Packing Essentials - Part II

Hi there,  Today, I’m back with a list of my ‘packing essentials.’  Last time I talked about carrying a small torch, ear plugs, anti-bacterial gel, flip-flops and sachets of washing powder.  Here are five more items I think you’d be wise to consider including:

1. Mosquito net - Some people think this takes up too much space in your pack, but having spent a considerable period of time in Africa (where malaria is endemic in certain areas) I wouldn’t be without this.  You’ll need duct tape to hold it up with and the best thing is to buy one that’s very compact - so look for one before you leave home, rather than once you’re on the ground.

2. Sunglasses and sun tan lotion/aftersun cream - The sun can be a real beast in many parts of the world, particularly around the equator, and I’ve learned from experience to invest in some good quality eyewear, to keep away the glare (in my case, I depend on my trusty RayBans).  It’s also advisable to carry suntan lotion (it can be expensive and/or in scare supply) and after-suncream (aloe vera is particularly soothing on burnt skin) if, indeed, you do end up redder than you’d expected.  

3. First Aid Kit - I’ve been carrying one of these since I was 21 and set off for Latin America, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve delved into it over the years - not just for myself but for others!  Especially in rural area of developing countries, you have to carry certain essentials - included in mine is aspirin, broad-spectrum antibiotics, anti-diarrhoea meds, antiseptic wipes and hypodermic needles (sealed).  A real must-take. 

4. Sarong - Back at the beginning of a trip through Asia, I purchased a cotton sarong in East Java and I used it non-stop for the next few months.  A sarong can have endless uses - as a skirt, sheet, light blanket, towel, head-covering (for mosques, temples, churches), beachwear and then some… 

5. Candles/lighter/waterproof matches - You never know when you’re going to need fire!  I always carry both a small lighter and waterproof matches (they came in useful whilst trekking in Thailand and in the middle of the desert in Namibia).  Candles don’t take up much space or weight either and are essential in the event of a power cut (which, when in parts of India and Africa, were a daily occurrence for me).

That's all for now - next time I'll be looking at padlocks, silk sleeping linters and zip locked bags!  Stay tuned.