Sunday, August 9, 2009

Travel Happily ... Travel Light

It is the end of the summer vacation, when every one wants a final getaway before heading back to university or school and before Ramadan.

Let's start packing our bags and leave the crowded and choking city with its hot, heavy, and stifling weather. Let's go far away and head to a place where there's a long blue beach and golden sand, a place of which every part speaks so delicately and beautifully of nature.

Now we're here! A nice chalet overlooking a garden and a beach. It's wonderful, isn't it?

After that long trip, don't you feel a little tired? Do you have a headache?

OK, just look in your bags and you'll surely find some painkillers.

You didn't find any? Even in that little backpack?

Never mind. A cold shower will melt your tiredness away, but where are the soap and the towel?

Can't you see that you've forgotten many important things while there is a lot of unnecessary stuff packed in your bags? Didn't you prepare yourself well before traveling? Didn't you write a list of the things you'll need while you're there?

To avoid this mistake, here are some tips to help you know how to pack your bag for your next trip:

Traveling by Car, Bus, or Train

* Make a written list of the things you'll need the most, so whenever you finish packing something, check out that item from the list.

* Follow the weather forecast of the country/city you're heading to in order to get to know what kind of clothes and things you'll need with you; sunglasses and light clothes if it's summer, or heavy pullovers and a coat if it's winter.

* Get a small handbag to use on your trip (backpack or cross bag preferred) and another big one for your clothes and personal stuff. If the big one is not enough, you can distribute your things between two medium-sized bags. Take into consideration that large- and medium-sized bags should be with wheels (trolley bags).

* Don't overload any of your bags. This can damage your bag, what's stuffed in it, and even your back and hands.

* Take a prayer mat, with a compass, and a copy of the Qur'an. You can also bring your booklet of daily remembrances and, of course, Du`aa' As-Safar (Arabic for "Traveling Supplication").

* Pack only the clothes you'll need. If they're ironed, you should pack them flat; if not, you can take a small iron with you.

* Don't fold your clothes in the same way you put them in your closet or chest of drawers; the idea is to make good use of a bag's space. Roll them up tightly and put any breakable stuff in-between them.

* Take one bed sheet and pillow cover just in case you need them.

* Don't forget your bathing suit or waterproof clothes, a good sunscreen, sunglasses, head cap, and skin moisturizer if you're heading to a place with a swimming pool or beach.

* Place the shoes and slippers in a separate plastic bag inside the main bag or separately in a small one. You can put scrunched up, old newspapers inside them so they would neither bend nor break. Also, take the ones that'll suit the clothes you've packed.

* Remember to take a first aid kit. Put your vitamins, painkillers, and emergency ointments in a small, separate bag inside the one you'll carry on you.

* Don't forget, for your personal hygiene: One big cotton towel and small ones, some bars of soap, a bath sponge, shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, hair dryer, moisturizer and body cream, a comb, hair brush, hair cream, and hair accessories (for girls and women), nail toolkit, toothpaste and a tooth brush (you'll need to keep your white smile and fresh breath!).

* Take small pillows with you if you want to sleep or rest on your way.

* Take, if you think you'll need them, some high-tech entertainment gadgets like a digital camera, a digital audio player, a laptop, and, of course, the old-fashioned radio. For the leisure time you'll spend indoors with friends or family, bring some games like monopoly, dominos, chess, and playing cards.

* Bring an interesting book you want to read, and a notebook and some pens for writing a diary or some thoughts and ideas; the outdoors is really inspiring!

* Take some snacks and drinks (e.g. apples, bananas, healthy sandwiches, fresh juice, and packed sweets). You can also freeze water in plastic bottles if the weather is very hot, or you can bring a thermos full of tea or coffee and plastic disposable cups.

* Bring your bike with you if you have enough space in your transportation. Riding a bike is an excellent way to easily move around and it's lots of fun!

* Don't forget to bring a plastic bag to throw all your rubbish away during the trip, especially if you're traveling in a car.

* Get yourself a spray-on repellent and/or some special incense or liquid to repel flies and mosquitoes, just in case.

Traveling Abroad by Plane or Ship

If you're traveling abroad, you'll need some extra tips:

* Don't forget these important papers and cards: personal ID, passport, traveling tickets, credit cards, cash, and a printed map and a little booklet of the country you're visiting as well as a small dictionary of the country's language if it's a language you're not familiar with. Put those things in a small cross bag close to your body, make it unnoticeable, and beware of muggers and pickpockets.

* Don't take excess weight in your bags so you don't have to pay extra money at the airport. Check the websites of the airliner and the airport about the permissible weight and the number of bags you can carry on board.

* Put big noticeable stickers on all your bags and write down your name, your address (in your country and the one you are visiting), and also your phone number (also in both countries). This is important in case they got lost and somebody finds them.

* Write down all your important numbers in a small notebook (ID, passport, insurance, and important phone numbers of relatives and friends). Don't write down your credit card number!

* Exchange your money before leaving your country and put the cash in many places: your waist bag, deep inside your pockets, and even in your socks! Always make sure that taking money into your destination country is legal.

* Turn off your cellular phone and radio (if you carry one) while the plane takes off, so as not to interrupt the radar transmission.

* Be careful not to carry any of these items in the airport or on the plane: any kind of weapons such as daggers, knives, a licensed pistol, or even your sandwich knife; any sharp or pointed objects; organic material or food that can go rotten; chemical substances, poisons, acids, and of course, inflammable and explosive substances; also, insect killers and sprays. You can buy insect killers and sprays from your destination country.

Finally, I wish you all a nice trip and a happy vacation. Remember this quote by the French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "He who would travel happily must travel light."


Bill said...

Those are some great tips on traveling. thank you

Mariam said...

you're welcome.