Ed: Oct/Nov 2011

The famous Kiwi Summer is here and with it comes the task of packing your bags for that long-awaited dream holiday or your regular sojourn to the family bach or crib.

Packing … a task we all love to hate! I’m a fan of lists and have a few tucked away on my computer that make my life a lot easier. I have one for long distance travel to warmer climates, one for ski or winter trips, a quick weekend break list, a group family holiday list.

I know, it all sounds very boring and tedious but these lists have stood me in good stead over many years of very frequent travel.

Think about it … a ski trip to Colorado will entail packing of vastly different essentials to that of a beach holiday in Phuket. A basic list for varying scenarios means you likely won’t forget anything essential, but it doesn’t mean you have to pack everything on that list every time!

Top of the list for offshore travel should always be items such as your passport, insurance, driver’s licence, credit cards and foreign currency, visas, immunisations and medications. Just seeing them on the list will remind you to check expiry dates of important documents, order your foreign currency so you get the best possible rates, make those doctor’s appointments and perhaps get a refill on any medication.

Talking of medication, it’s important to remember to leave as much as possible in their original containers – it will make customs clearance a whole lot easier in some countries. It’s not wise to travel with unlabelled pills, and very unwise to pack medication with someone else’s name on it!

Savvy travellers will lay everything out that they “think” they’ll need, and then start reducing the load. Be critical … will you really need that wool jacket in Port Douglas or those high heels on a camping trip? Are there items that serve double duty – a blouse that goes well with casual jeans and dresses up for evening with a black skirt?

It does pay to think about what can be purchased on location, too. Sometimes it’s cheaper to stock up on basic toiletries once you arrive. However, if you’re headed to the bush or a remote location, it could be worthwhile investing some money and space in items such as plasters, antiseptic cream, water purifying tablets, pain killers and insect repellant.

Perhaps I’m sounding rather like a Girl Guide here, but I’ve found that being prepared makes it far more likely that you’ll have an enjoyable trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure.

Safe travels.

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894)

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