Unnecessary but handy to have on your travels

Friday, 25 November 2016

We have been away for almost a month now and I thought it would be cool to write about some of the bits and bobs we have taken with us that have come in handy or been fun to have so far on the trip. Now I must stress that these bits are in no way essential like some things (passport, insurance... blah blah blah) but they are things I have felt like 'oh I'm glad I packed that'!

I'm gonna start with Ling - our little travel monkey! My dad bought us Ling as a little going away present. He is super cute and is great to put in all our photos to send back home. So far he has literally come everywhere with us - when we get home we plan on taking all the pictures with him in and making a big collage. Before Ling I wasn't aware that travel monkeys were actually a thing and if you search #travelmonkey on Instagram you can see all the pictures featuring all the monkey mascots on their travels - it's rather comical. Ling is only small and fit easily into my rucksack, so if you're after a little pal to join you on your trip that gives you a great excuse to snap even more pictures then I advice you grab yourself a travel monkey.

Next up are my holistic flight slippers. Sounds a bit pretentious, I know, but these have been AMAZING! They were a gift from my manager at swimwear boutique Biondi London, and have been one of the best things I have packed for the trip. Super soft and silky these little slippers don't just look pretty they also have a great purpose. Inside the slippers are removable massaging insoles with little magnetic nodules that help improve your circulation when flying. Some of you may know that I was a little anxious about flying as I was recently hospitalised from a suspected blood clot. Now luckily nothing was actually found, but it was a very scary time and has resulted in be being extremely paranoid when it comes to my circulation when flying. Wearing the slippers really eased my anxiety but they also physically worked too, reducing swelling in my legs and feet. I must add that the magnetic, massaging insoles are also removable so you can just wear them as ordinary slippers - they have a luxurious velvet lining. In Japan these slippers have been extra useful as it is courteous to remove your shoes and put on a indoor 'slipper shoe' when entering homes and even some shops and restaurants - obviously most places provide them but it's nice to have your own.

Onto stationary bits - I am crazy about nice stationary so it was only right that I had some for the trip. Two things that I highly recommend are folders and little notepads. This might seem really obvious if you're planning a big trip, but trust me they are sooo handy. We have taken two separate folders - a watertight zip folders which we call 'the serious folder' that has all our most precious bits in (passports, travel insurance docs, card reader, flight documents etc). And then we have the 'fun folder' (see picture below), this has loads of bits and bobs we have been collecting so far on our trip (meal receipts, pocket maps, stamps, postcards etc). My best pal, Ally bought as a huge scrap book to do when we get home so all these little memories we have been collecting will be going in there! As for note pads, I have taken three. One just has some notes on our travelling itinerary, plus some info on the places we're going. The other two (see pictures below) are for using while I'm away. The map print booklet was bought for me by my lovely friend Lauren and so far it has come in handy as a little stamp book (Japan have lots of stamping stations at there different attractions). The other one I bought with the folder from Wilkos, it's a super cute mini diary that allows you to write just one sentence every day. Initially, I bought it to just have as a memory and a keep sake for when I get home, but it has come in handy loads - especially when it comes to writing my blog, as it helps me see everything we have done on different days and prioritise posts. It's also nice to just have a small space to write in, otherwise it could take up a lot of time and I just wouldn't bother doing it!

Next is something that was recommended to me by a friend. My friend Beth, who has not long come back from a trip to South East Asia told me 'make sure you take a little blanket or a sarong' so I decided to get something that doubles up as both AND MORE! I got this huge, lightweight grey wrap from Asos for £12. It was advertised as a blanket scarf but when it arrived I realised that it could also be easily worn as a coverup sarong on a beach, a shoulder wrap in the evenings, an average neck scarf if it's cold, something to to lay on at the beach plus a blanket if I get chilly on flights or in high powered air conditioned hostels. Win.

The last thing is something that may seem quite obvious, a dry skin balm. From being on flights and having tired dehydrated skin, to cold windy weather (we have had in Japan). This balm by Atomicals has been really handy to have. It's super lightweight and not as gloopy as Vaseline. I have mainly been using it on my lips, but it has also come in handy on little patches of eczema that I get on the back of my hands and my elbows.

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