So, you've got your gap year "adventure of a lifetime booked". Well done you. Now comes the stressful part: packing. Forget clothes, shoes, underwear... we're focusing on the stuff you really need. From special sandpaper too pack-a-macs and bumbags, we've made a list - and there's even pictures - of things you definitely should not leave the UK without.
So, you've got your gap year "adventure of a lifetime booked". Well done you. Now comes the stressful part: packing.
Forget clothes, shoes, underwear... we're focusing on the stuff you really need. From special sandpaper too pack-a-macs and bumbags, we've made a list - and there's even pictures - of things you definitely should not leave the UK without.
Kagool/Kag in a bag/ Pack-a-mac
Whatever you want to call it, take a leaf out of this sunny couple and do it. They fold down into nothing and it's probably going to rain at some point.
Sandpaper - the special kind
This one's for the girls. If you really don't fancy hairy legs, then head down to Boots and grab yourself some of the sandpaper-y stuff they do. And... it means no dry shaving. Hurrah
It's not cool, but it is clever
Because it's always handy being able to walk
For those really dull moments which are bound to occur
Meaning you have to take less clothes, and you don't have to wash your stuff in a dirty river
No-one likes an insect bite
It'll come in handy, at some point
But swiftly moving on. To mark the release of their The Book of Everything, which contains, pretty well everything, our friends over at Lonely Planet have given the low-down on how to beat jetlag, so you can start the fun as soon as you touch ground.
Author of the new traveller bible Nigel Holmes suggests prepping for your jetlag even before you get on the plane. Controversial.
BEFORE YOU GO:
1. Try to shift your sleep pattern. Go to bed one hour earlier or later depending on which direction you are flying - but no more than one hour per night - for as many time zones as you are going to cross (or as many as you can manage).
2. If you are going on a really long flight (for instance, from Europe to Australia) take melatonin* for two to three days before the trip.
For shorter trips, don't take it before you go, see "when you arrive" for when to use it.
3. Ginger tea is thought to be a good way to counteract jetlag. Ideally you should drink it at the start of your trup, an hour before you take off, but often that's not possible. Instead, you might take a small piece of fresh ginger to chew on the plane - but beware, it's hot and spicy!
ON THE PLANE:
1. Go to sleep as soon as possible. Wear loose clothing, a mask and earplugs.
2. Don't take sleeping pills. They will interfere with your sleep pattern when you arrive at your destination.
3. Don't drink alcohol or coffee. They dehydrate you and that emphasises the effects of jetlag, because your body is stressed by being dried out. Just drink water.
*Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that occurs naturally in your brain and it controls the body's daily rhythm. You can buy it without a prescription. It is available up to 3mg but a lower dose (0.5mg) has been found to have the same effect. So less is better.
And, if after all your backpacking, trekking and "finding yourself", you realise you actually just like staying in five star hotels, then maybe you should think about a visit to the St.Regis Bangkok. The Thai hotel has just launched a "gap year package", meaning for £140 you can ditch the dreads and swan around in the spa. Go on, we know you're already fantasising over those 300-thread count sheets...
Lonely Planet’s The Book of Everything is out next month. According to the folk at LP, it's an "indispensible how-to guide of essential tips and tricks for travellers". To be fair, it does include advice on how to prevent a hangover on the road (probably a regular occurrence) to how to ride a camel. Sorted.
More info and many thanks to the Huffington Post