Unanchor Blog: Heart of a Local Travel
In my most recent post, I told you what to pack. In today’s post I have 7 common mistakes you should avoid when packing for your round-the-world (RTW) or long-term trip. Bringing a Nalgene water bottle: Even in combination with a Steripen, I don’t recommend packing a Nalgene-type water bottle. It may seem smart initially, but when you’re running short on room in your bag, sometimes you just want to be able to throw the bottle away. I recommend purchasing and then refilling plastic water bottles in combination with a Steripen. The plastic water bottles are inexpensive and by using a Steripen you’ll ensure the water’s potable while saving money and the environment by reusing the plastic water bottles. Packing a Sleep Sack: It will be against most hostel & hotel rules to use your own sheets. All good hostels will work extra hard on keeping their beds clean and bug-free. So, the most important thing to do is make sure you stay in clean and reputable hostels & hotels. For this, I always recommend ensuring your hostel or hotel has been reviewed well. Between HostelWorld and TripAdvisor, you should be able to easily find a well reviewed hostel/hotel/guesthouse in any city. Throwing Clothes Into Your Bag All Willy-Nilly Style: There is nothing more frustrating than trying to rummage through your backpack looking for that one pair of clean underwear or one pair of clean socks. Everything in my pack goes into a bag before it goes into the pack. It keeps things organized, clean and it’s so much more efficient to pack and unpack. I recommend putting all of your clothes into Space Saver bags. The big bags basically act like a drawer for your pack. You pull out the bag, find what you need and you’re done. Always Be Prepared: If you’re headed out to the middle of Alaska, take the Boy Scout motto literally. On the other hand, if you’re headed on a jaunt through different cities and towns in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia — there’s no need to stuff your bag full of extra deodorant, medicine, toothpaste, etc. You’ll be able to purchase all of those items at your destination. You may not be able to find your favorite brand, but try the local stuff, it’s fun. Worrying too much about overpacking & packing the wrong things: If this is your first long-term/RTW trip, you’re going to pack things you’ll never use and you’re going to not pack things you wish you had. Accept it. You’ll quickly figure out what you don’t need – send them home. And the things you find out you need? Buy them at your destination. In fact, I often recommend purposefully under-packing so you can buy clothes at your destination. These items also end up being great souvenirs. Packing a Voltage Converter: Don’t get a voltage converter and a power plug adapter confused. A voltage converter converts your 120Volt power cord to whatever voltage is used at your destination. This sounds necessary, but because electronics are now made for use around the world, almost all power cords do this themselves now. Take a look at your laptop cord and you’ll see that it can handle 100-240Volt, making a voltage converter unnecessary. You will definitely need power plug adapters, but those are cheap and easy to pack. Bringing a Money Belt: There are many who will argue the importance of having a money belt. I, however, am not a fan. They’re uncomfortable, get sticky and sweaty and you look ridiculous when you pull things out of them. If you’re concerned about being pick-pocketed, I recommend pants with zipper pockets. What did I miss? Have you made your own packing mistakes that you recommend others to avoid? Do you disagree with one of my recommendations? Leave a comment below and let me know!
In our previous post, we gave a break-down of what to pack for a long-term or round the world (RTW) trip for guys. Today, we’ll take a look at the female edition. I present to you, our guest poster (my wife), Sharon Duckworth. The Bags 1. Main Pack: The most important feature of your pack is going to vary depending on different traveling styles. For us, we found that it was most helpful having more than one opening to the inside. 2. Carry-on Bag: This was given to me as a gift but ended up being one of the more important items out of all. This is what I would bring with me on a train or a bus while my main pack was down at the bottom. It was the perfect size; it just barely fit my netbook computer, a leisure reading book, my travel pillow, and had a second compartment for all of my other items I wanted to have at all times. 3. Over the shoulder purse (not pictured): This was my day bag that I brought around with me while sightseeing. It was small and had a long, adjustable strap that allowed me to wear it across one shoulder for protection from bag snatchers. Make sure it also has zippers and enclosed pockets to prevent pick pocketing. Clothes 1. Jacket: If you’re traveling in cold weather, it’s crucial to have a tough, waterproof jacket. Mine happened to be extra awesome; the lining of the jacket was a separate fleece zip-up that I could unattach and wear when it was not completely freezing. 2. (1) A plain old, bulky t-shirt 3. (1) A fitted, long sleeved t-shirt 4. (1) A nicer sweater to wear if you don’t want to feel like a man for a night 5. (2) Pairs of jeans 6. (4) Tank tops to be worn by themselves or as undershirts when it’s cold 7. (1) An athletic pull-over 8. (1) A summer dress that is appropriate to be worn in conservative countries 9. (1) A pair of long shorts 10. (1) A plain, high collared fitted t-shirt 11. (1) A plain, v-neck t-shirt (for a bit of variation) 12. (1) A nice “going-out” shirt 13. (1) A pair of comfy/sleeping/lounge pants 14. (1) A fabric tote bag to hold underwear, bras, and socks 15. (1) A pair of comfy shorts (very versatile!) 16. (1) An awesome pajmina (can be worn as a bikini wrap, scarf, blanket, etc) Shoes 1. (1) Some sort of athletic shoes (depending on the types of activities you do while traveling). Here, I have a pair of New Balance trekking shoes that are light and easy on the eyes. 2. (1) Pair of flip flops. These should be from a good, durable brand that can be worn in water (you’ll sometimes have to use them while showering). Electronics 1. (1) Digital Camera 2. (1) Amazon Kindle (my newest obsession) 3. (1) iPod or other mp3 player 4. (1) Asus Eee 1005HA Netbook Storage Things Although it is important to have your main pack open up in multiple areas to be able to reach all of your belongings with ease, these plastic bags were essential in saving space and keeping clothes organized. 1. (2) Large Space Bag to go (I separated shirts from bottoms) 2. (1) Plain, large ziploc bag to hold my flip flops when it was cold (mainly to keep from them touching my other things) Toiletries 1. (1) REI First Aid Kit 2. (1) Small bag to hold feminine items… 3. (1) Absolutely amazing Eagle Creek Toiletry Bag (has multiple compartments and endless awesomeness) 4. (1) Moleskine for those days when you walk for 12 hours straight 5. (1) Travel sized body lotion 6.(1) Contact Lens stuff (if needed) 7. (1) Facewash 8. (1) Face moisturizer with SPF (VERY IMPORTANT! Most travelers are constantly outside in the sun. Prevent your skin from looking like a handbag.) 9. (1) Tiger Balm (the best medicine for mosquito bites… Seriously) 10. (1) Regular face moisturizer for the evening (I’m big on skin care) 11. A razor (unless you like looking like a wildebeest) 12. Shampoo and Conditioner 13. (enough) EARPLUGS (I could not have survived staying in hostel dorms without a steady supply of these) 14. (1) A compact mirror 15. (1) Large fast dry shower towel 16. (2) Nail clippers 17. Pain killers 18. (1) Deodorant (tough to find in many Asian countries) 19. (1) Travel hairbrush that folds into a very compact piece of plastic Other 1. (1) Headlamp 2. (1) Laptop power cord 3. (3) Good, sturdy hairties 4. (1) Chapstick with SPF 5. (1) Sunglasses 6. (1) Travel pillow 7. (1) iPod and Kindle power cords 8. (2) Pen 9. (1) Multi-use knife 10. (2) Copies of your Passport, (1) Copy of your ID, (1) Copy of your birth certificate (We have only ever used our Passport copy) 11. (1) All-in-one power plug adapter 12. (3) Bra-strap concealer (If you’re like me, you hate showing your bra straps when you’re wearing a racer back tank…it’s just tacky) 13. (5) Passport photos 14. (1) Blindfold (Also for those hostel dorm rooms…) 15. (1) Laptop lock 16. (1) Passport This concludes my personal list of what to pack. I realize that I am a very… comprehensive packer. I know what I won’t go without, and I don’t skimp out on items that pertain to my health. Also, as women, we need to pack more than men (but I’m not judging against any men out there who wear bras and get a period once a month), so I hope this list of items helps you to remember things you might have overlooked. Can you think of anything that you can add to this list? Substitutions? Questions?
Happy New Year! Travel more is a top New Year's resolution people make each year. If travel is one of your resolutions this year, we're here to help you make it come true! Instead of creating our own list of the best places to visit in 2016, we decided to curate the wisdom for you from many of the other lists already out there on the interwebs. Unanchor will help you save time on planning an itinerary of what to do, see (& not see), when, and where so you can get inspired and start exploring on your own right now with knowledge from a local. Here are your 12 best places to travel to in 2016: 1. Taipei, Taiwan Taipei Highlights in 72 Hours *NEW* 2. Georgia Tbilisi Weekend Highlights 3. Ecuador Cuenca Highlights in 3 Days 4. Dublin, Ireland Dublin Local's Highlights in 3 Days 5. Iceland Iceland Road Trip Highlights in 4 Days *NEW* 6. Hawaii, USA Big Island Top 10 Highlights in 3 Days // Oahu Local's Highlights in 3 Days // Oahu on a Budget Highlights in 4 Days 7. Barcelona, Spain Barcelona Highlights in 3 Days // Barcelona Biking Highlights in 3 Days // FC Barcelona in 1 Day 8. Sydney, Australia Sydney Highlights in 3 Days *BEST SELLER* // Sydney Weekend Highlights 9. New York City, USA NYC Walking Highlights in 2 Days // NYC 5 Boroughs Local's Highlights in 6 Days // NYC Lower East Side Highlights in 1 Day // NYC Lower Manhattan Highlights in 1 Day // NYC Hudson River Highlights in 1 Day // NYC Jewish Highlights in 2 Days // NYC Brooklyn Foodie Highlights in 2 Days // NYC Asian Food Highlights in 3 Days // NYC Hidden Bars Highlights in 2 Days 10. Washington, D.C., USA Washington, D.C. Highlights in 4 Days // Washington, D.C. Local's Highlights in 3 Days 11. U.S. Virgin Islands St. Croix Highlights in 2 Days 12. Mexico Mexico City Highlights in 3 Days // Mexico City Highlights in 7 Days // Ciudad de México Reflejos en 7 Días // Yucatan Highlights in 5 Days *BEST SELLER* There are 2 bonus locations we wanted to share with you that appeared the most on the best places to visit lists but we do not have an Unanchor itinerary for (yet): Bonus #1: St. Helena - a volcanic island in the South Atlantic roughly halfway between South America and Africa. Bonus #2: Cuba - specifically Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage Site a couple hours west of Havana. -- If you want more travel inspiration, here are the lists of top travel destinations for 2016 we used to curate our list for you: Travel & Leisure: Best Places to Travel in 2016 National Geographic: Best Trips 2016 New York Times: 52 Places to Go in 2016 Lonely Planet: Best in Travel 2016 U.S. News & World Report: World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16 Forbes: The 14 Coolest Places To Visit In 2016 CNN: Where to go in 2016: Top 16 up-and-coming destinations Frommer's: Best Places to Go List for 2016 Fodor's: Go List 2016 Viator: 50 Amazing Places to Go in 2016