As many of you may know (thanks to my excited social media mentions), earlier last month – I jetted off to Thailand, for a 16 day adventure with my boyfriend David. It had been a couple of months in the planning and we were both really excited for our trip – often sending each other pictures we’ve found on Instagram of the islands we were hoping to visit.
Although I visited Australia and Bali when I was a child, that part of the world lay largely unexplored for me and I imagined quite a culture shock, so I was both intrigued and delighted to be going.
The only part we really had a bit of trouble with was the packing aspect, as when you’re travelling round Thailand rather than staying in one place, it makes carrying great big suitcases a bit tricky. Plus, when we’re jumping on boats and planes to get to the next island, worrying about a heavy case was the last thing I want to be thinking about!
So, despite the fact we weren’t technically ‘backpacking’ (I’d love to say I’m adventurous enough to live on a budget and see Thailand through a backpackers eyes, I’m too much of a home comfort lover), we’ve got ourselves two rather large backpacks for the journey.
It was to be a bit of a tough squeeze, since I have a million and one outfits that I wanted to bring but limited space – and when you’re going away for a longer length of time in a country you’re not familiar with, you don’t want to forget anything vital.
Plus of course, I have a million and one dietary requirements (so need suitable snacks) and often take a few tablets (just in case my IBS flares up). So you could say that packing has probably been the main thing that I’d been thinking about in the weeks prior, desperately trying to arrange the logistics of it all too.
However, alas – we did managed to sort it – and to provide testament to how much thought has gone into making sure we didn’t miss a thing, I thought I’d put a little post together on it – just in case you’re planning your own trip or are wanting to see how I travel with dietary requirements.
The backpack was obviously a rather important part of the package, since it would be the item that I’d entrust my beloved make-up, clothes and cameras with for the entirety of our trip. I wanted something sturdy (and large enough) but from a brand known for its quality, which is why we went with Berghaus, ordering from Millets. David opted for the larger male 80L version, while mine was the 60L female option – which is tailored more to being easier to carry for smaller backs. Yes it’s all new to me!
I was a little dubious about how much I could fit in these things, because quite honestly, I’m used to mammoth suitcases which I just tend to stuff everything into. I knew I’d have to be a little more careful about my packing this time. However they are pretty much like that magic bag that Hermione has in the last two Harry Potter films – you know the one that she just keeps pulling stuff out of, with a never-ending capacity. They are deceptively spacious. And comfortable!
I won’t go through every last thing I’ve packed, because I’m sure you don’t want me to waffle on about my tampon stash and my ridiculous supply of plasters (you know, just in case) but if you’re interested, I will just touch upon a few items that I’ve come across recently that I know are pretty essential and worth talking about!
I absolutely love Graze – and ever since they brought out their little mini packs (sold in Boots, Tesco etc) I’ve been using them as my staple for journeys and snacks. Their herby bread basket is probably my favourite – and I have been known to stock up on five at a time. Oops. Anyway, so from the success of these – Graze have launched sharing packs, which are bigger bags of their much loved staples – in snack form. The size and format means that they are perfect for your travels, especially if you’re not quite sure how long a journey is going to be and want something to tired you over. They certainly fended off that hangry stage, which I seem to suffer from quite frequently.
When it comes to being bitten on holiday, I seem to be some sort of enticing chocolate creation in the mosquito world because I always come home with unsightly red marks everywhere. There was even the time that I got bitten by a horse fly and my whole leg swelled up and didn’t go down for two weeks. Fab! Anyway, this time, I’m going prepared and I’ve got myself all stocked up with Jungle Formula’s essentials – including their 2 pin plug-in, which gets rid of midges and biting insects and lasts up to 45 nights – so you don’t have to go to sleep smelling like alcohol, having doused myself in bug spray – yet you won’t get bitten either. It’s the perfect solution! In terms of brands too, I always opt for Jungle Formula as they’re pretty odourless and I’ve heard so many positive reviews. When I have been pro-active enough to use spray, this one has never let me down.
I know, I know – I said I wouldn’t talk about plasters, but I always keep a pack of Compeed handy – especially because I seem to be ridiculously prone to blisters – so much so even an afternoon in heels can result in several on the sole of my foot. Yep, really. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me either. With so much walking in store, I didn’t want to risk being uncomfortable and spending the whole time thinking about my feet rather than the beautiful surroundings.
Although the rucksacks are very safe, I feel more comfortable keeping all my valuables closer to my body – and so we decided pretty early on that we’d need body wallets for things like passports, travel money and documents. These ones are pretty basic and unassuming (but then really, you don’t want something flashy that attracts attention as that would defeat the point) but they’re super lightweight, have an adjustable waistband and a soft lining so that they’re comfortable to wear. I’d recommend one of these when travelling anywhere to be honest!
As a blogger, equipment is one of the main difficulties you have when it comes to packing, because you have to allow plenty of room for cameras, chargers, adapters, portable travel packs, waterproof cases and spare batteries and memory cards. Quite honestly, while typing – I’m staring at the vast array of items I had to somehow neatly pack safely away and wanting to run and hide in a corner. I don’t know how they all fitted in and it was a miracle that all of the equipment survived the trip because some of the memory cards are so tiny, I have to squint to see them. Anyway, enough with the moaning. Here’s some of my essentials for blogging on the move.
I made this (rather hefty) investment for this specific trip, because I knew going to Thailand was the adventure of a lifetime and while pictures are fantastic, having video footage to look back upon would be incredible too. I ummed and ahhed between the silver and the black, the latter of which is used by professionals as it does 4K filming. However I eventually settled on the silver because in all honesty, I wanted to be able to see the footage on the screen rather than having to buy a separate screen for the black (which was also double the price). If you want to see the footage we shot, you can watch my montage/vlog on YouTube here.
Although my rather snazzy marble phone case has served me well, I knew I needed something a bit more practical for Thailand and so to switch things up, I headed over to Tech21 – which has an amazing array of very handy cases for those on the move. Getting that all important Instagram shot next to a pool or the sea was one factor I needed to consider and so I made the decision to try the Evo Explorer Case for iPhone 6/6S, which seals your phone from dirt, dust and debris – oh and water. So it’s super handy. You can be rest assured that even if your phone falls 2 metres deep and stays there for an hour, it will still be in tact and ready to make phone calls. That’s worst case scenario though! Hopefully it’s just precaution.
In addition to this, we also opted for the Evo Enudrance with impact protection – which offers 60% extra charge – amazing for long days spent travelling with no plug sockets but not wanting to miss out on taking pictures or tweeting updates. Or even just the reassurance than in an emergency, your phone wouldn’t go dead. Both cases are so well made and I’ve been really impressed with their appearances (practicality and stylishness can indeed co-exist) and quality.
As well as my Olympus Pen, which the majority of my photographs from the trip were taken on, we also opted for a waterproof camera – for those all important ‘Thailand’ esque shots of the amazing aquatic life that the country has to offer.
Although we have the GoPro, which goes underwater for filming, I wanted something else for the stills and so this seemed like the perfect solution. At just under £50, it’s an affordable extra to really ramp up your content – and I love the fact that the device is dual screen – so whether you’re wanting selfies underwater, or to get your David Attenborough on and capture some of the incredible marine world, you can be rest assured you can do just this.
In terms of its ‘waterproof-ability’ (yes, definitely a word), this works up to 3 metres deep (around 10 feet), which is no further than you’d want to go if you were free swimming. It’s very lightweight and easy to use, my only slight bug-bare, is that it takes AAA batteries, which is only an issue because of cameras I’ve had in the past which swallow them up and end up being rather expensive investments. Saying that however, this seems to be pretty good so far as we haven’t had to change them!
When it comes to technology, probably one of the biggest annoyances is running out of battery. Usually, for me, this is when I’m just about to take the all important shot or have just found the perfect lighting. I charge my phone overnight but sometimes it’s difficult if you’re on the move and don’t have immediate access to a socket – and you know how notoriously rubbish the batteries are. Which, is where my new juice power stations come in very handy. In an assortment of sizes (the mini, the weekender and the mammoth power station) each offers between 1 full charge to 6 full charges of an iPhone 6. They’re sleek, pretty compact (which is great because I used half my rucksack for shoes) and so, so handy. A staple for any adventure!
Have you ever been to Thailand before? What did you pack?