Don’t Leave For Your Gap Year Abroad Without These Packed In
When you’re leaving for a gap year journey it is almost like leaving your entire life behind for a year back at home. The relaxation of sleeping in your own bed, the mom-made comfort foods, the midnight cuddle sessions with your furry little labrador; all these starts to feel a lot more worthy once you’re out there on your own. Those extra pairs of clothes and slippers and other bits and bobs back at home cannot make up for these cozy feelings. So, it’s in vain if you try to pack up your entire life for your gap year abroad.
Traveling light on your gap year is pivotal because, let’s face it, once you’ve stepped into your traveling shoes you are not going to stick at once place for long, right! And a few of those extra kilos off your back will surely prove to be a godsend when you’re hopping around, places to places. We at GDA always preach Smart packing to our gap year travelers to make most of the space available. All you need are some savvy packing techniques and a list of your absolute essentials. So, to make sure you have the time of your life on your year abroad, without the angst of extra baggage on your mind, we’ve compiled a list of gap year packing essentials.
Here we go!
These sit right at the top of the packing list owing to the fact that leaving any of these behinds can turn out to be disastrous for you and your plans. Let’s take a look:
Passport- We don't need to emphasize on its importance and what central part it plays in your travel plans abroad. Many would think this to be insane but you won’t believe how many people we have come across who have accidentally left their passport back at home or even the worst ones, have lost it inside the Airport after check-in. So make sure to check on your passport in your handbag or backpack at all times.
Tickets and supporting documents, if any needed
All necessary IDs with your age proof, address,
Travel Insurance- Traveling without a proper insurance plan backing it up is like stepping into uncertainty about your well-being. Nobody needs that kind of stress when roaming around exploring beautiful places around the world. Make sure you get one and you have the necessary paperwork supporting the same, packed in.
Your student card is your key to many exciting discounts as there are many offers for students travelers abroad. So be sure you’re packing in your valid student card.
PERSONAL CARE AND HEALTHCARE NECESSITIES
Few important things to keep in mind while packing your personal care necessities. For girls, pack in personal care stuff that is very specific to you, as in specific brands or items and the expensive ones in bigger amounts if possible cause you don’t need to add it up to your costs when traveling. When packing in toiletries, make sure not to go overboard. Shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and the likes are easily available anywhere and everywhere around the world. So, get single pieces when packing for the trip and once you run out, get it from there. These are not much of a strain on your budget and hoarding toiletries won’t be a smart move while packing as well. Also, do look up what and what not to pack into your handbag for your air travel.
- Sanitary napkins or Tampons- Yet again one of those things available all over the world. So pack in a packet of 20 pieces and once you run out, buy it. But I should also let you know that there are possibilities of you not finding the particular brand or the exact item that you use and you have to adapt to new items to make do. Toothbrush, toothbrush cover (I absolutely go nowhere without it), toothpaste, mouthwash, floss.
- Shampoo and conditioners. Get medium sized bottles and not the jumbo sized ones. You can also go for the 2 in 1 items and save some more space.
- Soap bars would be a good choice rather than douches or shower gels as they tend to be bigger in sizes and always run the risk of leaking into your other stuff as well.
- Sun creams and moisturizers. Don’t think that if you’re traveling in winters you won’t be needing these. Keep a good SPF sunscreen with you and also a good hydrating moisturizer cause let’s face it your skin won’t be getting much pampering as it gets back at home.
- A small pack of 3-5 use and throw razors for girls. Razor with your set of blades and shaving cream for guys. I know girls many of you are used to making good use of those shaving creams but we ladies can get resourceful and get things done without it, for example, have you tried using your conditioner? The result is unbelievable
Makeup items- Now, girls, I can’t really give you a foolproof list of these items because everyone’s choices vary. Some like to do makeup while traveling, some don’t and some even don’t do makeup at all. But it’s always good to have a reserve of makeup items for you never know when you get invited to a gathering or maybe a romantic date even. Some of the essential items I pack for makeup are- BB creams, primers, foundation, loose powder, eye pencil or kajal, eyeliners, lip balm, lip gloss and lipstick, eyebrow pencil, makeup remover etc.
My healthcare kit consists of the following things while traveling-
- Cotton buds
- Nail clippers and nail files
- Small pack of detergent powder
- Comb and a few stretchable headbands and scrunchies
- Allergy meds- If you think you don’t have any allergies, be double sure before leaving and get yourself tested for allergies. It's extremely important for you to have your allergy meds on you at all times and thus an essential on the packing list. Stack up on your meds and make sure to have a prescription for you. Drug regulations vary in different countries and a prescription from a doctor is your key to pass through immigration without any issue.
- Prescription meds also, if you take any
- A good medical kit should comprise of- Bandages, band-aids, plasters
- Antiseptic wipes, hand wash, sanitizer, creams
- Baby wipes or face wipes
- ORS sachets, guarantee you’ll find good use for these on those long days out in the sun
CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR
This is the packing department where most of us are led astray. At this stage, our smart packing plans are hacked into by our thoughts of looking good while traveling. But no matter how much you feel the urge, restrain yourself and only pack the essentials which include a few of all kinds of clothing items. Also, since it’s a gap year plan and you are gonna be traveling for a long period of time across different countries, time zones as well as weather zones, you need to make sure that you’re packing in both winter and summer clothes.
Apart from the pricey items like winter jackets and stuff, you should also know that street markets in places like Asia, Africa is a hub of thrifty items and fashionably in demand as well where a t-shirt costs as less as 3-4 dollars. So, you can rest your head easy even if you are not packing in much for you can get your hand on the needed items without hurting your budget. Also, it’s very important to keep in mind the culture and norms of the country you’re traveling to and pack accordingly The list is all about how you should go about choosing and deciding what to take and how many to take
- 7 pieces of underwear, cause let’s face it you can’t go commando on your travels right! Jokes apart, it’s very important to maintain your basic hygiene while traveling and a regular change of underwear is an important part of this process.
- 2 pairs of woolen socks and 2 pairs of cotton socks
- 2 short shorts and 3 mid-length shorts
- 3 boardies (Guys)
- 2 linen or cotton trousers, 1 cargo, 2 jeans
- 2 light summer dresses and 1 knit dress
- Woollen tights or normal tights and leggings
- 2 skirts. I am not much of a skirt wearer, especially never during my travels cause I feel like it somehow restricts my movements. But if you want you can go ahead and pack in two lightweight skirts of your choices
- 2 camisoles
- 2 cotton t-shirts, strappy t-shirts, 2 tank tops and 2 long sleeve tops
- Fleece, Thermal inners
- Woolen cap and scarf
- 1 winter coat or jacket. If these are bulky pieces then you can always put it on yourself during your air travel rather than packing them in your luggage.
- 1 pair of Chaco
- Hiking shoes or trainers
- Flip flops
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
The first thing that I am going to mention here is the holy grail of traveling and every traveler swears by it. It’s the Backpack. While traveling and exploring, the backpack is going to be the safe haven for all of your essentials with the huge suitcases becoming more and more scarce in your life. So it is absolutely cardinal for you to choose the best kind there is. Slash proof, waterproof, spacious, Camelbak systems, sturdy, comfortable to carry around are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you head to buy a backpack for your gap year abroad. Also remember, whatever you’re forgetting, you’re buying. So being smart about packing also means straying off from creating a mess of your year-long budget.
Our gap year experts at GoDiscoverAbroad understand what it means for you. Thereby our affordable gap year programs, available in over 40 countries would be the perfect way to go about your long-term trip planning. If you have any queries, be it packing related or not, do get in touch with our team. We’re always on our toes to help intrepid travelers!