Battling the heatwave: Summer Packing List
Perhaps heading to Japan in July wasn't that much of a good idea. Worse still, we arrived in Osaka during a period where the government has issued an advisory against heading out due to the intense heatwave. But what to do? We have already booked our cheap fares and weren't going to let our holiday go for naught. So we proceeded with our adventure and headed to Osaka! :)
While we headed to Osaka, a city, for our summer trip, we've also considered beach journeys for this post so these are things that you need to bring when travelling in summer!
Travelling in Summer
We very much prefer the cold weather than the awfully hot sun. But we do know of friends who prefer travelling in summer as there are longer days! Whatever your preference, here are some things you must absolutely pack when travelling in summer!
Take care of your skin! Bring ample sunblock to cover your face, hands and legs! Especially if you are intending to suntan on the beach, or even just go for multiple outdoor activities, you'll need to protect yourselves from those harmful UV rays. If you forgot to pack one, drop by any one of the convenience stores and they will definitely stock them.
I use the Innisfree Daily UV Protection Cream on my face and for my body, I particularly like the spray-on type like the Sunplay Ultrashield UV BodyMist! However, do note that you cannot bring these spray-on ones in your hand luggage up the plane! So do make sure if you are bringing any of those, put them in your check-in! This brand also has its non spray-on version so get the normal ones if you are travelling light!
We never quite understood why people love carrying their umbrellas out in the sun in Singapore until we got to Japan. On our first day, we went without and suffered quite painfully the effects of the hot sun on our bodies, which wore us out very quickly. Only when we decided to follow the locals and got umbrellas, did we notice that it provides much needed shade for our bodies in the 38 degree celsius heat!
Since you have to carry them around the entire day, get lightweight ones like these! It also comes in all sorts of patterns so it'll look kinda cute in pictures too?
3. Summer clothes
When travelling in summer, you can pretty much wear anything, from dresses to shorts for ladies. However, do note that Japan is a rather conservative country. We still see many of the locals in t-shirts or even long sleeve shirt and pants during the intense heatwave! And that many of them loved their airism as we spot many of them having multiple layers (yes, even during summer!). The working adults are also still dressed in their long sleeves formal shirts and pants.
Some may also feel the need to wear a breathable long sleeve top so that they can shield themselves from the harmful UV rays. To each his or her own!
4. Good walking shoes (and expanders!)
I know it is important to get good OOTDs, with fashion that exudes style... But I simply can't travel and expect to walk so much in just slippers or sandals, and it is important to wear a pair of good walking shoes! In Japan, you will have to WALK A LOT! And when I mean A LOT, I really mean A LOT! We covered roughly 8km per day, or maybe even more.
Since I'm blessed with a high arch, most shoes do well for me... But, I unfortunately have very wide feet and every single time I purchase new shoes, I'll have to season it at a cost of hurting my feet. And you'll definitely not want that, especially when you travel to a new destination!
Thankfully, The Shoe Tree Project sent over their Superba Hardwood Shoe Expander & Stretcher which is a lifesaver, even for the already seasoned shoes! You know how sometimes your shoes seem comfy when you wear them, but after several hours on flight your feet expands and it gets tight and uncomfortable, even causing you to walk with a limp when getting off the plane? My feet expands like that all the time! :(
The Shoe Tree Project's Shoe Expander is the only one in the market that is made with the premium Superba hardwood instead of the cheaper Pinewood that you can find almost everywhere in the market. Unlike most softwood, a hardwood like Superba is great because it does not leave any micro splinters which is highly important as you really do not wish to start your trip with a splinter stuck on your foot! Also, the hardwood wins over the unfinished wood as these often absorb moisture which can damage the interior of your shoes. That is devastating especially for those of you who like to pack extra pair of shoes during your trips, or even have expensive collector's edition shoes! Each of these Shoe Expanders also come along with 2 bunion knobs for spot stretching and you can attach them at any of the 12 holes of the shoe expander. They are all about attention to details!
Packing the shoe expander is also fuss-free as you can always place it in one of your shoes, acting as a way to keep the shape of your shoe intact. The Superba Hardwood Shoe Expander & Stretcher is unisex and comes in two sizes for various feet sizes: Small (35 to 40), Large (41 to 46).
The good people at Shoe Tree Project also kindly sent over their signature American Red Cedar Shoe Trees. I really loved how they look on the website and when it came, the slightly red-tinted cedar wood shoe tree smelt really of wood! Unlike myself, my husband have really flat feet and it is such a pain to shop for shoes. So for most of his trips, he would bring along his birkenstocks as those were the best shoes for his feet. Because it is essentially kind of a dress shoe, there is a need to store them properly when travelling. These Shoe Trees were a great help to extend the life of leather shoes bye preventing any form of creases and cracks in the leather and maintains its original shape. I also liked that it gave a nicer breath of life into the shoe, doubling up almost like a sneaker ball, infusing the shoe with a fruity cedar aroma. The cedar wood also helps to absorb moisture to prevent any form of lining rot from the shoes. As you know, after a long day of walking, the shoe is often wet from your sticky sweat (even if you wear socks). It helps to "air" the shoe after a long day. My husband was even surprised at how dry his shoe was the next day! I like it so much that I know use it to store the shoes even when it is sitting in the shoe cabinet!
Looking at how much I've written about shoes, it is no joke as to how much walking you'll need to do on trips and how important we've given thought into this! Over the years, I've seriously tried wearing flats or sandals for my trips, but end up needing to purchase a good pair of shoes have cost me quite a bit! So do invest in a good pair of shoes, and also a shoe expander, or shoe trees! If you are looking to purchase any of these, use our discount code "themunchingtraveller" to get 10% off your purchase, with no minimum spend!
Summer means more beach fun! Aside from bringing a good pair of shoes, take along your favourite slippers so that you can freely head in and out of the water. Slippers also mean easier washing up after running around the beach!
During summer, you may also want to pack in a bikini or swimsuit as there are more opportunities to get a dip in your hotel's pool, or chill by the beach... Even if you are in the city, I also find it extremely helpful to wear a bikini instead of a bra so that it dries quickly rather than stick to your skin for the entire day... Ewwww!!
7. Lightweight Cardigan or Jacket
This is mainly for your flight needs. Even though it is summer, don't forget that you will need to fly on an air-conditioned flight and sometimes even enter malls that are air-conditioned! These would come in handy! We especially liked those jackets that are foldable such that it can fit into your small day bag! :)
This is really meant for your airport fashion. Jeans keep you legs warm and it also doubles up as casual wear for a nice dinner during your travels. When travelling in Europe or even conservation Asian countries, you may also need to wear jeans even during summer as some cathedrals and places of worship do not allow you to wear shorts when entering their premises.
To ensure that you'll not be trapping too much heat, try to either get a baggy and lightweight one, or one that is extremely stretchy such that it fits almost like tights!
This is great if you are travelling to developing cities or are backpacking. Sometimes, living in a hostel would mean that you will have to share toilets and some airbnbs may not necessarily provide you with towels. Also, if you are a beach-bum, you'll definitely need beach towels to land your bums on (and not sit on the sand!)
10. Powdered Wet Wipes
Picture Credits: Guardian Singapore
These powdered wipes are extremely useful to help you feel refreshed after the hot day of walking. I use them all over from my face to my sweaty and sticky arms and legs. It is almost like a dry powdered bath that temporarily eases the sweaty feeling that you get from perspiring all over. It is now ALWAYS in my bag, even when I am not travelling and I find them to be particularly useful after perspiring after a hot day.
I usually use Biore, but have also tried other Japanese ones. For men, there's also the Gatsby one that you can try. You can find Biore powdered wipes in any Watsons, Guardian, or if you would like to try a Japanese brand, purchase them online!
11. Travel Adapter
This would be the one of the other important item to bring aside from your shoes. Always always always, check to see what type of plug your destination uses and bring along the adapter. Should you want to be lazy or if you are someone who is travelling from country to country, you'll definitely need a good multi-country travel adapter. You absolutely do not want to end up in a situation where you get a flat handphone or camera battery and yet have no way to charge it! A bummer! In some cases, you may even have to spend A LOT to hunt for a travel adapter. There was once when I went to Switzerland with the WRONG adapter and had to head to many stores before finding one that costs close to SGD 50. OMG. I had no choice but to purchase it since I was going to be there for the next 5 months. Please don't be like me...
An alternative could be to borrow one from your hotel reception. There was this other time where we again brought the wrong adapter to Jeju, South Korea and thankfully our hotel had some to spare and loaned us one at no cost! (Yes, these are the perks of staying in a hotel and that's why we haven't jumped onto the airbnb wagon! Or should we?)
Since nowadays many of our devices require a USB point, rather than bringing multiple travel adapters, you can get a Universal Travel Adapter that has two (or even more) USB ports like the one shown in the picture!
Okay, you're not exactly packing wifi, but it is definitely necessary to get WIFI for any country you head to, especially in today's technological-driven / social media age! For Singaporeans, you can get WIFI devices from Klook.com. If you are new to Klook.com, register for an account using this link and you'll get HK$25 off! When you purchase and complete an activity, I'll also get a small HK$4.40 reward.
You'll also need undergarments. I'll not really go into detail on what lacey or frilly ones you would want to bring along, but as a guide, we like to travel light and often bring 2 to 3 quick-dry undergarments so that we can wash at night and wear it out the day after!
14. Water Bottle