Over years of travelling by myself, I have discovered that there is a certain thrill in ditching the itinerary and impulsively going off the plan to explore a place that has never been on my wishlist. (I recently spent a few days with the Mahadev Koli tribe in the interiors of Maharashtra, exploring their ancient way of living.) Unplanned trips also mean being invited to a popular place at very short notice. (Just last week, I was at the Rann of Kutch, attending India’s first conference on photo-tourism.) Excitement apart, sudden plans often mean you have to pack real quick and know exactly what you need for the place you’re heading to.
Backpacking To Flashpacking – The Need To Upgrade
Many backpackers I know are gradually turning into flashpackers – backpackers who travel and stay with a little more luxury than the hardcore backpacker, but are still backpackers at heart (and obviously in their choice of luggage) and not quite luxury travellers. I knew I was on a flashpacking trip when I was invited by the White Rann Resort in Kutch to stay in their Swiss tents fitted with air conditioning, wooden furniture and an attached bathroom (which again was fully functional with running water, bath amenities and all). Although flashpacking reduces the items you’ll need to carry with you (for instance, bath towels and toiletries are mostly provided by the property), there are some essentials which you must never forget to pack.
Travel Wallets For Quick Packers
Smart travellers pack light. For short trips, let your bag weigh no more than 7kg to ensure you have everything as carry-on luggage on flights (and avoid wasting time waiting for your checked bags to appear on the baggage belts). Apart from your carry on bag, it helps women to have a small travel wallet to keep on their person at all times. I’m happy to own one of Urby’s wallets for women which lets me carry stuff I cannot do without – my phone, IDs, money, credit cards and a lip balm. The smartphone wristlet is perfectly sized to fit my passport and boarding passes also. There’s a money-sleeve and coin/card pocket inside for organization.
Pick A Phone That Doesn’t Make You Cry For A DSLR
When I would travel within the city in Philadelphia, I would often be in a dilemma whether to take my bulky DSLR and the lenses out on every little walk. I also didn’t want to come across as a tourist in a country where I knew I’d be spending a few good months (unlike the regular short trips I usually did). My iPhone really helped me with that quandary by getting me some great shots that didn’t exactly make me run to my DSLR. It is a good idea to invest in a phone with a great camera, especially if you are going hiking and don’t unnecessarily wish to pile up the weight on your back.
Put Your Name On It!
Personalization is a double-edged sword that not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your possession but also avoids cases of it being mistakenly (and sometimes intentionally 😉 ) be picked up by someone else. My Urby wallet has my name etched on it in a golden colour. When you travel to crowded places, you often tend to lose your belongings. The wrist loop makes this wallet harder to lose. The loop is detachable and can be used to latch the wallet to a bigger handbag. The ring that helps lock the wrist loop can also be used to hold a bunch of keys in a keyring. There’s good news also for the men reading this. Urby has a nice collection of wallets for men as well.
Travel Maps Will Never Lose Their Charm
The joy of walking across the winding lanes of small towns in Europe are not the same without the near-accurate maps that are folded several times over to fit into your pocket. Hostels and Airbnbs are rated higher when they delight their guests with a handy map of the place with points of interest clearly marked out and a big red dot for where the stay is located. It is hard to lose one’s way when a map guides one back home (or at least temporary home). Even though you have Google Maps for emergencies, it helps to grab a map for your self-designed walking tours, especially when you are on international roaming in no Wi-Fi zones.
When You Return From A Holiday
As travel bloggers, we often stress on packing and never the need for unpacking. But you must know that proper unpacking is just as important. All your leather bags must be protected from moisture (more so in monsoon) or else they have fungal growth and give out foul smell. Urby wallets come with their own cloth bags with drawstring for long-term storage. This helps lengthen the life of this premium leather product. The same goes for your rucksacks, hiking poles, trekking shoes, etc. Always clean your luggage when you’re back home and arrange for their proper storage so you find them as good as new for your next trip.
If You Don’t Have The Patience To Plan
I will never deny the benefits of a well planned holiday. Those are generally more value for money as you assumably have your tickets and stay booked at discounts and know how to make the most of your time. But every once in a while, it feels special to go on an impromptu trip to surprise your own self. You don’t have to go to the “must-visit” places or eat the famous grub of a place. Some journeys show you more of your soul than the outer world.
Have you tried flashpacking yet?
Write your answers as comments below! 🙂