Sunday, March 11, 2012

Travel Tips - What I have learnt

I am back to Malaysia after an unexpected event. At the moment, I am still in the process of getting a replacement passport. I was scheduled for an interview for further investigation. You must be wandering why is it so difficult to get a replacement Malaysian passport? According to some people, Malaysian passport can fetch more than 20k in the black market. In Central America and South America, I only need visa for Panama and Bolivia. Not bad isn't it? Of course I want my passport, it is precious!

Here I would like to share with all travelers some travel tips that I find useful. At the beginning of the trip, I had hard time packing and putting everything I want (not I need) in my 60L backpack. Along the way I find things that are useful and things that I never ever use them and things I wish I have them. So here is the packing list which I think is necessary.

Things to pack/have (Important) - You need them to travel
  1. Passport - Make photocopy of your passport and laminate it, used for purchasing bus ticket and hostel registration. Scan copy of your passport and email it to your email.
  2. Credit Cards - Best to have 2 Credit Cards, 1 VISA and 1 MASTER, store the 2 credit cards in different backpack
  3. Debit cards - For withdrawal of local cash, I used Citibank which has branches in many countries, withdrawal at their branches are service charge FREE! Another bank I would suggest is HSBC Bank or Santander Bank. Average service charge fees are US$4-5, it can end up to be a lot if you withdraw weekly.
  4. IDs, Driving License, student card, dive certification (if available) make scan copies of all and email it to your email
  5. Flight ticket (if available) make scan copies of all and email it to your email
  6. Travelers cheque - in case all else failed with your cards, e.g in Cuba. You can at least cash your travelers cheque, make note of your travelers cheque number
  7. Vaccination Certification/Yellow Fever Card - make scan copies of all and email it to your email
  8. Travel Insurance card (if available) make scan copies of all and email it to your email
  9. Travel pouch/money belt - to store all the above
  10. Pen and a small notebook - to write or make note
  11. An open mind, sense of humor and common sense
Cloths :- 
** Remember! No matter it is 3 days or 3 months or 1 year, you can survive with this list **
  1. 3+ shirts/blouse
  2. 3+ trousers/shorts
  3. 3+ pair of socks
  4. 3+ sets or undergarments
  5. swimsuit
  6. sweater, depends on the weather if it is cold country then a set of cold wear which include a gloves, winter hat, wool jacket, a set of long john
  7. wind breaker or raincoat
  8. bandana or scarf or hat- for windy day, cold day, dusty day, hot day, etc
  9. a pair of jeans
  10. a long sleeve shirt and long pants 
  11. lightweight towel
  12. a pair of trekking boots and walking shoes
  13. Flip-flops or sandle - you need to rest your feet after a long walking day in your boots or shoes
Toiletries :-
  1. Soap and Shampoo
  2. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  3. Razor/blades
  4. Deodorant
  5. Lotion
  6. Lip balm
  7. Insect repellent
  8. Sunblock
  9. Toilet paper
Medical kit :-
  1. Medicines for malaria, diarrhea, fever, headache, couch and flu
  2. Water Purifying tablets
  3. Cream for insects bites
  4. Bandages or plasters
  5. Vitamins or necessary medications

Things to pack (Moderate) -things that you can buy along the way but good to have them when you travel

  1. Padlock - to lock your luggage or locker in the hostel 
  2. Universal adapter - to charge your electrical devices in different countries
  3. Mobile device or laptop or any devices that has WIFI features - most of the hostel has Internet facility, some has computer to share but you will have to queue for it.
  4. Battery charger for the above
  5. Flash drive
  6. Alarm clock - it can be in your watch or mobile but it really helps when you need to catch a 5am bus
  7. Head lamp or torch
  8. Multipurpose tool/ Swiss Army knife
  9. Nail clipper
  10. Travel pillow and ear plug - for long bus ride and noise disturbance
  11. Zip lock bag - to store all your cloths or none wet proof stuff in your backpack
  12. Small backpack - for day trip
  13. Container/Tupperware - to store food, coffee, tea or sugar
  14. MP3 Player - during a long bus journey or boring raining day or anti social day :-)
  15. Sleeping sheet - to avoid sleeping on some dirty bed or to avoid bed bugs
  16. Passport photos - for visa applications
  17. Skype account with dialing value - to make calls overseas e.g for hostel booking, ticket reservation, emergency
  18. Guidebook - to know where you are or where you want to go
  19. Foreign Language Phrase book - to communicate
  20. Needle, treads,safety pin and duct tape - after travelling for a while there is always wear and tear, to fix a broken bag or shirt
  21. Cable tie - can do wanders
  22. Sleeping bag - only if you are planning to camp or travelling to cold weather country (sometime you might end up sleeping at bus terminal or airport) 
  23. Sunglasses
  24. Carabiner (useful to hang your boots or stuff on your backpack)
  25. Cloth lines or shoe string
  26. Lighter/matches
Camera equipment :-
  1. Camera and lens
  2. Camera pouch
  3. Battery charger
  4. Extra memory cards
  5. Extra batteries
  6. External hark disk to backup your photos
What ever that you are packing, make sure you can travel/walked with what you have for at least 30 minutes. At times, you need to search for an accommodation, walk up a hill or even rush for a bus.

My big backpack was 13kg and the small backpack of 5kg at the time of departure. Don't forget to leave some space for souvenirs. :-)


  1. Oh, this is a very helpful tip.. Enjoy your travel and keep on posting your experiences and what you learn along the way. Thanks.

  2. I'm leaving tomorrow for a month-long walk in Spain (the Camino de Santiago de Compostela). Your list is timely as I have just added 5 more things to carry. Thanks. I think. Happy travels.

    1. Have a great time in Spain, Take care! :-)