Not the only five of course (hello Passport and money) but important nonetheless…
You might use your phone, laptop or tablet you child of the 21st century you, but you tell me when the last time a good old-fashioned diary suddenly stopped working? Technology isn’t infallible, dead batteries, weak signals and general ‘WTF?!!!’ bugs can prevent you accessing important info. So get a mini diary to write down all your important dates and information. You’ll thank me.
Your Smart Phone
Like a mini computer your iPhone (other brands are available) can let you surf the web, but you can also use it as a camera, video camera, voice recorder, alarm clock… the list goes on. Download some useful apps and this piece of kit is indispensable. I cancelled my phone contract but use Skype and Whatsapp to talk to friends.
A Good Book
Take a Kindle of course – the Kindle for books is what the iPod is for music – the best thing ever. But technology can fail, or the battery can die. Take a paper book so you always have something to read. Shantaram is nice and long and practically a backpacker rite of passage.
Books to load on your Kindle >>>
I am a woman of colour with dark skin but for some reason I wear sunscreen more than my pasty white pals… seriously, wear f*cking sunscreen. Your skin is the largest organ you have and the first line of defence against disease, infection and the like. Protect it as well as you can. To be honest the main reason (by a long shot) that I’m so militant with the SPF is that I want to look like J.Lo when I’m 45 – i.e. like most people look when they’re 25 – sunscreen will not stop you tanning but it will stop you burning and wrinkling up like an old prune.
Have it in your hand luggage to slather on at the end of your flight, this will act as a moisturiser and ensure you’re protected as soon as you step out of the airport.
Sod’s Law, or Murphy’s Law if you’re Irish, means that you’ll be sat next to someone whose voice makes you want to impale yourself on your complimentary airplane spork. Or a crying baby. Or a fat business man who won’t stop breathing mega heavily. Earplugs let you block it all out and get stuck into a book or sleep soundly. I wear them underneath my headphones for total noise cancellation.
So there you have it! Happy travelling.
Just to point out…if you’re carrying sunscreen in your hand luggage, it must be under 100ml or you’ll fall foul of the ‘liquids’ rules. I lost a good tube of toothpaste that way!