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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

7 Things to Pack for a Vacation

It's January, and as the weeks of 2015 roll in, I'm pretty sure some of you are excited for what this year might bring. Some of you might even be making travel plans for summer, or waiting for that seat sale at your favorite airline, or some of you might have even gone on a trip already.

Aside from arranging your itinerary or booking a hotel, planning for a vacation also involves making a checklist of your travel essentials. Yes, these essentials always include your climate- and activity-appropriate clothes, your travel documents, and a camera. But those are not all. In order to have a good time, be prepared for emergencies or just-in-case situations. Here are some of the things you might want to pack to make your vacation stress-free:

1. Toiletries
But hotels have them, right? Yup. But what if the hotel you're staying happen to have none, or what they have aren't enough for the duration of your stay? It's always good to bring your own toiletries--all packed in travel-size containers--so you wouldn't have to skip a bath. And if you have sensitive skin (like I do!), bringing your own soap, shower gels, and facial cleansers is a must. Hotel toiletries are not always hypoallergenic or may not be good for your skin type.

2. Bath Towel 
But, like toiletries, hotels have them! Yup. But again, what if they're absent in your hotel bathroom? Or you need an extra towel take to the beach or pool side? You don't have to bring a huge towel. Pack one that isn't too thick but is large enough to dry your body after a good swim, so it wouldn't cause such a bulk in your luggage.

3. Medicines 
No matter how healthy and fit you are, you can't predict when you're going to get sick, or when you'll get that nasty headache. Bring medicines like antipyretic tables, antacids, and pain relievers for common emergencies. If you have existing medical conditions, bring your medicines for those as well. Don't forget to bring bandages, cotton, and a povidone-iodine solution (Betadine) for wounds or cuts you might sustain while trekking, hiking, or swimming.

4. Foldable Bags
A foldable tote comes in handy almost all the time--when shopping, when bringing your poolside or beachside essentials, when going around for a walk, when you need an extra bag for all the things you bought...the list goes on. Whether you end up using it or not, always pack a foldable bag with you. If your activities during your vacation involve a half- or whole-day trek to some tourist spots (say, a famous cave), bring a foldable backpack with you. Putting the day's essentials into this backpack instead of a tote bag will free both your hands.

5. Umbrellas or Rain Coats
The weather is unpredictable, even if you're traveling on a summer day. You might not always need an umbrella or a rain coat, but when you need it, you really need it. Unless you want to stay holed up in your hotel in the event of a sudden downpour, bring these rain essentials.

6. Light Snacks
It's always good to bring light snacks with you, especially when you're traveling by bus. The stopovers may be too far apart, and you might have passed out already by the time it gets to the next one because of hunger. Pack enough crackers and bottled water to last you for the duration of your ride. But don't eat too much, unless you want to throw up.

7. Chargers for Your Gadgets
Because you want to avoid the worst destroyer of magical moments: when your camera dies when you're about to snap that perfect shot.

Aside from having these essentials, a smooth trip to your destination is also something to prepare for. When traveling by bus, book your tickets in advance to prevent getting trapped in long queues at the bus station, especially during national holidays. You can also rent a vehicle. If you're here in Manila, you can try renting a car from Manila Rent A Car. If you're in the United States, you might want to try RelayRides.

So there, Those are my just-in-case travel essentials. How about you? Aside from clothes and travel documents, what else do you pack for a vacation?