In my last blog I talked about how to plan for your holiday by making an extensive list of everything you need to pack. My list is always divided into 4 categories – clothing, accessories, electronics and paperwork. We’ve covered clothing so this blog will be about accessories. This is probably going to be the most extensive however most of the items will be very small.

Here we go:

  • Jewellery – ladies, a couple of inexpensive necklaces/bracelets can dress up a t-shirt at night-time. Simple!
  • Watch – make sure you are always on time, especially if you are on a group tour.
  • Sunglasses – I’ll be in desert conditions with glaring sun, so my sunnies have a high UVF protection factor.
  • Toiletries – I’ll definitely break this down into a more detailed list.
  • Glasses and contact lenses – cleaning cloths or liquids, even spare sets if possible. If you are travelling for an extended length of time, a copy of your prescription would also be something worth packing.
  • Medication – whether it be prescribed or over the counter, some medications we take for granted are forbidden in other countries and could result in jail-time if you are found in possession. You can check on a country’s government website to find what items are banned. If you must still carry such items, have your doctor write an official letter stating what your medications are, and why you need to take them. Ensure any medications are in a prominent position in your luggage with a copy of the letter sitting on top. Keep the original letter in your hand luggage.
  • Plastic travel containers – why take full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotions etc when you are on a short tour? Think “excess luggage”. Well in advance of your holiday, fill small containers with shampoo, etc. and use them in the shower. See how long they last – I’m sure you’ll discover that there is enough for your holiday.
  • Travel bags for shoes – I usually throw in an old plastic shopping bag or even a rubbish bag just in case my shoes get wet or dirty. Remember that quarantine in your home country may confiscate shoes if they have been worn on farms or other areas where contaminated soil could still be on them (that’s one of the reasons the question is asked on your country’s re-entry card).
  • Plastic zip-lock bags – so many uses and given they weigh next to nothing, take several with you.
  • Wet wipes – in the Middle East, the air is often full of fine sand particles and it’s nice to be able to refresh your skin during the day.
  • Sunscreen – well, I have very fair skin therefore I always choose a high UV screen factor. A tube of sunscreen is easy to carry in your backpack.
  • Tissues – small packs – handy on aircraft, etc.
  • Eye drops – saline drops are great on aircraft where the air can be quite dry.
  • Sewing kit – I recommend you check all your clothing before travel for loose buttons or threads. Still, I carry a homemade kit in a small container – a couple of needles, light and dark colour thread, a few buttons similar to what are on my clothes, small and medium size safety pins. You’ve probably got a pair of scissors elsewhere in your luggage so no need to duplicate.
  • Padlocks / keys for luggage – essential for all travellers. Padlocks, whether keyed or combination, should be TSA certified. Customs officials throughout the world may open luggage if they want to check contents. If you use TSA locks, they can be opened and relocked without damage. Other locks will be cut off. If your luggage is checked by Customs officers, you will find a small note inside your luggage on top of your clothes advising of this.
  • Household / car keys if necessary – leaving the car at the airport? Closing the house whilst away? Don’t forget to keep a basic set of keys with you so you can get home!
  • Pen and notebook – you are going to need a pen to fill out your arrival card for starters, but you may have need of pen and paper for a multitude of reasons.
  • Identification – unless you are going to use a pink suitcase with white polka dots, chances are your luggage will look like a few others coming out on the carousel at your destination. Make yours distinctive by adding bright labels, coloured material tied to the handles, and/or luggage straps.
  • Portable plastic clothesline – use to dry small handwashed items overnight.
  • Tube of washing detergent – lightweight, this is a handy item to always carry when you travel.
  • Hand held luggage scales – a godsend when the suitcase is looking a little too full. I spent less than $10 on a set of scales and after years of use they are still extremely accurate.
  • Foreign currency – much cheaper to purchase in your home country than at a Bureau de Change after arriving. Most banks will hold the popular currencies at all times, eg. British Pounds, US Dollars; however for all other currencies give your bank plenty of notice so  they can order the money. Small denominations are most practical and will reduce the possibility of lots of loose coins or old/damaged notes in your change when paying for items and services.
  • Backpack – not too big but should be able to hold a couple of items of spare clothing, water bottle, sunscreen, etc.

Luggage does get lost therefore take time to place a copy of your contact details, or even your travel agent details into an outer pocket of your luggage for quick identification. May sound stupid but a photo on your ‘phone of your packed bag showing brand, colour, size and any distinctive features will also make it easier to provide accurate details to those people responsible for not only locating your lost luggage but getting it forwarded to you asap.

Part three will be about electronics.