First-Time Traveler Packing Tips
Packing is part of the pre-trip fun, but it also takes some careful planning. Just keep in mind that even the worst-case scenario isn’t so bad if you happen to forget something, because you can always get what you need when you arrive. In this chapter, we’ll share packing advice for first-time travelers from what to pack for a trip abroad to tips for packing light.
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Packing for a trip abroad can be challenging because you want to include items that make you comfortable while also respecting the local culture. Plus, there are many other factors to consider about the host country and the activities planned. To help you get started, consider the following:
- Culture: You’ll want to consider the culture of the community you’ll be traveling to and how you can dress respectfully to make the most out of your experience. For example, Southeast Asia is very conservative in terms of dress code. Dressing respectfully is important to Southeast Asian culture, and students should plan to wear clothing that covers their chest, shoulders, and most of their legs. You can research your host country and see what other students or locals wear for fashion inspiration.
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- Environment: You may want to pack long pants to keep your legs protected from scratches and insect bites. That way you’ll enjoy the time you spend trekking through breathtaking places, lending a hand in the community or running around with new friends much more.
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- Climate: Account for the time of year you’ll be traveling and what you can expect of the weather.
- Activities: Consider the types of activities planned for the trip. Do you expect to participate in lots of action-packed adventures, or will it be a more laid-back experience? Will there be any volunteer or service work, and if so, will this require physical exertion? Each of our specific travel programs includes a packing list for that country which takes into account the different types of planned activities.
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- Duration: Consider how long you’ll be gone and if you’ll have access to laundry facilities.
At Rustic Pathways, we want all of our students to feel comfortable, safe, and happy during their travels. Program Leaders are available to help students adjust and find ways to dress comfortably while respecting the local culture. We also provide specific packing information for each of our travel programs to ensure students are prepared for their trip. Students may even get the chance to shop at a local market and buy the perfect clothes for the culture and climate.
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More Packing Advice for First-Time Travelers
Here are some more packing tips from Rustic Pathways travel experts:
- Bring a dry bag: A dry bag protects items from water. Keep Ziploc bags handy for your phone so you can take pictures at the beach while keeping your phone safe.
- Bring a small pouch on your flight: Keep a small pouch filled with essentials you’ll want to use on your flight separate from your carry-on. This keeps items from falling to the bottom of your carry-on bag. You might pack headphones, an eye mask, face wipes, and any other items you’ll need to use while you’re on the plane and want to keep within easy reach.
- Remove batteries from electronics: Before you pack electronics away, remove their batteries. This ensures they’re off and won’t be drained when you land.
- Bring extra plastic shopping bags: Extra bags really come in handy to store dirty clothes, bathing suits, wet shoes, or anything you don’t want to pack with clean items in your luggage. Ziploc bags work great for any liquid toiletries.
- Mix and match: Plan to pack things you can easily pair with other clothes to mix and match outfits.