So we’ve scrimped and saved for two years, picked the route, booked the tickets and jumped for joy when handing in our notice at work. But once the jabs and visas have been sorted, the equipment researched and purchased and a rough route around each country mapped, what we really want are tips from those in the know. Which hostels have the best view? What phrases will serve us the best? Which tours will astonish us the most? And of utmost importance, just where can we get the best food?

Top tips can come in all sorts of packages, from the person I met at a music festival who was so excited about all the places we were going to, he took an hour to write down all his ideas in purple pen on the back of a leaflet, to the friend who went into terrifying detail about the hotter-than-hot soup that was the best thing she had ever eaten but that made her cry “in a good way”.

Vietnamese phrasebook
The most bizarre and specific tip came from the lady at work whose top tip for India was “take a sports bra for the bus and camel rides”. Now I am not sure how useful that ‘titbit’ will be for my boyfriend… but I have definitely put said item in my pile of travelling things.

And that’s another thing: I have been collecting all sorts of things since I started planning the trip. The pile currently includes amongst other things, a seam-free head scarf (an essential tip from another traveller), 10 bottles of hand sanitizer gel (thanks Dad, I know the money in India is dirty) and five seriously annotated guide books (this is where an iPhone would come in handy).

My original plan to take no more than 11kg in my bag seems to be looking pretty unlikely and the whole ethos of travelling is surely not ‘collecting’ stuff. But then on the other hand, I suppose it is; I fully expect to collect friends, photos, recipes and an array of strange items that in years to come will raise the question “what was I thinking?”. But that’s the other fantastic thing: I won’t be thinking. At least not about the things that seem to have become so important in my little world, like commuter traffic and the price of petrol and the latest media sensationalism. All I will be thinking about is the memories that I’ll be collecting and where I might go next!

So with my sport bra for Pushkar Camel trips, my shopping list for Hoi An tailors, my cycling legs for Angkor Wat and my stomach of steel for Queenstown, I’m about to start my next collection: tickets.

Your thoughts on "Pre-trip collecting: items, tips and tickets"

  • Hi Rachael, if you want an app for iPhone to plan your trip and get all the info, you could use Right now we don't have too many information about India; but you can add your own info and tips so you have everything on the mobile; and you can share your photos and messages of what you are visiting through FB and TW and receive comments and suggestions from your friends. It works 100% offline, including maps! Maybe you will still be carrying those 5 books, but you will be able to add more info without having hundreds of papers :)

    on November 6, 2010 at 2:36 am Reply

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