Packing For Your Gap Year
Packing for your gap year may be one of the most important steps you take to ensuring your future success. Packing too many items can lead to a sore back, aching shoulders and misery down the road, yet packing too few items can lead to shivering with cold or burning with a fever. Obviously the happy medium will be different for every gap year traveller, but these packing tricks should help everyone leave home well packed and well prepared!
Lay Out Your LuggageIn your closet chaos may reign, but packing for a gap year requires organisation. Remember that everything you pack you will also need to carry, so try to keep your possessions to a minimum. Also, some travellers like to bring bulk items (shampoo, sunscreen, etc.) but these can be heavy and easily be purchased along the way.
Be sure that you are certain everything you pack is essential by laying it all out before you pack your bags. Include: clothes, underwear, outerwear, personal care items, health care items/medical kit, travel documents and travel accessories.
Pack Your SuppliesWhen it comes time to packing your supplies, not just any suitcase will do. In fact, discard the idea of bringing a suitcase at all and instead invest in a quality backpack or rucksack. Bring along a daypack for your daily supplies and to carry aboard your flights, and your luggage will suddenly seem much more manageable.
When shopping for a pack look one that offers wide, padded shoulder straps and a strap to fasten around the waist, try before you buy - comfort is key here as you will be carrying it a lot! Check that it is made of lightweight, preferably water resistant material and that it features a padded back panel (remember comfort). Of course check that your chosen pack is going to be big enough and supplies plenty of internal pockets for your possessions and can accommodate a bedroll or sleeping bag.
Essential DocumentsSome of your supplies will be too precious to stow in your luggage. Instead, keep your important travel documents where you can access them easily, either in your day pack or on your person. These very important items include:
- Photo ID
- Aeroplane tickets
- Accommodation bookings
- Information about your gap year placements
- Travel and/or medical insurance cards
- Traveller's cheques
- Credit cards