Even More Travel Packing Tips
Welcome to the third and last part in the 3-part series on What To Pack As A Man.
The featured image of this post indicates that this part will be a little more adventurous. In the first post we started off with three essiantials that in any case should be part of a man’s travel packing list. Then we moved on to 3 more items that were a tiny bit less-essential. As you know all about the essentials by now we are free to go over to more specific items.
Here are the last three travel items that should be part of any man’s gear when he is traveling.
7 | Contact Lenses
Talk about a more specific packing tip for men: if your sight is flawless then this packing tip won’t do much for you. However, if you do wear lenses then traveling with a healthy supply of them will be essential for you.
Why contact lenses?
As of today you can walk into any drugstore in Western Europe and you will find monthly contact lenses covering the whole dioptre sphere from -6,00 to +6,00. These lenses come in good quality and at reasonable prices that, however, may highly vary depending on the country you are in. While one monthly lense in Germany at the big drugstore chains of DM and Rossmann can be had for 4,90€ the same product will cost half in Poland. So far so good.
Things will get more complicated once you leave the Western Sphere. Especially if you travel to the smaller cities of non-Western countries willyou find that contact lenses are nowhere to be found in drugstores or the likes. Here, they are often seen as somewhat “superior goods” and thus will be sold at opticians or eyeware stores exclusively. This little inconvenience comes with a full list of downsides that can make buying contact lenses abroad a real hastle.
- You will depend on more rigid opening hours
Buying contact lenses at the optician means being there in the time frame of 10.00h to 18.00. No more 24 shopping like in the drugstores of most bigger cities.
- The language barrier will kill you
No more self-service and picking up what you need directly from the shelves. Instead, the annoyed middle-aged shop clerk (“god, another tourist!”) you’ll be dealing with will not speak a word of English. Telling her that you would like “just one pair of monthly lenses with -2,50 dioptres and a radius of 8,5” will become an adventure in itself.
- You will have to buy the 12-pack
Opticians make money by selling Gucci eyeglass frames for 200€ a piece. They do not make money from selling single pairs of contact lenses to travelers. Therefore, many opticians do not even order single lenses, but packs for a year’s supply only. If you are out of luck and not really into haggling/begging then you might just have to go for the 12-pack even if a single pair was all you needed (almost happened to me in Kiev; shop clerk rolled her eyes when I answered: “how many would you like?” with: “one“)
The only and terribly easy work-around for buying contact lenses abroad is just to take enough with you before you leave.
The Western European average for a pair of monthly lenses at drugstores is 10€. Things get a little cheaper in the Czech Republic (8€) and reach their all-time low in Poland (5€).
Consisting to 48% or more of water contact lenses and the equipment that comes with them are an absolute lightweight. The only thing that might be a burden to your
suitcase travel bag might be the saline and cleansing solutions that you need to clean and preserve your lenses. Depending on the length of your travels it makes sense to pack the smallest bottle each.
Surprisingly ordering contact lenses online will only let you save a small amount of money in comparison to buying them in the store one piece by piece. Online lenses will be only 10-15% cheaper so it doesn’t make much of a difference where you buy them. In any case, doing a simple Google search will help as Google Shopping will provide you with price quotes from different online shops on the right side of your search results page.
For this ingenious travel item I need to give credit to world famous German adventure traveler Rüdiger Nehberg who came up with this splendid piece of advice while traveling down the Blue Nile.
Why a $100 bill?
Planned as a way out in case he got captured by the combatants of a local warlord or some Park Rangers who were not in favor of three Europeans crossing the Nile in combat gear Nehberg came up with a life-saving idea.
Knowing that bribing the officials is a common thing to do in this part of the world he wondered how he could take a high amount of monetary value with him that at the same time would not be affected by the hardship of carrying his gear through jungles, rain forests and rivers (see picture). His solution? What he did was take a $100 bill and fold it all the way up until it would fit into amulet which he then wore around his neck. The unremarkable necklace that it was made it impossible for anyone to perceive what was hiding inside – unless Nehberg got into a situation where he would be in need of the amulet’s valuable content.
Even if you have no plans to cross the river Nile carrying filming gear, a revolver and a machete Nehberg’s travel tip can be of high value to you. Transfering his advice into an urban setting there is no reason why the single male traveler should not have a similar “last resort”. Imagine a scenario where your no-fee credit card gets blocked because you entered a wrong PIN code once too often. Or a scenario where you do get robbed even though you took all precautions to avoid it.
In any of these cases will it be life-saving for you to have access to money that will help you confront whatever unexpected situation may arise. You could do like Mr Nehberg and look for an amulet that could hold a folded $100 bill. Doing that you would be surprised how many unsuspecting and small amuletes can be found on flea-markets and at street vendors.
Anything in between 1€ to 5€ for the appropriate amulet/necklace. The $100 obviously is not a ‘price’ here, its your life-saver.
Not even recognizable as carry-on weight as you will wear it around your neck
You don’t have to take this advice in the sense that everything revolves about wearing an amulet around your neck. Instead of taking the advice literally try taking it figuratively – modify as needed. What I mean is this: Instead of an amulet, why not take a prepaid credit card, charge it up with $100 and deposit at the house of a friend you met through couchsurfing? Or even sew it into the ining of your jacket? There are no rules on what your last resort has to look like. Be creative!
That’s all folks!
The series of What To Pack As Man ends here. In case you have missed them have a look at the first two episodes:
If you are an avid traveler, take a quick look at our Best Travel Accessories page where look at various products for making traveling easier.
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