Traveling is a love of many including myself and one of the places high on my to-visit list was Bali! While I have absolutely no regrets about going to Bali there are some about my lack of packing skills. But, life is all about learning from your mistakes right? Well, luckily you can learn from mine. The following are things that I wished I would have packed but didn’t (and a few that I was happy I brought along).
Feminine Hygiene Products
Not that you don’t know this is a necessity, but I bring this up because you may be as unaware as I was about how difficult it can be to find items in other countries.
According to my app, Aunt Flo wasn’t due for arrival prior to my last couple of days in Bali. Since she is always a little tardy for the party I concluded I’d be well on my way back home having enjoyed Bali cramp-free before she arrived. But nah, she had other plans and hence on my first night, while unpacking, she made a significantly early appearance.
I don’t use tampons regularly and didn’t think I’d need any and that was my first big mistake. The second was thinking I would easily find some in Indonesia. I asked two women at the front desk where to purchase tampons and they laughed and laughed like I told the funniest joke ever. The women were extremely shy about the subject and tried to avoid it at all cost eventually telling me they didn’t know. That should have tipped me off right, but I forged on.
Who knew that locating tampons would prove to be quite a difficult feat. You can find Kopi Luwak chocolate everywhere but tampons are pretty much nonexistent. I did not want to cancel ALL of my water activities including sliding down a waterfall which I was looking most forward to because OMG when else was I going to be able to slide down a waterfall?!
My hunt ended the day before I left Bali at a small convivence store. The store sold super tiny and I mean microscopically compact tampons (see pics below). The plus was that they were organic, always a silver lining right? Needless to say, there was no waterfall sliding this trip (insert sad-faced emoji here) thanks Aunt Flo.
Depending on where you’re going, don’t think you will easily find an ultrathin pad either. Be prepared to walk around like you have a padded diaper on if you fail to pack your own.
Turns out tampons are pretty expensive in Indonesia because they’re imported and most women actually do not use them for that reason also the stigma attached. So, my advice to you is if there’s any chance Aunt flow will make an appearance on your trip research common types of feminine products used in that area or just pack extra of everything!
Plugs, chargers, and batteries
I know, I know this is pretty obvious right? But it wasn’t to me at least as far as camera batteries go. Before my trip, I purchased a new camera and assumed the battery life would be sufficient but it turns out I was oh so wrong.
Each day as my camera battery died, I cried a little inside. When vacationing there are so many great photo ops and memories to capture that you’ll be kicking yourself if you fail to bring an extra battery and keep it fully charged.
What I did right was to ensure that I had an extra portable phone charger with cords so while one was charging the other was set for use each day.
Yes, you read that right a sleeping net.
Sound excessive? Well, let me tell you a little story. One night while snuggly sleeping in my bed, something crawled in with me bit me. I checked for bedbugs and any other evidence of bugs but nothing. The area swelled like a small mosquito bite and eventually, I brushed it off but I still get an itchy spot there every couple of months and it’s been almost two years! (yes, I’ve seen a doctor, no one knows why). So, this is by far one of the most upsetting things that I feel like could have been easily prevented by using a sleeping net.
With all of the diseases that can be transmitted via insect bites like malaria and Lyme disease, it’s a precaution that I will absolutely take if traveling out of the country again.
The nets are fairly cheap, lightweight and most can fit easily into a large suitcase. What I did find after purchasing one for a camping trip is that they can be a little difficult to refold after use. I had to search for videos online to repack the one I purchased from Amazon.
Travelers Diarrhea Prevention
While I was pretty prepared for TD, unfortunately, some of the people I met during the trip weren’t. Stomach bugs are real and if you’ve ever experienced getting sick while on vacation then you know the devastation of having your trip ruined by being taken out by something too small to see.
For me, prevention was the best choice and this was something that I had researched in-depth before traveling overseas. I was only going to be there for a short amount of time and didn’t want to spend most of it in bed. If you want to know what I took with me to prevent Bali belly, read my article on preventing traveler’s diarrhea here.
Filtered water bottle
This goes in line with preventing an upset stomach because you won’t want to drink the water in most places. Guaranteed if you’re going to be out enjoying the sun, chilling on the beach or hiking mountains you will need extra water. If you plan on doing a lot of activities then you’ll want to have a filtered water bottle on hand in case there is no bottled water on site.
Most places do provide bottled water but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to seek out a water bottle with a granular activated carbon filter and one that states it removes bacteria, microplastics, and parasites. There aren’t many that rid of viruses unfortunately.
I went with the Life Straw water filter bottle because it was lightweight and easy to pack.
Water Sports Gear
Specifically snorkeling gear and water shoes, but especially snorkel gear. If you plan on doing any water sports where these items are needed I would advise taking your own equipment.
Yes, I own a snorkel and yes my friends always laugh at me when I pull it out. But as a semi-germ freak I was totally disgusted the first time I went snorkeling and learned that I had to use a snorkel behind someone else. I guess it’s something I hadn’t given much thought to prior but once I saw the bite marks from other users lining the mouthpiece it was pretty much a no brainer.
Thoughts of salivary communicable diseases danced through my head as I hesitantly took my snorkel. Don’t get me wrong, the gear is cleaned between uses but I’d just rather not take my chances.
If you are anything like me then you’d want to purchase a snorkel before your next beach vacation, most places sell them in hotel stores and gift shops especially if you’re visiting an island but I wouldn’t chance being without.
I plan on ordering a small smart backpack for an upcoming trip for so many reasons. The main reason is that they are all-around awesome and you can pack so much into them. Plus, there’s usually a slot to place them on your suitcase handle for easy toting.
The majority of the bags feature a padded pocket for your laptop, a USB port for easy phone charging and are water-resistant. If you are seeking one out as well make sure it is also anti-theft.
Do not drink the water signs
Last but not least, I wish I had taken signage. That’s right, I wish I had posted signs all around my bathroom (at least two) because while most hotels will remind you not to drink the water, you will drink the water!
I can recall that dreaded moment when I forgot about the bacteria-filled water and opened my mouth in the shower. I could have sworn I felt dirty little bacteria streaming merrily down my throat to ruin the party in my stomach. While I luckily didn’t get ill, if it’s something that I continually did there was a greater possibility.
So, make a couple of signs to hang around the bathroom and shower or you can download the ones I made here.
Here’s to happy and safe traveling. Is there anything you would add to the list?
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