I thought it was time I did another travel advice post since I have done nothing but travel in 2017 and I think I’m getting pretty good at it. I am a worrier, even if i think up a completely far-fetched and ridiculous scenario that would never happen it plays on my mind for weeks leading up to my trip and if I let it build up to much it can make me second guess every aspect of my upcoming adventure. Here are some of the things I have set in place to make sure that my worry doesn’t stand in the way of experiences during this year of adventure outside of my comfort zone.

Keep important things separate…

Travelling overseas solo comes with a lot of worries. One of the biggest worries I had was the fear of forgetting or losing my important documents like my passport or flight information. When you move overseas you need a lot of paperwork. Identification, visas, copies of cards in case you lose your wallet are all things that during travel need to be kept safe and on your person. However keeping everything in one suitcase could lead to worse consequences if that particular suitcase is stolen or lost.

I would recommend spreading your important items out amongst your suitcase and carry on so that you have a copy of everything at all times. Keep your passport and wallet in a carry on bag that you will have in your sight at all times. I kept my passport and boarding passes in a travel wallet inside my handbag which was always zipped shut and carried by me throughout the airport then safely stored under the seat in front of me within my sight when I was on the plane. I then also had a folder full of certified copies of my passport and other important documents stored in my second piece of carry on luggage so that if I were to lose my original passport or credit cards then I would at least have some form of identification on me until I could get them replaced. This system of organisation just helps to minimise my worrying while travelling.

Pack for all seasons you will experience…

I find travelling to be most comfortable in thin, light clothing. I do much better in cold weather than the heat so I find the best way to dress for travelling is to layer as you go. I left Australia in 30+ degrees so I really couldn’t go wrong with a trusty pair of leggings and an oversized t-shirt. I wore a pair of black leggings from the brand Boody which are made from bamboo fibre so they are super soft and comfortable. The material is stretchy but still thick enough that they’re acceptable to wear in a non-gym environment (no underwear was shown through those bad boys) and I don’t know much about bamboo fibre but I do know that those leggings are comfortable to wear in both heat and cold and perfectly adapt to the temperature.

I advise wearing a t-shirt that’s slightly slouchy so that it doesn’t cling to you and make you feel uncomfortable. I wore a ‘friends t-shirt (which is probably a pyjama top) and it was so comfy. When I got to Germany it was in the negative degrees so I needed to add a couple of layers. In my carry on suitcase I had a jumper and a winter coat to put on over my clothes and a my winter boots to swap with my converse. Packing these items in your hand luggage also means you will have less heavy items in your suitcase leaving room for more clothes!

Pack nail polish in a separate bag…

One time I travelled overseas and for some reason decided I needed to pack a bright yellow nail polish to bring with me. I had it stored in a zip lock bag with some jewellery then packed in my toiletry bag. 24 hours later when I arrived I saw that the nail polish had leaked over a necklace and made everything in the bag yellow. Luckily it was just costume jewellery because the chemicals in the nail polish completely ruined the necklace’s chain. Lessons learnt: if you pack nail polish, don’t pack it separate from anything important and yellow nail polish if always a bad idea.

Always pack chewing gum and headphones…

 

Chewing gum is somewhat of a comfort mechanism for me. If I’m nervous about a test or travelling then I chew on a piece of gum to distract myself. It’s a much better habit to have than biting my nails and is a really great hidden anxious quirk that really works to calm me down. It’s also great on plane trips for two reasons. Firstly, the chewing motion helps prevent your ears from popping during take-off and landing and after a long haul flight it keeps your dehydrated mouth feeling a little fresher.

Whether I’m travelling on a train or sitting alone in a café I find listening to music not only calming but also a good replacement for the lack of conversations I’m having making me feel less alone. Since moving to Germany I’ve noticed an extreme lack of natural background noise. In Australia I’m used to hearing sounds, day and night, from geckos and insects or birds yet here there just isn’t any of that. When I’m sitting in my room I need to have a Youtube video or music playing even if I’m not interested in what’s playing I just need noise to stop me from feeling claustrophobic. I used to hate wearing headphones in public because I thought it came across rude or isolated me but now I find it comforting to have a bit of background music playing and just make sure to take my headphones out when I enter a store or restaurant so that I can say hello and be polite. I just find that listening to music as I walk along (especially Ed Sheeran’s new album) gives the city I’m in a soundtrack and hopefully in years to come I can listen to these songs and be transported back to this space in time.

Never go anywhere without access to money…

 

It is always a good idea to carry a little bit of cash around with you when travelling as you can’t always rely on international ATM’s or restaurants having EFTPOS when you’re in a different country. Before I left Australia I converted a little bit of cash that I had saved in my piggybank into Euros. This money came in handy during my first week of living abroad where I didn’t have a bank account set up in Germany yet and had a few things I needed to buy. Another tip I have is to look into setting up a travel money card that’s connected to your bank account.

I know that ANZ and Commonwealth Bank of Australia both have similar travel money plans that consist of 2 new cards which can be used for EFTPOS payments and ATM withdrawals in most places around the world. If you are going overseas backpacking or travelling to multiple countries where the currencies may change then I definitely recommend getting yourself a travel money card. Not only is it cheaper (hello, minimal ATM fees) it is also safer to use this card abroad. If you lose this card you can cut off access to this smaller account but still have your main account secured and accessible so you don’t have to be stranded without money. It is also great for world travel because you can load it with multiple different currencies at once so when I travel to the UK later this year I will be able to have access to British Pounds without needing to carry around loads of cash.

Get yourself a good data plan…

This is another technique I recommend for comfort and ease of mind while travelling. Not everywhere you go will have wifi available so having a decent data plan, I have 1GB a month which is plenty, helps keep me calm when I’m off on my adventures. Having data on my phone allows me to use google maps if I get lost on my route, translator apps if I get lost in translation and messenger apps to contact my family back home in Australia in case I just feel lost. Having access to all of these at all times is great because even if I don’t use them it’s still comforting to know they’re there if I need it.

If you are anything like me and have the soul of a free spirit trapped in the mind of a worrier then I really hope this post may just help calm those nerves so that you can fulfil your wanderlust too.

N. xx

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