The 7 Things Travel System
July 19, 2012
By: Michelle Leong
Don’t you ever want to yell at yourself out of frustration? Well, I do now, because I seem to have stuffed everything I own into the three bags strapped all over my body. For a trip which requires tube and train changes, this doesn’t bode well. I’ve left behind a big bag of kitchen utensils, a bigger bag of clothes, and the biggest bag of books – and none of it makes any difference. The strap of my bag is still cutting into my skin, my shoulder is still about to be dislocated from the effort of tugging at a 20 kilo bag, and I still have to keep repositioning my tote to prevent myself from tripping over.
The usual system goes like this: wheels for clothes, tote for electronics and purse for important papers. Pretty spectacularly, the usual system fails on me. So I’ve come up with another system, a much cooler one that is going to get me (and you) past nightmares like these. I call it “The Seven Things System”, and whether it’s for a summer vacation or a week-long getaway, read on for the seven things you need to take.
Two pairs of jeans/khakis/tights/shorts (whatever covers the bottom), three blouses/t-shirts/camisoles (whatever covers the top), and good underwear (not just whatever). You can easily re-wear your pair of jeans for the third blouse, and you are now well prepared for three days of clothing, even more if you practice RRR.
2. Hand Towel
Get one of those long but not-so-wide ones, preferably the lightest but most absorbent you can find. You may well double it up as a body towel. You just never know if your hostel or your cousin’s apartment will have a towel at hand, and when you’re tired from all that traveling you usually won’t bother getting one from the city centre. A hand-towel is also perfect any time you want to freshen up from all that backpacking.
3. Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shower Gel, Shampoo
Four essentials that you can’t leave without. Get one of those mini-packaged gel and shampoo bottles to save space and weight (which will also get you through airport security faster, if that’s how you’ll travel).
You may be super stoic about the whole e-reading thing, but don’t go judging before you try budging! An electronic reading device saves you time, money, space and weight, and frankly when you’re changing tubes and trains every other hour you’ll want to save every tiny bit of effort in any way you can. Your alternative would be a book but if you want to avoid dislocated shoulders, stick with just one (preferably not a 400 page) paperback.
5. Camera and mobile phone
I put these two together because they’re both electronics. Most people already use the cameras in their phones anyways. For all you camera junkies out there, I really wouldn’t recommend that you stow in a DSLR. But if you insist that’s your thing and you don’t mind the paranoia that comes with it (one arm constantly wrapped around it, the fear of falling asleep, someone seeing how attractive your DSLR is and the terror of misplacing the lens cover) then I shall warn you on the eventual and inevitable onslaught of hallucinations and nervous breakdowns this may bring you.
Because you obviously need to charge your camera and your phone. Curl the wires properly too, secure it with rubber bands or one of those Velcro fasteners. No, don’t just stuff that great tangled knot into your bag, because eventually it’s you who’ll have to untangle it.
I am a little wary of this one. On one hand, there is probably nothing else that feels as comforting as tapping on your keyboard or as you beat your computer in a virtual game. But leave it behind, and you might as well amputate your right arm (okay, maybe your right leg). On the other hand, there is probably nothing you can bring along that is as heavy, if not heavier, for every cube metre that it takes up. This thing is dense. My final advice: take a laptop only if you have one of those mini 9-inch ones, or if you have a Mac Air (be sure not to sit and crack it wide open). And bring your charger.
There you go with the seven things you need! It’s the perfect system, and you can’t possibly go wrong with it. What’s that you say? Makeup? Hand Sanitizer? Socks? Here’s my best advice yet: Do not touch those things. They are evil, my friend, and the next thing you know, you’ll be packing your pencil case and clothes hanger and pillow cases. Work the system, sweetie. It may just screw your head on right.
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