On safari, color matters. Fashion? The wildlife doesn’t care!

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So thinking of going on a safari? Fantastic! A safari is the ultimate adventure, with exotic creatures, beautiful landscapes, and unforeseen adventures around every corner. Not only can you create amazing memories, but you’ll also get the opportunity to experience nature in its most untouched form and learn more about this amazing planet we call home.

Africa is one of the most biodiverse continents on Earth, and a safari is on the bucket list of many intrepid travelers for a good reason. From sprawling

Let comfort be the driver of the clothing you select for safari.

savannahs to lush oasis waterholes and thick jungle, this ancient land has many unique endangered species of animal and plant sure to thrill any nature lover during their visit.

While an African safari can be a life-changing journey, you might be wondering about the most crucial question of all – what do I pack?! If this is you, don’t worry – I’ve come up with some pointers to help you load your bags

Pack neutral colored clothing for a safari to help you blend in with the surrounding landscape.

with all the right gear, and know exactly what to leave behind when you venture out for the day.

No time to waste – let’s dive in!

First things first – pack light! While it might be tempting to put everything and the kitchen sink in your bag, in reality, you don’t need much to have a good time. The number one rule of safari is ‘comfort over style,’ so make sure that you’ve got good quality,

neutrally-colored clothing, and footwear. Many safaris use fly between reserves with smaller planes that have strict luggage allowances, with bags made of pliable material weighing no more than 33 pounds (15kg) allowed to avoid overloading. If you’re feeling tempted to overpack, many lodges have a laundry service – no need to bring two pairs of shorts for every day of your trip! When you think back, you’ll remember the incredible experiences you had on your tour – not the clothes you wore.

You might have noticed that I said neutrally-colored clothing – trust me, it’s for a good reason! While it might be tempting to wear brighter fabrics or dark pieces, the hue of your clothing can have more implications than just shielding you from the sun. Black and blue attire and accessories are known for drawing tsetse flies, whose bite carries African sleeping sickness, and white or brightly-colored clothing stands out to animals, making getting up close difficult during your game drive. The red dust of the African savannah also embeds itself into clothing fibers, which can ruin white clothing in the blink of an eye – I learned that from personal experience!

The dust from the red soil of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park can turn tint the fibers of white clothing changing its color forever.

Don’t let yourself be sucked into the idea that for the ‘proper’ experience, you need all manner of special equipment and clothing. While the weather and sun in Africa can be hot, you’ll find that some of your standard sun-smart clothing will do just fine when it comes to your safari. Having said that, it can be a good idea to add a few fun ‘safari-style’ items to your packing list – but no need to overdo it! For example, a stylish wide-brimmed hat or light linen shorts can make a great addition to photos, as well as being protective from the African environment.

Depending on the location and time of year, early morning game drives can be brisk. Dress in layers to allow you to shed clothing as the temperatures rise.

While it’s easy to think that Africa is constantly hot and dry, the truth is that the seasons and locations are incredibly variable and require different items of clothing and protection. Two of the most important things to consider when packing for safari are the time of year and the location you’re headed to. All African nations are different, and the things you’ll need for a Kenyan safari in June will be different from those you’ll want in South Africa during November.

Consider whether you’ll be arriving during the sizzling summer months or taking your safari during the cooler off-peak season when morning and evening temperatures are quite low. Questions like, “Will I need a hat and scarf?” and “Should I think about a rain jacket?” are among those that you’ll need to ask yourself when preparing for your safari. If this sounds like hard work, don’t worry – it’s just like preparing for any other trip! Check average temperatures for your location at a weather site like WeatherBase, and pack your bags accordingly. After all, you wouldn’t forget a winter coat when going to France in December now, would you?

One of the best things about an African safari is seeing unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. So whether you’re a keen zebra fan, or want to get up close and personal with lions in their natural habitat, it’s essential to be able to see the main features of your tour. Consider packing a  good pair of binoculars with a ‘zoom and enhance’ feature to view the animals from a distance, or to make close encounters even more breathtaking.

If there’s one absolute must for a safari, it’s good binoculars!

Africa might be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but the environment can be hostile. Hot and intense sun, bright sunlight, and dry desert winds are just some of the things that can turn a safari from an unforgettable to an unpleasant experience in no time. So make sure to pack personal protective items like sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and quality sunglasses to shield yourself against the harsh conditions, and keep a water bottle with you at all times to avoid dehydration.

Not a photography nut?  No problem.  The cameras on most phones will take great pictures.

Lastly, you’re going to want to document your trip. Anyone who has ever been on a safari knows that photos and videos are one of the best ways to keep your memories fresh and alive for years to come – and show your friends and family back home, of course! So if you’re a photographer, items like a camera with wide and telephoto lenses, or a GoPro, are a must.  For those who only have a camera phone, don’t worry! Any pictures you take with these will amaze those back home as well, and you can cherish them every time you swipe your phone for years to come.

While packing for a safari may seem intimidating, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, it’s just like packing for a trip to Europe or to the beach! There are things that you’ll need, and some that you definitely won’t – suits and cocktail dresses need not apply! Use common sense, don’t overthink it, and stick to the basics – if you forget something, chances are that your lodge or resort will have spares that you can purchase, borrow, rent, or they can help you obtain.  Remember, safari lodges are all about service, and want you to have a terrific experience as much as you do!

If you’re thinking about or planning your safari, or want some more information on how to pack, get in contact and let me help! I’ve got the knowledge, tools, and experience to create an unforgettable itinerary and take the pressure off your mind so you can enjoy your journey. With everything from lodge bookings to tour company packages, I can have you feeling as though you’re part of the Lion King in no time – find out how today

Pat Ogle-CollinsOn safari, color matters. Fashion? The wildlife doesn’t care!
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Enjoy travel more. Pack less!

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When packing for a trip, how often do you find that you add items even though you have sufficient clothing for your trip?  Do often find you bring home clothes you never wore?  Are your bags so full there is no room for purchases you made while traveling?  Overpacking – we all do it.  What can you do to prevent this?  Some strategy, some planning and a little bit of discipline is all you really need.

First, the strategy.  Two key strategies can make a major difference.

  • This is your vacation and vacations are meant for doing things differently than you normally do.
  • Other than traveling companions, others you meet will probably never see you again.

Keep these in the back of your mind as you read.

Next, some planning.

  • Select your wardrobe around 3 colors (nor more than 4) for a 2 week trip. Reduce for a shorter trip.  So for shirts/tops and pants/shorts/skirts/dresses all should be of these 3 colors only.
  • Pick at least some clothing that is easily handwashed.
  • If you plan on shopping while traveling, include items that you would/could give away or discard during your trip.

Put everything you plan to take on the bed or a table.

Now to packing.

  • With all your clothing on the bed or table, before placing anything in your luggage, remove half. If half seems like too much, take away one third.   Keep in mind shopping and washable items  when selecting what to remove.  Remember the strategy these people will never see you again?  If you now have only 4 pair of pants, no one will ever notice that you wore the same pair of pants 3 or 4 times.  Even if you are traveling with the same people, when rotating, most will never notice when you are pairing with different shirts/tops and accessories.
  • Now pack what is left.

As you travel:

  • Wash a small item daily, leveraging time in the shower. If traveling to another hotel, wait until arrival or place washed items in a plastic bag to hang up when you arrive.
  • Remember that vacations are for doing things differently strategy. Treat yourself.  Allocate some money for hotel laundry just in case an item gets soiled or needs freshening.  Many would not think twice about stopping for coffee,  ordering dessert or having another glass of wine.  Depending on the item $6-$12 really isn’t a lot when comparing to these other splurges.
  • If you brought items to discard while traveling, consider leaving behind in the room either in the trash or with a note so that the hotel does not think it was left in error. Staff may take if desire.  If leaving behind for staff, item(s) should be in good condition and not heavily soiled.

This may feel radical.  However, all change takes some adjustment.  You might just find that having less luggage and fewer items to deal with and keep track of will allow you to enjoy your travel more.  One last benefit – with less you might be able to avoid the baggage carousel so you can start and your trip immediately and get home faster on your return!

adminEnjoy travel more. Pack less!
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Don’t forget that needed cable….again!

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For many, packing and/or unpacking are the dreaded part of travel. Remembering everything, picking clothes and coordinating outfits, overpacking before your trip, and laundry add to the dread of returning. What if you could make packing and unpacking easier?

Traveling multiple times a year to different destinations and for different reasons, the risk and/or inconvenience of forgetting something increases, and then so this preparation becomes more of a chore. Now I reduce the risk by having some items packed all the time. Purchasing duplicates or extras of some items means that I can leave these items packed, reducing the time needed to pack and unpack.

Following are some of the items suggested to leave in your suitcase or other bags all the time.

  • Toiletries (toothbrush and paste, deodorant, brush/comb, contact lens solution/case and an extra lens, makeup, pill cases to remind me to fill) and more.
  • Umbrella
  • Phone charger
  • Laptop cord
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Electronics accessories, including battery pack, mini and regular usb cables, earphones, adapter plugs
  • Lightweight sweater
  • Swimsuit

When unpacking, put the clothing items from the trip in the laundry and immediately place clean items from your wardrobe. Check/refill toiletries and other items for wear and tear, replacing them as soon as possible, if necessary.

Depending on your frequency of travel and your budget, this strategy can save a fair amount of time and reduce the chance of forgetting a needed item. When behind schedule or on a last-minute trip, the less you have to pull together, the less stressful the departure.

Travel should be about joy, but few genuinely enjoy the job of packing. Making things easier means starting your vacation more relaxed and able to start enjoying your time away sooner.

Pat Ogle-CollinsDon’t forget that needed cable….again!
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