Reading Living: What I’m Packing

Packing for a 2-week trip is stressful. Packing for a whole year is a nightmare, especially when you are on a budget and have to keep things within the airline baggage weight limit. There’s packing, weighing and then unpacking in order of least necessary and least expensive to replace until you get a combination that is relatively satisfying.
This post details what I am taking with me for resumption in school later this month and why. Let’s go!

Travel Documents
These go without saying but I’ll say it anyway. My travel documents include my Nigerian passport containing my visa vignette and a printed copy of my flight ticket and boarding pass. As a Nigerian, you require a valid visa to enter the United Kingdom. In fact, Nigerian Immigration officers will not let you through without one. My previous post titled Visa application tips for Nigerians might be helpful in putting in your visa application. Having a valid passport and visa are the most important things for any international trip. Without it, you really aren’t going anywhere.

I prefer to have my ticket and boarding pass printed. I’m not comfortable with handing my phone to the officers at the airport. It’s just easier to hand then the sheet of paper.

(P:S Depending on the length of your visa, you are required to have a return ticket. I didn’t know this and it almost cost me dearly. I had to buy a return ticket right there on my phone and present the confirmatory email. If your travel visa is less than 6 months, you must have a return ticket before you leave.) Oh, and if you are a first traveller, please keep your passport in your hand luggage and not your Check-in luggage.

Certificates and Transcripts

Certificates and Transcripts

Certificates and Transcripts
Other things I will not be checking in are my Certificates and Transcripts which I need to present for verification at school. It’s safest to keep these vital papers in my backpack, on my person at all times because anything can happen to check-in luggage. I have lost my luggage once, with Ethiopia Airlines sending it to Ghana. I will hate a repeat incidence where all my life’s work and achievement end up in another country or lost forever.

Electronics
Laptop, Camera, Bluetooth headphones and my Power-bank will also be in my backpack. Personally, I never check in electronics worth more than N20,000 if I can help it. You just never know what will happen in that back room in the airport. Those tiny padlocks and number locks on zips are the best you can do, but I will tell you categorically that they do not protect your property from skilful, experienced thieves. Only a matter of seconds and your stuff is gone.

My denim jacket

Clothing
These make-up about 80% of my luggage really. Autumn is around the corner and the weather will start to get wet and chilly. So I’m packing a lot of warm-wear: Cardigans, denim jackets, coats and scarfs. I’m also packing some socks, and gloves to keep my extremities warm. I’m also packing my jeans, all of them. Jeans are the unofficial uniform for students. Blue, black or grey, they are comfortable, trendy and low maintenance. I will be living in them for the next one year.

Food
I’m not packing a lot of food because there are a lot of familiar foods and many grocery stores in the United Kingdom where you can find almost anything you want. There are also a number of Nigerian food stores in London. Regardless I’m packing Golden Morn, it is a necessity. I love Burger peanuts and some Zobo. I might buy Kilishi too but I’m afraid it won’t fit in the 23kg limit. Backpack perhaps?

Footwear
I always travel in my Nike running shoes with an additional pair of Ballet flats in my suitcase. I can’t express how important it is to be comfortable during international travel. You can’t drag heavy suitcases to and from the airport, train or bus station; all while on heels? Travelling with any more shoes proved challenging for me. They seem to take up too much space.

Make-up and Cosmetics
These were surprisingly heavy. I’ve got wigs, a lot of cosmetics, face washes, hair creams, and face creams. Because liquids must be checked in, I have packed some of them neatly in a make-up bag and squeezed others into tiny corners of my suitcase.

Related: Since We Will Soon be Having Coffee…

Photography Equipment
I’ve got to go with my tripod and reflector. No questions. But I won’t be travelling with my backgrounds and a lot of my props. They are quite heavy and I’m all out of space.

Money
I took this for granted and almost forgot. It’s important to travel with some dollars or pounds in cash. I recommend a strict minimum of £500 even though my school suggests £800. In my case, I’ll need £1 for the airport trolley and some more for the train ticket to the University. You may wish to carry some naira to tip the Immigration officers at the International airport. The way they beg travellers for money is more embarrassing than annoying. “Mommy, anything for us? Daddy, safe flight oh”.

Summarily, if you aren’t rich, you are not likely to travel with everything you would like. However, with a little effort and quick thinking, you will get away with enough. I’ve got 2 suitcases of 23kg each and a backpack as hand luggage, all meeting the airline’s standard requirements. I have always used my digital bathroom scale to weigh my suitcases and so far, it has been accurate. My flight is in 2 days and so this will probably be my last blog post for a while…except I get my hands on the new White House Memoir by Bob Woodward titled Fear.


Am I forgetting anything important? What would you pack if you were leaving for a while? Let me know in the comment section below!
As always, thank you for reading!

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