Hooray! It’s holiday season. Tens of thousands of us will be excitedly packing cases, cleaning our homes to within an inch of its life (yes I do this too) and arguing with malfunctioning printers to print off tickets for planes and trains. How is it they always jam or run out of ink when we most need them? And I’m sorry but I don’t trust tickets on my phone. I feel much safer with them in my hand.
Then, after the initial enthusiasm, as the packing piles up on the spare bed, we’ll begin to wonder what can be left behind to ensure we’re within baggage allowances or to make the load easier to carry. But most of us have certain things we consider essential to a successful holiday and I’d like to share my revised version with you today.
- Anti-bacterial handwipes-especially perfect for drop down tray tables. Did you know that in 2015, a study discovered that plane tray table surfaces held more than eight times the bacteria found on toilet flush buttons? Gruesome!
- Lavender Oil-so soothing for sunburn. Being fair skinned, I always use factor 50 but may occasionally catch too much sun on overexposed areas. Lavender oil calms my skin down and, sprinkled on a pillow helps me to sleep soundly. It’s a beautiful fragrance too, reminding me of very joyous Summer days when, in my twenties, I lived in a Norfolk village. The lavender fields on the coastal road would fill the air with its heady scent during the endless hot weather.
- A European Sat Nav-this is essential for me when I’m landing somewhere new. I love my independence and freedom so always pick up a car at the airport and drive to my accommodation, usually self catering, sometimes a hotel. My advice is to do your homework first. I remember landing at Munich, expecting a drive into Austria of less than two hours. When we inputted the information into the SATnav and set off, we became aware that the drive was to take eighteen hours. Something was seriously wrong and it was the sat nav. Somehow it had come up with an address near Basle, Switzerland but it was easily corrected. Just don’t rely on it completely-use your homework. And also know the rules of the road. So if for example, you need to buy a pass as we did when driving through the German/Austrian border, you don’t get caught without one. And did you know that you may be fined in Spain if you drive in backless shoes?
- A packet of plain digestive or ginger snap biscuits-perfect for a dodgy tummy or those occasions when you just need something simple with your cuppa. Free chocolate chip cookies at every American motel I stayed in years ago were a great novelty… for about ten days. I then craved for a taste of Britain. Jubilant, I discovered a very small pack of shortbread in a supermarket but at three pounds quaked as I paid at the till.
- Scarf or wrap to cover shoulders- Wherever I stray, if there’s an open church or cathedral nearby I have to explore it. Discovering hidden secrets and histories of ancient buildings is one of my passions and they are usually cooler than sauntering in the afternoon sun. But many countries have a dress code for entry into religious buildings which invariably includes covering shoulders and cleavage. A lightweight scarf or wrap can be tied to a handbag so that it’s easy to drape elegantly across the exposed skin and doubles up as a way of protecting you from the sun. Choose a net scarf if you’re limited for space. It’ll screw up into a tiny bundle or, if you you’d prefer a pashmina or stole we have a large range of colours and styles.
- Lip Salve-I’m one of life lip lickers so lipstick soon disappears. Combined with heat and salt water, I have to take extra care to keep moisturising lips to prevent painful cracking. Any lip salve will do in and around hotels and apartments but I find tinned lip salve melts into liquid in intense heat. Instead I carry Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. It’s gooey and may not taste delicious but, in my opinion, is the best on the market. With a RRP of £28.00 it may appear to be an expensive luxury but you can find it online for as little as £12.75. Considering I use it on my lips at least four times a day all year round and my tube has been open for two years, it works out to be exceptionally good value and worth that little bit extra.
- All things to fight off mosquitoes! Mosquitoes just love me. I carry preventative plug-ins, sprays, buy candles, coils and now bracelets. Be warned that the coils smoulders, releasing an unpleasant and pungent odour, so should only be used outdoors. I’m finding sprays and the bracelets combined more effective when out and about. Oh-and, don’t forget creams, pens and sticks to rub into the bites for instant relief.
- Kindle-I am definitely a book in the hand reader but find a Kindle so easy for travelling. Not only is it light, I store a interesting range of books ready for the evenings or poolside. And its useful for downloading guide books too.
So that’s eight of my essentials for travelling abroad. Get well informed about rules and cultures before you travel and have a memorable and wonderful experience.