Aktualisiert: 11. Dez 2019
After we’ve traveled through nine African countries, India and Nepal, we are going to be on the road again soon. The third part of our mission leads us towards the Far East. On the first of September we’ll start our journey in Moscow. From there we’ll travel to Siberia and take the Trans-Mongolian Railway to Mongolia and China, then we’ll move on to Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Mexico and Cuba.
What do you take with you on a world trip? What rules apply to this mission? Here is my packing list for the big trip:
Packing list (fits in a small backpack, weight: 6 kilos):
* travel guitar, 3 shirts, 1 long skirt (can be converted into a short skirt), 1 sweater, 1 jacket, 3 pairs of socks, 3 panties, 1 bikini, 1 pair of sandals, heat pads, 1 small shoulder bag, 1 large scarf (most important piece of clothing because it’s multifunctional. When it’s cold, you can put it around your neck or around your shoulders. As a protection the sun or when visiting a mosque, you can wrap it around your head. You can wrap it as a skirt around your waist or put it around a pullover and turn it into a pillow)
* Mobile phone, charger, passport, a few passport photos, vaccination certificate, 100 Euro / Dollar in cash, small memory stick, GoPro, small tripod for mobile phone, small powerstation, small Apple headphone
* Children toothbrush, small toothpaste, sunscreen, mini travel cream & soap, contact lenses, small contact lens water, disinfectant wipes, tampons !!! (hard to get in many African countries and India), tweezer and nail file
* Medication: malaria quick test, malaria tablets, aspirin, tablets for diarrhea
* Clothesline, washing powder, safety pin / staple
Pack everything into small bags. Packing bags for clothes are fantastic. Then you will find everything very easily.
* Don’t worry too much about the country informations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and don’t listen to the paranoia of other people. The world is full of irrational fear. You don’t have to make unreasonable decisions, but too much caution may prevent you from discovering interesting corners and / or meeting great people. For example, when we traveled to Mali, the north of the country was unstable and dangerous for tourists. So we stayed in the south.
* Take as little luggage as possible. Only hand luggage! If you need something, you can always buy it locally and possibly give it away again. So you don’t have to stress out packing and there is no waiting at the luggage claim. You’re more flexible, you can jump on a tuktuk in no time with all your stuff fitting between your legs. In addition, you can also decide spontaneously, where you want to stay for the night, if you carry everything with you all the time. Minimalism can also become a philosophy of life. We need less than we think.
* Don’t plan too much before your departure. Don’t read too much about the place you travel to. Rather ask the local people. It saves time and the locals know best where to go anyway.
* Buy a local SIM card plus data at the airport on arrival or just after you crossed the border. (It’s very cheap in most countries and it makes planning during your stay much easier)
* Stay local. Eat local. Live with the locals. Address people and ask questions. Don’t be shy! Ask for their favorite restaurants, favorite foods or favorite places.
* Learn at least a few words or phrases in the local language when you enter a new country
* Stay away from the big cities, unless it's a city you really want to see. Otherwise, prefer to travel inland, in the provinces. That way, you’ll experience much more authenticity and tradition and you’ll get to know the "real" life of the people living there.
* Do not believe the hype - avoid tourist attractions. Unless you really want to see something, then try to travel in the off season.
* Fly as little as possible. Use local transport, train, tram, bus, minibus, taxi, tuktuk, hitch hiking. Depending on the country, it may also make sense to rent or buy a car.
* Use online recommendations and traveler blogs for travel tips or for Airbnb and co. But don’t read too many comments (e.g. Google, Tripadvisor etc.). Often these are confusingly paradoxical. Trust in your intuition and decide quickly.
* Rule of 3. I have set the rule of 3 for myself. I can only consider three offers - for example, three Airbnb apartments. This makes it easier to decide and minimizes the danger of getting bogged down in details.
* Help others where you can. Take hitchhikers with you when you have a car. Share your food, give away water bottles when someone asks you for water in the street. Don’t give money to begging children, even if it’s hard at times. Most of the time, they are being exploited by criminal gangs. It is better to give donations to a local aid organization.
* Go with the flow. Follow your instinct. This way you’ll come across many suprises. Just by detours you will find unexpected treasures. The best anecdotes arise in unplanned places. Think about the stories you want to tell, once you’re old. The story of you walking through life smoothly? That would be boring, right? So lose control from time to time and let yourself drift.
( Martin Fliegenschmidt is co - author of the travel manifesto, read also his column:
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