Don’t forget your undies!
Trust us, it’s not going to work—no matter how many times you jump on your suitcase, it won’t close around your entire wardrobe. But that’s okay, because with these simple tips, you’ll be well prepared for your travels with Compassion in the developing world. And the first tip? Less is more—yes, that may mean forgoing your hair straightener.
1. Remember the basics!
You will enjoy your trip more if you don’t bring a lot of extra luggage to haul around. Pack the basics, and take this as an opportunity to detox from all your creature comforts: high heels, doonas and nail polish included.
2. Modesty is key.
Respect the Compassion families you’ll be meeting by packing modest clothing and leaving your expensive (or expensive-looking!) jewellery at home. In most of the countries where Compassion works, men are generally expected to wear long pants and women are expected to wear skirts or dresses that cover the knees and modest tops with sleeves and high necklines.
3. It’s all about the layers.
Pack clothes that you can layer together, for cold or hot weather, and can wear comfortably for long hours at a time. You may want to consider taking clothes that are wrinkle-resistant and that you can easily spot-clean.
4. Be prepared for dirt.
Pack a pair of walking shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Your travels may see you walking through mud, on dusty roads and through rocky terrain.
5. First-aid kit.
Pack a personal first-aid kit, complete with aspirin, tropical strength insect repellent, hand sanitiser, sunscreen and over-the-counter digestive upset and anti-diarrhoea medication.
6. Be conscious of religious symbols.
Although Compassion is unashamedly Christian, it’s best to avoid packing clothes that display overtly Christian symbols. Many of the countries where Compassion works are primarily Buddhist or Hindu, and displaying Christian symbols can be a source of tension.
7. Small and practical gifts.
Consider packing some small, practical gifts for your sponsored child and their family. For example, you might like to give your sponsored child a backpack, a pen or some stickers. Alternatively, you can purchase a small gift at your destination. This means one less thing to pack, and will also help to support your sponsored child’s local economy.
8. Remember your medication!
Remember to pack any necessary medications that your doctor recommends!
9. Be mindful of carry-on.
Pack your carry-on luggage wisely. It’s best to put any medicine, travel documents (such as tickets and passport) and other valuables in your carry-on luggage, as well as your toothbrush, a change of clothes and underwear so that you have a few things with you in the event of lost luggage. If you plan to take carry-on luggage only, be sure your liquids are in containers no larger than 100ml or you will lose them at the airport check-in!
10. Check airline regulations.
Lastly, make sure you check the regulations for the airline carrier you are travelling with to ensure your luggage is within weight restrictions. But with these tips, we’re sure that won’t be a problem!
Words by Elissa Webster
Photo by Ben Adams