Julie Paterson is the founder of Women’s Tour Company Venus Adventures.
New Zealand born, she is particularly passionate about northern Africa and often gets asked for packing tips, or what she would NOT leave behind when she goes travelling…
1. Ditch the money belt!
It is really important to have a decent shoulder bag!
I got tired of having that sweaty thing stuck to my body all day. Also, if you need to get money out of a moneybelt, it’s kind of embarrassing to have to pull your top up and reveal yourself to the world!
Below is a picture of my current, specially-designed called Pacsafe Luggage Citysafe 200 Gii Handbag, Black. I love it for these features: it is pale yellow on the inside so you can actually SEE what you have in your bag. (Previous bag was like a black hole that everything got lost in). The zipper clips into a small clip so nobody can sneakily open your bag. It has handy little compartments inside, AND it is trés chic! (oh and easy to wash). I feel very safe with this on my shoulder, with all it’s anti-theft features.
2. Inside my bag I have my favourite wallet:
Pacsafe Rfidsafe Z150, Charcoal, One Size. It is full of handy little slots AND what I like about it: it has a chain on it, which you can clip onto the inside of your bag. No thief is going to get away in a hurry with that! (Before you have clobbered him to death with your guidebook/water bottle, or whatever is in your hand).
3. My water bottle:
Seychelle 1-10303-28-HI-FC-SEY 28-Inch Flip Top Filter Bottle, Advanced. Not just any old fancy water bottle – I mean why buy a water bottle that has NO OTHER FUNCTION BUT TO HOLD WATER when you are just going to tip water out of a bought bottle into your fancy one. How ridiculous!
A fancy water bottle is just another thing to worry about, because let’s face it, when you’re hands are full (of cameras etc) you ARE going to put it down and lose it somewhere. Yes, I am big on recycling, cutting down on plastic, sustainability.
Buy one of these and just fill your bottle up from the tap, it removes up to 99.99% of chlorine, bacteria and viruses. AND the water tastes great. Do your bit for the planet!
4. A shopping bag.
Just get one of those small, cheap, small-to-fold ones and take it with you. You will not only use it for shopping (to refuse plastic bags, right?) but also for your laundry and for carrying stuff around in during the day. You can find these anywhere, and you probably already have one at home.
I’d just like to add that there is a lot of *crap* on the market too. Go into any travel shop, and there is all manner of cute, colourful and cool stuff to buy that you THINK you need.
But think twice before you buy it – do you really need it? Can you not improvise yourself or make it yourself? (eg, I use plastic bags instead of buying stuff sacks). Here are a few of my travel tips!
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The idea came again and again every time I would be planning a trip. What to take to fit in? What to take to cover all my needs without coming back with lots of things unused only to have to wash them and put away? What would I need that I wouldn’t be able to buy there? I would call and email friends who I knew had been there to ask them and this could take hours and hours over days or weeks.