It’s going to be the best year of your life! The gap year affords you the chance to see parts of the world in a way you may never have the luxury of doing again. It’s your chance to cut free and experience some new cultures, people and things you’ve never even dreamt of. Read on for advice on what to pack.
Choose your luggage yourself and choose carefully. Remember, this is your snail shell home for the year. It needs to be as practical and comfortable as possible. Ensure you try before you buy, so that it’s comfortable on your back when it’s bulging with the weight of your entire life for the next few months.
Research the climate of your destinations carefully and pack accordingly. Layers are important; two thin tops are more practical and versatile than one thick hoodie which will take up half your luggage and only be useful on those really occasional chilly nights.
Don’t take anything too expensive, as not only might it get lost or stolen, but you might have a ruthless clear-out one day when you’re over the transportation baggage limit.
Try to take things that dry easily. You won’t have the luxury of spacious accommodation so drying areas will be hard to come by.
Ensure everything mixes and matches so you get the maximum combination of outfits out of your selection. Have something that passes off for reasonably smart but that can be adapted for normal day wear too.
If you’re going to an urbanised place, buy these when you get there, just take travel sized ones to start. Only take larger quantities of essentials that you know you can’t pick up at your destination.
Take a basic first aid kit. Nothing too fancy, just some painkillers, plasters, antiseptic cream, diarrhoea medicine.
The little comforts that make life easier
At least one of those hostels is going to have the world’s grottiest kitchen ever. Carry a travel fork/spoon/knife; they’re really compact and will definitely come in handy at least a dozen times.
Consider an inflatable pillow for those awkward bus journeys through the night.
A torch is essential, as is an alarm clock for those early bus trips.
Travel towels are fantastic; they dry really quickly, they fold really small and they do actually work. Small enough to carry two if you have long hair.
Take a notebook and a pen. Okay, so you’re going to be blogging, updating your status constantly and creating an online photo scrapbook but one day the technology will fail. Your battery will be dead, the network will be down, and you’ll need to record an amazing experience. Or go full out retro and keep a whole handwritten diary of your journey.
On that note – don’t forget a charger for any appliances. Try to get a multi adaptor if it saves you carrying two or three. Take international plug adapters too. Have a couple of spare camera memory cards in case one gets full or corrupted.
Regardless of how much of a reader you are, pack a book to read during boring journeys or delays. Headphones come in handy too.
In summary, pack only what you need. Nothing should be packed ‘just in case’. If you can’t see a valid, regular use for it, don’t take it.
The article discusses the important things a traveller should take on a gap year abroad, focusing on choice of luggage, clothing and the little comforts.