Hand Luggage – Your 24 Hour Survival Kit

Hand Luggage – Your 24 hour Survival Kit

Travelling to a new country can be both exciting and daunting. Preparation is the key to any occasion, which begins the minute you start packing. Well packed cabin baggage is a great place to start. Assuming you arrive by aircraft, you will generally have a 7kg allowance to take on board with you.

Should the unexpected happen, it pays to make sure your carry-on bag can see you through the first 24 hours.

It’s easy to feel less than your best after a long flight. Travel sized toiletries (less than 100ml) will help. Make sure you have liquid soap, a washcloth, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturiser, deodorant, sunscreen, a comb and any hair product you use, and makeup if you like (remember spare contact lens cases are great for holding a small amount of lipgloss, foundation etc if your usual container is larger than 100ml). If you wear contact lenses, have a spare pair packed, along with a trial sized bottle of lubricating drops – air on a plane can make your eyes drier than usual. For a list of what not to pack in your carry on, check on your airlines website.

About an hour or so from landing, head to the bathroom and freshen up. Don’t leave it until the last minute when everyone is thinking the same thing!

Make sure you have packed a spare change of clothes – t-shirt, underwear and a warmer layer too, none of which require ironing! A large scarf or sarong can be a godsend in a cabin bag. If you are landing in a country with vastly different customs to New Zealand, a scarf can be used as a wrap or headscarf, or it will keep off the sun and provide one other layer if the air-conditioning is set too high for your liking.

If you travel with medication, have enough to see you through at least 24 hours in your hand luggage. Delays do happen.

Always pack your phone or tablet charger in your carry-on luggage, along with the actual device, in case you are parted from your main luggage for any length of time.

Make several copies of your travel documents (including the photo page of your passport, any travel insurance details, accommodation bookings and itinerary). Keep one in your carry-on, one in your main bag, leave one with a friend or family member at home, and scan one to email to yourself, so it can be easily accessed in the case of a travel hiccup.

Research local customs before you leave and ask travel attendants for extra tips. Not only is this a respectful gesture, it may help alleviate awkward situations. All countries and cultures have their own expectations and foibles, along with firm requirements and laws. It is never a good idea to challenge these because they are different to what you are used to. When in Rome…

Take some local currency to get you started – some operators will ask for cash. Make sure you have researched things like the estimated cost of transfer from the airport to your accommodation, so you aren’t unwittingly the victim of an unscrupulous operator.

If English is not the first language of the country you are visiting, make plans. Learn a few basic phrases before you leave and make sure you have a translation app downloaded onto your phone, or a phrase book in your hand luggage. English is widely spoken throughout the world, but it is both polite and prepared to try to learn the local language.

Take an international pre-paid phone card in your wallet. It will tide you over in the case of unreliable mobile phone reception. Pre-paid data cards are also useful if your phone roaming charges are not fixed. Check this with your mobile provider before you leave.

Before you leave, take a critical look at your hand luggage – if this is all you have access to for the next 24 hours, can you manage? Once the answer is yes, by all means add that extra book or puzzle. Bon voyage!