Things to Know Before You Go

Things to Know Before You Go

Usually, when we travel it is quite simple. One location or a few locations but all in the same or similar temperatures.

This trip will take us from Saudi Arabia to Scotland. From the Middle East, Africa, to Europe then the United Kingdom and Ireland. From a cruise to a land tour and everything in between.

One of the biggest challenges we had for this six week trip was the different temperatures we were going to be experiencing.

For temperatures from 38 degrees Celsius to 6 degrees Celsius, it was a challenge especially with only one suitcase, one carry-on, and one backpack each. What do you bring and why are you bringing it?

Layers, layers, layers is the answer.

We had to make sure that the clothes that we did bring could be easily laundered, light enough to dry quickly, and also have clothes for elegant/dress up nights.

Everything from swimwear to raincoats and sweaters.

Here are our suggestions regarding clothing.

1) Pack clothes that can be put together to have many different looks with the same clothes. Lay it all out and see the options that mix and match. For instance, swim wear black bottoms match most tops and the same vice versa for black top to bottoms. Same with pants and shirts or skirts.

2) If you have dress up for the evening, keep in mind you are probably only going to wear it for a couple of hours. It can then be worn a couple of times in a few weeks before laundering most times. Pack a few lightweight dresses with sweaters and the same for men. A few dress shirts and golf shirts will fit the bill.

3) Choose lightweight fabrics that are comfortable to wear, easy to launder as you will have to handwash at some point, but warm enough too. We will inevitably be washing clothes in six weeks and have to keep this in mind. You can pay to do it on cruises but it is by the item and will cost a lot of money to launder on a ship. Cruise lines have a line in the shower to hang items but we also have pulled the deck chairs into the room to hang clothing overnight.

4) Swimwear for warmer weather and also any indoor pools. Hot tubs are a treat after lots of walking or cold pools for dipping in on hot days. Remember coverups for swimsuits for women.

5) Do not forget a hat or two as you will need this in hot or cold. We even packed things to cover our necks for sand and rain. Women can pack scarves to use double duty for covering head in areas that are culturally sensitive or need additional protection from sun and/or sand.

6) Depending on your sleepwear, shorts can be double duty if they are lightweight and comfortable. Can be washed and hung to dry overnight to be used again. Make sure you are comfortable to get a good sleep.

7) Footwear is critical. Lightweight running shoes for long walking tours and uneven surfaces. Lightweight casual shoes for short walking. Sandals and flip flops for pool decks. One to two pair of comfortable dress shoes.

8) Pants both long and short plus a pair of stretchable pants too. Men can double duty with zip off pants if they are nice enough. Always about looking good but being comfortable.

9) Sunglasses are a must to protect your eyes. The desert sun is not forgiving nor the glare off of water. 

10) If some of your clothes still look good but you were going to get rid of them anyways, at the end of your trip donate these to someone who is in need. Try to clean them first, or course. Lightens your load and makes more room for your travel purchases along the way. 

Next challenge is visas for different countries. Research these well. There are many companies that do visas for countries but they are a third party. Look closely and go through the government website for the countries that you require visas.

Many countries do not require a visa if your stay is less than 72 hours or have a different rate or type. Double check to save money. Also make sure that you are getting the right kind of visa as there are different kinds for different stays.

Regarding currency, do your homework. The American Dollar and the Euro can be used throughout our entire trip but some countries take advantage of tourists if you are not using their currency. Check currency exchanges before you leave.  For instance, in Jordan, they take the US$ and the Euro but give 50% less value than the currency actually is.

For example, one Jordanian Dinar rated 30% higher than the US$ or the Euro when in fact it is equal to a Canadian dollar. In this case, it would be good to bring their currency. Check travel blogs to see people’s experiences. We will explain this later in the blog of this area.

Have a copy of your passports somewhere and also any medical information. On cruises, they will often take your passports to get proper stamps from the countries you visit along the way. Ensure that you have a copy in case the worst case scenario happens and it is misplaced. You will need this information handy. We actually have a picture on our cell phones and also printed copies too.

Travel insurance is very important and make sure you have the coverage you require. Bring copies of coverage with you. On cruise ships, you will require insurance that is separate from your own travel insurance.

They are a floating city and have their own rules. Be prepared for this additional cost. You should have continuous insurance for the entire time including the departure and then the arrival back home.

When we pack for toiletries, we always pack smaller amounts so that we can use and then get rid of along the way. No reason to bring full size ones.

Do not forget suntan lotion and bug spray. We will touch on this more on another blog. No mention of bug spray being required but oh boy was it needed.

Pack laundry soap for lighweight washing.

Have copies of the documents for all your travels including any tours you book ahead of time.

For cruises, it may be important to even book your tours in advance. We booked our tours in advance and were extremely thankful as many of the tours we booked were sold out. They are usually cheaper too.

Internet is not that easy to find in the Middle East and Africa without paying for it. Not a lot of available wifi spots without a cost. We paid for internet on the ship with browsing. Not cheap but it became absolutely necessary to have.

Last but not least luggage tags. We have had luggage lost before. Luckily, it was found and returned but many never see their luggage again. Get trackable luggage tags with an app. Airports have free wifi and it is good to know if your luggage is on board with you. Thank goodness we have these on this trip.  We follow our luggage with our app throughout our trips. We will touch on that later on too.

Try not to overpack and leave room for the goodies you buy along the way. 

Most importantly, if you forget something you can usually find it somewhere on your trip or something similar. Do not sweat the small stuff and enjoy the vacation. 

 Stay courious Nomads!

Back to blog