I'm looking at an enormous pile of stuff that I've somehow got to try to cram into a suitcase. Hum.
Anyway, I've been thinking about travel tips. I'm sure that you've all got your own essential rules when travelling, but here are a few I've gathered over the years, tuned to stays in somewhat remote areas, doing field work:
- There's some kind of unwritten rule which states that however leak-proof you believe your bottles and jars of liquids to be, the effect of changes of temperature and pressue will prove you wrong. I put all containers of liquid inside one of those zip-up, airtight plastic bags, just in case.
- In fact, I use those zip-bags to keep together all the little things that tend get lost in your suitcase or rucksack. When you're horribly jet-lagged on arrival and rummaging blearily in your luggage to find a particular cable or socket adapter, you'll be glad that they're all in one easy-to-find bag.
- Special breathable, lightweight, packable clothes are wonderful, but they're also very expensive and likely to get ruined if you spend your days crawling around in the wilderness. I use Army surplus stores for a lot of my field work clothes. They tend to be very tough, have lots of pockets and are extremely cheap. I also look on the recycling of Forces uniforms as a kind of 'swords to ploughshares' thing.
- You can never have too many bandanas. They can keep the sun off your head or neck, keep the dust out of your mouth and nose, and they'll also work as emergency towels, bandages or slings. They are lightweight, cheap (a stall in the indoor markets sells them for £1 a go), and you can scrunch them into a little corner of your luggage.