10 things I would take would be 1 a umbrella because let''s admit it we are in england 2 my dog as I try to plan as many holiday as possible where he can come with us 3 plenty of booze - it isn''t camping without booze 4 playing cards to play late on at night 5 my gas cooker so I can cook or boil the kettle for a baileys coffee at night 6 lots of food to cook on gas fire also lots of munchies 7 onsie. To get snug as a bug at night 8 tent gotta have a tent to go camping 9 a book or my kindle to be able to read under the stars for 30 mins 10 a torch so I can see where I''m going if I wake during the night for a wee
1. I always holiday in the UK as I do not like to go abroad so I would have to take an umbrella.
2. Food- we always go self catering so I always take plenty of food to save having to go shopping as soon as we get there
3.Several pairs of shoes- we do a lot of walking so I would need some comfortable shoes.
4. Two different coats one for wet weather and one for cold.
5.Two books - I would need to take two books to read just in case I finish or get bored with one of them.
6. Plenty of clothes- I can never make up my mind what I want to wear when we are away.
7. Toilet roll just in case we use up any that has been supplied.
8. Sweets to eat on the journey. I like those fruity travel sweets that you buy in a small tin.
9. My own towels as I do not like to use other peoples.
10. Last but not least, my husband as he is doing the driving.
10 indispensable things to take on holiday with you which will guarantee that you have a good time:-
1. A good friend - I can't believe nobody is suggesting this, are you all the type of people who like to spend time alone? Or do you think friends are dispensable? If you want to have a good holiday you're going to need a good friend to share it with!
2. A smartphone with Wifi - no point in going on holiday if you can't upload all your pictures to Facebook instantly to show all your friends and family what a great time you're having while they're stuck at home, probably working. Make sure that it has Wifi if you're going abroad, avoid an hefty bill by connecting to wifi in your hotel or at a bar. Don't forget to tweet #holiday #wishyouwerehere
3. Clothes - you probably could have a good time holidaying naked, but the rest of the people on holiday probably wouldn't have such a good time. So for the sake of everyone else's holidays, take some clothes and rest assure that you didn't ruin anyone else's holiday by walking around with no clothes on. I'd recommend taking at least a few changes of clothing, smelly clothing that's been worn for 10 days in a row may cause people to avoid you (including the good friend, as chosen in point number 1).
4. Scrabble - You've run out of money or the bars are all closed, there's nothing good on TV so what should you do with your time? Play Scrabble of course! You might want to check that your good friend a) likes Scrabble b) can play Scrabble - before deciding on which one to bring along, because how much fun is someone who can't or won't play Scrabble all night long? If they don't like or can't play Scrabble you're probably going to have a bad time.
5. A Phone Charger - You're phone is probably going to start to run out of battery after the 200 selfies you post on Instagram on the first day, so you're going to need a charger, ideally the good friend chosen in point 1 should have the same phone as you so you can use their charger and leave yours at home (another thing to consider when choosing point 1).
6. A toothbrush - Good hygiene is definitely something to consider when going on holiday, especially if going to fancy restaurants and eating garlic bread, unless you're scared of vampires, if so go ahead and ditch the toothbrush, garlic breath will scare them right away.
7. A towel - You have 3 options with this one you can either a) put your clothes on while wet (after a bath/shower or swim) and walk around with wet clothes on b) drip dry before getting dressed (time consuming) or c) bring a towel :)
8. A Pillow - Just in case the place where you're staying has pillows that are too hard, too soft or made out of feathers which stick into you every time you turn. Plus your pillow probably smells like home so if you're homesick, you can sniff your pillow and feel even more homesick.
9. Earphones - If you're hardcore like me and stay awake even when good friend is tired out from all the Scrabble you've been playing, you're going to need something to keep you entertained. Whip out your earphones and plug them into your phone where I'm sure you will have some awesome music (like my library) stored. Earphones are also useful for when your good friend starts bragging about how many Scrabble games they've won - switch your music on full blast= instant noise cancellation.
10. Nerf Gun - It's 4pm and you're finally awake and ready for your next round of Scrabble but good friend is still asleep and tired out from the last 48 hours of constant Scrabble playing - Shoot them a few times with a Nerf gun and they'll soon wake up, and as bullets are made out of foam there will be no permanent lasting damage.
Hope you enjoyed my top 10! I am honestly not really that obnoxious I just thought I'd try and be a bit different and put a bit of a comedy twist on mine.
I've just got back from a great family holiday in Southern Europe so now seems to be a good time to share my "10 indispensable things to take on holiday" list. I've managed to survive on hand luggage only on my last couple of trips so my list is designed around the essentials I can squeeze into a carry-on wheely case
1 - Clothes
Always useful; in cold climates they keep you warm and in hot climates they keep you modest. I always roll my tops, shorts, dresses and trousers; undies get squashed into shoes and socks get rolled and tucked into balls. I'm also squeezing in shoes here. I always wear one pair and take a spare. For my last holiday I wore trainers and carried sandals in my bag.
2 - Picnic plates and plastic utensils
A huge moneysaver - they don't take up much space but they mean you can make up sandwiches in your room, and eat a basic picnic of food from the local market/supermarket for some meals. I've saved a fortune doing this over the years as it means we don't have to eat out for every meal.
3 - Medication
Whether you're on prescription meds or not, a basic first aid kit has proven indispensible on many a holiday. Antihistimines for bug bites, plasters and antiseptic cream for cuts and blisters plus basic painkillers are always worth including.
4 - Toiletries
Not everyone will bother with these but not all hotels supply shower products and I've yet to find any hotel that supplies toothpaste. Thanks to the 100ml liquid rule I can only take what I need for the first couple of days, but after that I've usually managed to locate a local supermarket of some kind to buy what I need. Shower gel, conditioner, shampoo, moisturiser and toothpaste all go in this category.
5 - Toothbrush
Don't forget your toothbrush!
6 - Entertainment
I have a super-low boredom threshhold, so something to do/read/watch is always essential. I usually carry at least one old paperback book that can be jettisoned once read, plus a couple of puzzle books. Sometimes I also take a little computer tablet loaded up with stuff from Youtube and some free game apps. My MP3 player comes in this category too. Everything possible is battery powered but I also have a little mains converter to power my tablet
7 - Camera
8 - A loo roll
It takes up a fair bit of space, even when squashed up, but a loo roll can be a lifesaver whenever tissue is needed for wiping up spills, sticky fingers, using dodgy toilets or when the maid doesn't put a new one in the hotel room. It also means that if/once used it can be jettisoned, leaving a decent amount of space for holiday souvenirs.
9 - Bags
I always carry a bum bag for holidays, plus at least one cotton bag for when out and about. The bum bag is around my waist 99% of the time, and the cotton bag squashes down to pretty much no space.
10 - Paperwork
Tickets, passports, insurance info...they all go in a poly pocket in the top of my case, ready to pull out whenever needed.
So there you go. This is mine, what's yours?
10 things to take on holiday!
As I live abroad for half the year, I am a frequent flier. Here are the 10 most important items that I take with me everywhere I go.
1. Passport - I won't get far without my passport.
2. Money - I always carry some British money for use while travelling (not forgetting I may need some on the journey home) and some of the local currency for my destination. I take a pre-paid currency card with most of my money on, which usually means I get a better exchange rate.
3. Boarding Pass and other travel documents - I travel to and from the airport by train, so book my trains in advance and print the tickets.
4. Mobile Phone - To keep in touch with family while I'm travelling. Make sure you set your phone so that it doesn't cost the Earth to use abroad!
5. My laptop - An easy way of contacting the outside world while I'm away (and of course to do my work on!). Most places now have free wifi cafes etc. to connect.
6. My Digital Camera - To keep a record of all the wonderful sights and places I visit. Don't forget a memory card as well if you take lots of photos.
7. Chargers - I need the chargers for my laptop, mobile and camera to keep them alive.
8. Adaptor plugs - A few of these will mean I can easily charge my electronics at the same time. Make sure you check which type of plug you need for your destination country.
9. Make up and personal hygiene products - It is not easy to find your favourite items abroad, and they may be more expensive. I take my own with me, although don't forget that liquids must be in containers of 100ml or less to take in the cabin of a plane.
10. Clothes - Clothes are essential (unless you are going on a nudist holiday.. and even then you need travelling clothes). Take a selection for hot/cold/wet weather, unless you are sure it will be only one type of weather. If you plan to do much walking as opposed to lying on the beach, take a pair or two of comfy walking shoes/boots.
These are the 10 most important things I need for a holiday, what are yours?
The thing about holidays is that there are many types you can go on, which one you choose will depend on what would be deemed essential to take. I will try and write a list of generic things I couldn't go on holiday without.
1. A good book. There will be a time when you're on a bus, airplane or even just lying on a beach when you will just need a good book to read. Doesn't necessarily have to be a book to read, a puzzle book will do.
2. Mp3 player. Practically the same as the reason for a book. I get bored quite easily while travelling or walking and usually need some music to keep me company.
3. A towel. Even if not going on a beach holiday I will always take a towel. You might turn up and there isn't one there and no shop to buy one from so a towel is one of my musts.
4. Toiletries. Those mini toiletries are brilliant. Light weight compared to normal size, fits into the small spaces of your case/bag and are always needed (Especially on a holiday in the middle of nowhere).
5. Suitcase or large bag. This kind of goes without saying otherwise what would you put your things into.
6. Hand sanitizer. Public places with that many people crammed into (airports, hotels etc) can be the breeding ground for all kinds of things.
7. Money. Without it I may struggle a little.
8. Suitable clothing. Sounds serious but I mean swimwear, shorts etc for beach holidays and many layers for colder climates.
9. Guidebook. You can either buy one or make one up by researching things to do on the internet, either way it is something handy to have if you want to go and do things on your holiday.
10. Those paper essentials. Finishing off with a boring one, don't forget your passport or any kind of insurance or medical papers if you need them.
I don't really go abroad so I tend to holiday in England, I think the country has so many places of interest and nice areas that the only reason to go abroad is for the weather. (so I won't be mentioning passports and currency).
1) The first essential thing for me is my family - I could never go away without them, never have and never will I would miss them too much.
2) A corkscrew - although now lots of wine has screw tops, you still get the odd bottle that has a cork and there is nothing worse than wanting that glass of wine and struggling to push the cork into the bottle just so you can pour a glass.
3) Some clothes - I don't really want my family and I walking round naked or having to wear dirty smelly clothes.
4) Wine and drinks - these can be expensive if you are staying in a hotel and if you are camping or self catering they can still be expensive but you might want a drink and they are so handy to just have there ready for you at the time you want them.
5) Cards - these are just handy to have if you get a bit bored or just so you are doing something together, plus they don't take up a lot of room.
6) Hairdryer or straighteners - now I could possibly manage without one of these but not both, my hairdryer is one with a brush on so takes ages to dry my hair so I could let it dry on its own but would then need my straighteners as my hair would be frizzy.
7) Pen and paper - you never know when you need a pen plus this will keep my youngest happy for a little while if we are out. (I would take some toys as well)
8) Shower cap - I don't always want to wash my hair depending on the type of holiday we are on and if I am not washing it i can't stand for it to get wet. Also my children don't want to get their hair wet if they are not washing it.
9) My daughters teddy - my daughter needs her teddy at bedtime (and this is the older one)
10) Plastic bags - they always come in handy for rubbish or packing shoes in.
There are a few more things i could think of but hey it says just 10.
You are going on your holiday. You think that you have packed everything and ready to go now... Wait! Check your bags, have you got the things you absolutely need with you?
Of course, it would not be possible to provide an exhaustive list of what to bring as the list does vary depending on where you are going to. However, based on my experiences and my friend's experiences (sometimes a painful one), here are 10 things that you should bring with you while going on holiday!
1. Passport and other identity Documents
If you are going abroad for a holiday, make sure you bring your passport. Be sure to check whether your passport has expired. Last time when I went travelling with my friends, two of them were not allowed to board the plane because their passports will expire in less than two weeks' time. You may wish to check your passport now and it really takes time to apply one!
2. Wind jacket
You never know whether the climate of the place you are going is going to change. A light wind jacket, which can be easily packed in your bag, will be able to keep you warm and getting yourself all wet in bad weathers. Besides, it's always cold in the plane, isn't it? You will be glad to have brought your wind jacket!
3. Credit Card
Things are unpredictable. A credit card allows you to book a flight to return home earlier or check-in to a hotel in case of emergency.
4. Mobile Phone
Do you know that you can call 112 to ask for help even though there is no reception. It can also act as a torch if you are caught in the dark. Just make sure the battery is fully charged.
You need a pen to write on the arrival / departure card. Having a pen in hand will allow you to fill in the cards while in plane or waiting in line for immigration clearance.
Needless to say, you should bring the medication which you have to take regularly with you while travelling. Prior to departure, ask your doctor to produce a travel certificate (which can be a simple letter stating that you are taking certain kind of medicines) to show to the immigration in case if you are asked. It will also help you to obtain the correct prescription in case if you run out of them during the trip. Other than that, bring along with you some painkillers and some medicines to treat diarrhea.
7. Chargers (and travel plug adapters)
Don't forget to bring the chargers for your phone, camera, etc.... There are a lot of gadgets inside your bag waiting to be charged!
8. Plastic Bags / Carrier bags
These will come in handy when you have to think about where to put your dirty clothes in.
9. A foldable travelling bag
You never know what you will buy during your holiday. Put a foldable travelling bag will ensure that you have a place to put your souvenirs!
Just in case if you forget to bring anything, buy it!
I've just got back from a holiday in Wales (so, not that exciting), and as I've not been on dooyoo for.. forever... I thought I'd ease back into my reviews with a general review about what my holiday essentials were. Ok then...
1. Camera, of course - Do I need to explain this one? I'm thinking no.
2. Slippers - I learnt this the hard way, some holiday places don't clean their floors and your socks end up looking disgusting... protect them with some slippers!
3. A sleep mask! - I slept in a room with blinds, apparently blinds don't block out much sun, so if you don't sleep well when it's light, try taking a sleep mask like I did ;)
4. Warm clothes AND cold clothes, just incase - I made the mistake of thinking "Ooh, I'm going on holiday, let me pack my holiday clothes" whilst forgetting I was only going to Wales, so basically I was cold all week.
5. My pillow <3 - I'm not sleeping without my pillow. I probably wouldn't take my own pillow abroad, because of it taking up so much space in my limited luggage, but I would WANT to take it.
6. A book - I'm not much of a lie-on-the-beach-and-read kind of gal, but I do like a nice book in bed before I go to sleep, so this is a must.
7. Phone charger - just because otherwise you'd spend all week wondering who's text you, rather than knowing that nobody has!
8. My university books - So I can feel good about taking them with me (I'm so hard-working and dedicated) ... and then not touch them for the entire holiday.
9. Somebody who I want to be on holiday with - I learnt this the hard way one time when I accidentally did the opposite = worst holiday ever.
10. I'm struggling now. There's not much you NEED to take to Wales with you. I did take my swimming costume but that was a bit optimistic. OK, I've thought of something - my dressing gown. I'm such an old woman but it really is essential so I can watch Big Brother in my PJs.
My following review is based on a holiday abroad in the warmer climates. As I'm sure you will see my top 10 items may seem a little pessimistic and it does appear that I plan for the worst but when you are in a foreign country I believe it's always easier to be prepared.
1. Copies of my passport and holiday insurance. If the worst came to the worst and I lost my passport I would feel more secure knowing that I at least have a copy of it in my suitcase. I also carry a copy of my husbands and he carries a copy of mine. I know it seems a little neurotic but I believe a copy would be a useful thing to have if the situation arose.
2. A small first aid kit. Just the basics with some plasters, soothing creams for bites, pain killers, ect.
3. Tablets to stop diarrhea and rehydration salts. Generally we never use this. After a holiday it just sits in our bathroom cabinet and goes out of date until our next holiday when we purchase more! However once in a while it comes in handy, especially when ordering random food from the local eating establishments. This isn't to say the food is bad - more that my stomach is a delicate organ and doesn't take kindly to unfamiliar food.
4. Water shoes. These are shoes to wear whilst paddling in the beautiful clear blue seas. Who knows what's lurking in the sand! I for one do not want to tread on a creature that is powerful enough to put me in hospital for the rest of my holiday. I have to confess I had a 2 week holiday last year for my honeymoon in Cuba and forgot my water shoes - I live to tell the tale.
5. Sun screen. Although we don't see a lot of it here in Britain, I can confirm the sun does exist and it burns your skin quickly! I usually take a factor 50, 30 and 20. The first day of my holiday I always cover myself in factor 50. By day 3 I have given up with protecting my legs because they are so white they just reflect the sun's rays.
6. After sun (best kept in a fridge). This is always for the evening of day 3 when I realize my legs weren't reflecting the sun after all and have turned bright red and are hot enough to heat our home for an entire winter. WEAR SUN SCREEN!
7. Insect repellant. I always take this abroad with me. I generally only use it for evening use though. There's nothing worse than getting bites on sun burnt skin!
8. Local currency. It's always best to change up some money before you go abroad. Most banks charge for oversea withdrawals and you never know when you will get a chance to go looking for a cash point.
9. Camera. I never go on holiday without a camera. It's such a great way to remember all of the beautiful places you have been or the interesting people you have met. Also how else are you going to make your friends and family jealous of your recent adventures?
10. Holiday book. For me this is a must have on holiday. I'm not really one for sitting around a pool baking my skin until it is crisp and golden. I like to be a little more active and get out and about. However everyone needs a bit of down time and what better way to relax then getting absorbed in a book.
All in all - my holiday essentials!
Thanks for reading.
As many of you know from reading my reviews, I love to travel. I go abroad to the other side of the world most years. Yet somehow, no matter how many times I do it, every time I am going away for more than a week, I get so worried that I have forgotten to pack something that I have to have a trusted friend on hand to physically escort me from my flat and frog-march me to the bus stop?
You can picture the barrage of questions now: Did I pack my inhaler? Did I remember my passport? How about my tickets? Did I switch off the gas? Was the window open? It's nothing short of a miracle that my friends haven't murdered me yet, given the silly questions I ask en route!
What really helps me is list making. Then I can tick everything off the list with trusted friend, and then I know I've checked everything and packed everything I need. Or at least everything that would be disastrous to forget. I have to keep telling myself that they do actually sell most things in other countries too.
At New Year, on a trip to Russia, my luggage was delayed for three days, and I got to appreciate what things really are indispensible. These are all things that I would advise to pack in hand luggage, because you never can tell when your luggage will get there. Travel as light as you can do, and remember that you can buy things like clothes and toiletries if you need them.
Obviously, if you are going on a specialised hiking holiday in the Himalayas, you will need specific equipment that is not included here. This list is not exhaustive, and is intended for a typical holiday.
By the time I get to the airport, I have checked my passport at least a dozen times. Just in case it vanished into thin air since the last time. It never has. Yet.
2)Cashcards and cash
Always have at least one spare card kept out of your main wallet in case of emergencies. And try to have cards of several "flavours" (visa, mastercard, maestro) - I've lost the number of times I've had to try three or four cash machines to find one that has the type I need.
I've found that carrying notes of a strong currency is vital when travelling - for tips, in airports en route, and in countries where the local currency is weak, for everyday use. I found that in general, it mattered much less what the currency is (I've been fine with dollars, pounds and euros) and much more that the cash you have is in bills, because coins can't be changed at a bureau de change. Since the US dollar has the lowest value bill (the 1 dollar bill, equivalent to about 50-70p depending on exchange rates), it's generally the most useful. Even (I was surprised to find out) in Russia!
As a student, I made the mistake of taking travellers' cheques to Poland on the advice of my bank who assured me that there were no cash machines in Poland (this was 1999). Big mistake. Nowehere would change them; since I was an impoverished student, I had cleaned out my account to get them, so couldn't get cash from the ubiquitous cash machines (the banks were wrong). After trying over a dozen banks and information centres, my Polish travel buddy found somewhere to change it: a very... specialised... establishment located in a plush ballroom with chandeliers in the top of a hotel that looked nothing at all like a bank. It was full of people in very expensive suits and sunglasses who had briefcases of money. I thought it best to just change all my cheques and not ask too many questions.
3)Travel insurance documentation/tickets
Keep a photocopy of your travel insurance and all your other travel documents (passport, tickets) somewhere separate from your original. Ideally, email yourself a copy as well in case you get separated from your luggage.
4)Medicine (with doctor's letter and spare prescription)
Keep at least a small amount of your medicine on you at all times. And ensure that you have enough in your hand luggage to last your journey. Be very careful if travelling with codeine that you have a GP letter (and any other authorisation you may need from countries you visit or travel through), or you may find yourself in prison for drugs smuggling!
5)A Kindle (or other e-reader)
Books are heavy. Kindles are not. You can fit a lot of books on one kindle. I discovered on my holiday to Russia how great my kindle was: through it, I got free internet access! See my kindle review for more information on how fabulous I think my kindle is.
6)Spare change of clothing
In my hand luggage, I carry two spare sets of underwear, a clean t-shirt and a skirt/pair of trousers. You never can tell when your luggage will get lost. Russia at New Year with no luggage would have been a lot worse if I hadn't had the change of clothes. Plus I had the foresight to wear my merino layers and my down jacket on the plane.
7)Chargers with adapters
Nothing is more frustrating than losing power on your electronic equipment. Make sure you have the right kind of adapter with you, and at least one charger for everything.
8)Camera with spare memory cards and battery
One of the most important things when I travel is my camera. No matter how many memory cards I take, I always fill them all and beyond. I've had to buy extra cards in Queenstown, burned CDs with my pictures at tiny hotels in Darkest Peru, and previously come home with about 20 rolls of film from Switzerland (having taken 10 with me).
I always wear my hiking boots on the plane with me, because the thought of the pain of breaking in a new pair of boots when on holiday just does not appeal to me. Don't bother with too many sets of footwear - I've managed the world over with a sturdy pair of boots and a pair of sandals. Although I suspect I will never win any fashion contests when I'm out there.
Yes, they do sell it abroad. However, the last thing you need when you arrive in a sunny country is to have to track down the nearest pharmacy. Far better to take at least a small amount with you (remembering that you need little bottles if you are carrying it in your hand luggage).
So, there we go - my top ten. It was hard limiting it to only ten, but now I've managed it, next time I travel, I will be able to look at this and think "Do I really need to take this kitchen sink? No! Of course not! They sell kitchen sinks in $countryX don't they?".
I like to think I'm a seasoned traveller. By this I do not mean one with salt and pepper already added, but one who has been to a few places, seen them and come away with T-shirts to swell the wardrobes of my long-suffering offspring. In the course of travelling one does acquire many things: not only T-shirts, but stamps in passports, insect bites, a smattering of odd words in even odder languages, and above all experience. Experience, as Oscar Wilde once observed, is the name we give to our mistakes, but we can learn from our mistakes. I know from experience which items are essential to take on holiday because I'm always cursing myself for having forgotten them.
Or rather, my wife is always cursing me for having forgotten them, her forgiveness threshold where my omissions are concerned being somewhat higher than my own. She probably finds forgiveness hard because I have forgotten these items despite their inclusion on the list of things to take that she has painstakingly prepared. She and I have contrasting attitudes to lists. Lists feature high up her list of important aids to efficient personal organisation; they do not feature at all on mine because I have never found the time to compile one. When I go shopping she frequently writes out a list to assist me in the task and then becomes irate on finding that I have absent-mindedly left it on the kitchen table, which I have to confess is rather remiss of me. I should have the tact and presence of mind to take it with me and mislay it somewhere else.
Not that I have anything against lists in principle. On the contrary, I greatly enjoy thinking out what to include on them. Anyone idly inclined to glance through my reviews will find I have posted lists of my preferred selections of - among others - children's books, TV programmes, Christmas gifts I'd like to receive, authors and reasons why I think I'm strange, though I forgot to include on the last-named my preference for lists that are essentially impractical. These lists share the virtue of being theoretical and, once completed, requiring no further action on my part. However, I am now going to break the habit of a lifetime and compile a practical list, a list to which I might actually refer before I next go abroad, even if the items mentioned are probably already to be found on my wife's list. The difference is that her list is so long and daunting that my mind goes numb whenever I so much as glance at it, to the extent that I no longer wish to travel. Let's hope I remember when the time comes that this one exists as well, as a reminder to take:
1. If at all possible, some SMALL CHANGE in the currency of the country to be visited. What happens when you first touch down/disembark/pass through the checkpoint/swim ashore? You need small change - for left luggage lockers, public toilets, call-boxes, ticket machines, bus fares, tips. In an unfamiliar environment you do not want to be lumbered with trying to break the high-denomination notes the bank or foreign exchange dealer has insisted on selling you because it suits their convenience; you want to be able to put your hand in your pocket or purse for the requisite coins. How to obtain them? First, try to persuade the bank/dealer to give you them, or at least small-denomination notes, by asking for a non-round number, say $487 rather than $500. Secondly, retain a pocketful whenever heading home from any country you may want to visit again, resisting the temptation to use up every last cent with ill-considered airport purchases or contributions to the airline's charity collection. Never fear, your money is unlikely to lose much of its value with keeping; the currency is almost bound to appreciate against the pound, and you will avoid paying dealers' spreads and/or commissions twice. Thirdly, ask around your friends and relatives who may have visited the country lately to see if they have any such small change that they would be willing to sell you. You never know: lacking your foresight and not having read this review, they may be only too glad to let you have it.
2. An ADAPTOR to allow you to plug your electrical devices into whatever sockets are the norm in your country of destination. My wife and I are fortunate in possessing a multiple adaptor that contorts itself transformer-style (toy transformer, that is, not electrical transformer) to suit many socket configurations, but I have not often seen them on sale. Failing such a device, there are numerous adaptors for particular socket shapes. Which one applies in your destination country? Easy, look on http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm for guidance. Of course, if you are going to be using several devices simultaneously, you may need more than one adaptor, or separate leads/plugs for some devices. For example in case we cannot wait for a cup of tea on arrival, we have a lead with a plug that will fit most continental sockets for our...
3. ...travelling KETTLE. Essential unless you are going somewhere where you know one will already be provided. You do not want to go thirsty, or to have to venture out every time you require liquid sustenance. Nor, even if your hotel is posh enough to offer room service, do you want to be ordering any tea or coffee that way - it will invariably be over-priced and incur an awkward uncertainty about tipping - any more than you want to be drinking booze at an extortionate tariff from a hotel minibar. Talking of which, buy a few bevvies on arrival from the local convenience store and use the minibar to keep them chilled. Again, talking of which you will also want to take a...
4. ...Swiss-army-style KNIFE, if only for the bottle opening device that it incorporates. I understand that an Uzi sub-machine gun also incorporates a bottle opening device, but that is even harder to carry through airport security. So, if travelling by air, remember to stow your preferred appliance in your hold baggage, though even this may not be sufficient to prevent your apprehension in the case of the Uzi, which will delay your holiday, maybe for some years. Apart from which the knife is the more versatile option because it has a corkscrew as well as a crown-cap opener, as well as all kinds of other implements to help you cope with other, lesser, emergencies.
5. A simple FIRST AID KIT for when you accidentally cut yourself trying to work out the purpose of all those implements on your Swiss-army-style knife. As well as sticking plasters and antiseptic cream, this should include a few pills and remedies for popular holiday ailments: tummy upsets, sunburn, hangovers and so forth. We also take a course of antibiotics, in case of infected cuts, grazes or other wounds. A pair of tweezers too, for extracting splinters, cactus hairs and sea urchin spines. Taking these things with you not only saves you time when the emergency arises, but spares you having to explain your predicament publicly in a foreign tongue to the local pharmacist, or trying to read the instructions for use on the packet with the aid of a phrase-book that proves to omit the crucial words, or worse, to offer an ambiguous interpretation which you will still be trying to decipher as you bleed to death or your wound goes gangrenous.
6. Talking of which, a tube or two of SUPERGLUE. No, not for re-attaching the finger or sealing the wound. So why "talking of which", you may be wondering? I meant talking of the phrase-book, and let me offer the following example of the pitfalls of phrase-books. When the soles of my walking boots started to split on a recent trip to Portugal, I sought out the general store in the next village, which also turned out to double as the local bar. Having checked in the glossary at the back of my phrase-book, I knew that the Portuguese for 'glue' was 'cola', so that was what I asked for, and was promptly presented with a glass of fizzy brown liquid. How anyone could mistake me for a drinker of such stuff is a bit beyond me, but I suppose I brought it on myself. Only when I resorted to the English word 'glue' did the serving staff understand. Even when there is no room for confusion, looking up words and expressions in phrase-books normally takes too long for everyday exchanges, which is why no phrase-book is included here; pidgin, sign-language, waving one's arms about and pointing are normally a better bet. Glue, by contrast, is always handy to have around on holiday even if your footwear fails to disintegrate, since something else will: belt, jewellery, spectacles and sunglasses, baggage mistreated by airport handlers, travelling kettle, whatever. Superglue, being strong, multi-purpose, fast-drying and available in small tubes, is the ideal kind.
7. For the visually challenged among us, just in case the superglue is unequal to the task, a spare pair of SPECTACLES. And the main pair, of course. There is nothing like a holiday for losing or breaking spectacles. All those unfamiliar cafés and restaurants in which to take them out to read the menu and leave them on the table, all those unfamiliar seats on which to put them down and then sit on them, all those beaches where they might become buried in the sand as you snooze over your reading-matter after a liquid lunch. Even if they are not lost and gone forever, you will need the second pair to help you to locate the first. My wife goes a step further and takes an optician's prescription specifying her requirements in case she has to have a third pair made up in situ, having lost or broken both of the first two, but I think this is going too far, and probably pointless in any case. How would you recognise the optician's shop without your specs?
8. A CAMERA. I could say this is to enable you to see later what you have missed if you are unable to replace your missing specs until you reach home, but I am not quite that much of a pessimist. In my youth, I was such an optimist that I thought I would remember everything without the aid of photographs. This optimism I now know, too late, to have been but the hubristic bravado of the inexperienced. Memory, like all our mortal attributes, atrophies with age. So now I have far too few photographs from my teens and twenties to trigger reminiscences, bore my descendants and acquaintances, or help settle arguments, not even arguments with myself. In this brave new digital age, without even the cost of developing film to take into account, whenever I travel my camera seldom stops snapping. The resultant pics crowd my hard disk and will probably all be lost when the computer finally crashes or becomes obsolete. But at least I have them in the meantime, and can use them to illustrate my Ciao reviews...
9. ...which brings me inevitably to NOTEPAD AND PENS, or pencils, in the plural because a single pen is always lost in no time at all, however carefully you guard it. It probably ends up buried in the sand with the specs, or requisitioned by your spouse for the allegedly more important task of marking off completed rows on her knitting pattern. As if any task could be more important than making notes for all your holiday reviews, a cast-iron case you might think, but a spouse's steely determination is often made of still sterner stuff. I believe that some people go so far as to take a laptop with them for note-taking, doubtless among many other purposes. Personally, I regard this as dangerous; before you know where you are you will find yourself spending all day online, just as you would at home, except you're running up enormous wifi connection charges in the process. In a way, much the same concern applies to mobile phones, but I believe a mobile phone should be taken provided it is strictly disciplined. My wife and I restrict ours to the following essential uses: (i) being kept informed by text of Chelsea results and other football news by our mate Gary, a service we perform reciprocally for him when he is travelling; (ii) making or changing hotel reservations if all other methods fail; and (iii) in case of an emergency covered by...
10. ...our WYGC list. The initials WYGC, in case you are wondering, stand for 'Whom You Gonna Call?' and I apologise for the grammar. This sets out all the relevant telephone numbers to contact in the event of loss of credit cards, travellers' cheques or passports, news of the car being stolen or the house being broken into at home, need to claim on travel insurance, and all the other hazards of modern life, especially those encountered when travelling. Practically the only number not there is that of Ghost-busters, which I rather hope I won't be needing. These are not numbers you would want to try to discover from afar amid the chaos of an emergency if it arises. Keep the list up-to-date on your computer and print two copies each time you go abroad. One copy you keep about you at all times, but not in the same pocket or handbag as your wallet, credit cards or passport, since there would be little point if it were stolen with them. The other copy you keep in your luggage, in case the first is lost notwithstanding; but just having a copy in your luggage is not sufficient in case it is the luggage that goes missing. I am glad to say that we have never had to use our WYGC list from abroad, but we always feel just that bit more secure to have it with us. Since it also has the distinction of being the only practical household list for the upkeep of which I am responsible, I know how grievously I would have to answer for any shortcomings if it were to be called upon and found wanting.
You will observe that this list does not include some of the things commonly considered essential for overseas travel: ticket and passport, for example. Frankly, if you've failed to think of those on your own initiative not only is it doubtful whether you can safely be allowed to venture into foreign parts, but you won't be allowed to venture there in any case, since you'll be turned back at the airport, docks or Chunnel terminal. So it seemed better to leave them out to make room for the essentials listed above, the absence of which will not prevent your travelling but the presence of which might enhance your trip once there. I hope they will prove as helpful to you as they do to me, on those occasions when I remember them. Bon voyage.
© Also published under the name torr on Ciao UK, 2011
I have noticed very many reviews on here for "10 indispensable things to take on holiday with you". When I sit looking at all the lists, I notice that I use very little of these things. For example, sun cream? Well I don't show any skin to be attacked by the sun. Hair straightness? Well, you know there is not really that much point considering I don't show much hair. So I thought it would be interesting for everyone to see what a weirdo like me takes on holiday with me instead, weyhey!!!
1. Prayer Mat
You must be thinking, what the frog? Well if anyone doesn't know our mob pray five times everyday, regardless of where we are. Women get a 4 day holiday from prayer every month, but apart from that we're always praying. Regardless of where we are, we must pray. This includes the airport, but there is always private rooms for that. On the aeroplane I don't pray because I don't want to creep anyone out, but in the hotel room I will have to.
If anyone doesn't know how the prayer works, it's a variation of bowing and sitting and standing, a whole exercise routine, and because our nose, and head, and hands touch the ground, it's compulsory we pray in a clean place.
In my home, I can just pray on the floor as nobody walks into my room with shoes on. However, in the hotel room maids run in and out and the kids run in with dirty feet so a prayer mat is an absolute must.
2. Hijab pins
A 'hijab' is the head covering us women wear, and if you think it just sits on perfectly all day with no problem - think again! I usually wear a Turkish style headscarf that is silky, modern and fashionable, although at the same time it is very heavy and too bulky for 40 degrees heat. Therefore I have to be innovative, and wear a lose, light scarf. Of course, this won't sit on the head all day everyday with no issues, so I have to pin it like mad to my under scarf, my bra, my t-shirt, just to make sure I don't get the dreaded moment when it blows over my face and I'm running around like a mad man trying to fix it.
As well as that, they get lost nearly all the time.
Well I like to take a few snaps don't I?
Yes, I take my laptop everywhere I go with me regardless.
Well, it is a very interesting book and I get rewarded for reading it. So I take it everywhere I go with me so I can read it when I'm sitting doing nothing: although people on the plane don't like it very much.
6. The bible
Yes, I do read the bible and I enjoy it.
7. Phrase book of the local language
I don't think that it is them who should have to speak our language all the time, I like to try out their language and see if they can understand me.
8. Rape alarm.
Yes. Ok, yes.
9. Diarrhoea tablets.
I do get the runs a little more than everyone else on holiday so I like to make sure I am stocked up on them. I don't know if it's just the food on holiday but I always seem to need them and I drink a lot more juice than usual.
10. Travel adaptor
You definitely need one of these regardless as you will have to plug in hairdryers etcetera.
I will admit I am usually quite a calm laid back person, but going on holiday is one thing that does increase my stress levels mainly for the fear that I will forget something that I really need. Why I do this is a mystery as we generally holiday in Europe and I try and remind myself that they have shops just like we do and if I forget anything I can just buy it there! So here are my top 10 indispensible things to take on holiday:
1. Insect Repellent - one year I got over 50 bites while on holiday in Rhodes so I always make sure I have this is quite large quantities.
2. Tweezers - sounds silly but this was the worst thing I have ever forgotten to take on holiday with me and I faced having a monobrow! But they also come in handy for things like splinters etc.
3. Adapter - essential to convert those essential electrical items abroad.
4. First Aid Kit - I usually include in this, headache tablets, plasters, a bandage, antiseptic cream, diarrhoea tablets and rehydration drink sachets.
5. Back up Money - We always buy currency before we go and get a safe in our hotel room, but I am always fearful of something going wrong so I try and take an extra credit card with my and keep separate just in case.
6. Deep Hair Conditioning Treatment - My hair dries out really quickly anyway but the combination of swimming and heat makes it much worse so a good condition half way through really helps.
7. EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) - You never know when you may fall ill so as well as insurance I always take out EHIC which entitles you to state-provided medical treatment at reduced cost or sometimes free, if you become ill or have an accident during your stay in Europe.
8. Mobile Phone - I cannot live without my mobile phone at home so it is a must that it goes with me on holiday, although I will often leave it in the safe while out and about it is there in case there is an emergency. It can also be used to send holiday pics home to show friends and family what a great time you are having.
8. Sunscreen - I take a range of factors with me on holiday from around 30 - 8, starting with the highest at the beginning and gradually lowering the factor as I manage to get a tan. I do always use a special face sunscreen though to prevent an outbreak of spots and brown spots.
9. Sewing Kit - This is mainly taken for my partner who always seems to have a button hanging off or has torn something.
10. Travel Game - having experienced long delays in the past I always carry a travel game or two in my hand luggage to relieve boredom, especially for my partner who is a typical man and hates having to wait.
So there you have it my top 10!