We have long been a fan of Miss Fottles, her humorous writing style and her ‘no holds barred’ approach to travel blogging. Now working as an Assistant Editor in the eclectic city of Amsterdam, Gemma runs her heartwarming and thoroughly interesting Travel Blog on the sidelines and is an active and respected member of the online Travel Community.

So, naturally, we were very excited when Gemma agreed to partner up with Handpicked Villas and give her take on her ‘Must Pack Products‘ for the discerning traveller. Whether you’re packing for the most luxurious of beachside retreats, or are preparing for the Caribbean adventure of a lifetime, her handy tips and hints may ensure that you make the most of your visit.


Gemma Fottles: Travel Blogger


“One of the biggest stresses of preparing to go travel is not the visas, the tickets, the money or the itinerary. No, the biggest stress of travel preparation is the packing.

Whether you’re going away for a romantic city break for the weekend, or a 6 month long around the world trip, there are a lot of different elements to consider. What’s the weather going to be like? Am I going to be going anywhere remotely sophisticated? What am I going to be doing – hiking, walking, cycling, swimming… lounging by a pool? Is the destination particularly conservative? Am I going to hate every single item in my suitcase or rucksack that is weighing me down to and from hotels, hostels, airports, train stations or ferries? What do I need?!?!?!?! And commence mental breakdown.

When I travelled around the world on a four month trip, I completely overlooked that I would have to consider pretty much any of these elements, threw a bunch of stuff I liked into an overwhelming 80 litre rucksack, and went on my happy way. Happier in the illusion that I had done some preparation for the trip by packing a jazzy rain mac. Oh, I was so prepared. And so naive.

In fairness, it was a hard trip to pack for. From the 40 degree heat in Rome, to the rain in Dublin, then on to the freezing climes of the Norwegian fjords, the humidity of Beijing, the freezing camper van nights atop Australian cliff sides, then swiftly back into the scorching heat of Zambia. It was a whirlwind of a journey, but one that I certainly wished I had taken some packing advice on. So, without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of absolute essentials to take with you in a big ol’ trip. *Note – these are only the bare basics… and I wouldn’t recommend taking too much more. The ache of the 18kg+ luggage is just not worth that extra pair of shoes or your FAVOURITE EVER bulky jumper.”


“A pair of flip flops, some walking type shoes (for me, this was Converse. I’m no hardcore trekker…) and one pair of nice-ish shoes that you could get away with going somewhere classy in. You may think you need more, and you definitely may want to take more, but you will regret it.”


Obviously you need to be clothed whilst away. Dependant on where you’re going, it’s always good to take a mix of warm and cold. You’d be surprised at how many people go to a hot country only to be shivering the cooler nights away. So, take a couple of t-shirts, a jumper, a cardigan, a rain jacket (I managed this one, at least), a pair of jeans, underwear, a pair of shorts, a skirt and a dress (gender permitting), swimming attire, one outfit that’s a little bit smarter, one more sporty type outfit if that’s you’re thing. Again, you may think you need more, and it’s always nice to have a selection, BUT… But, but, but, you’re probably going to buy stuff there anyway. Markets are cheap and cheerful and make for great souvenirs.”


“I cannot describe how much joy a microfibre travel towel has brought me when travelling. Light, compact and dries quickly. Perfect. Aside from that… Toiletries can be bought anywhere in the world, so don’t waste money and space, and potential spills on the way. No one wants a bag full of shampoo. And what else? Sunglasses, a little rucksack, a good book (or two), travel adapters and – the real secret of all travel – Germolene. Germolene is magical, and has saved me from days of pain and possible infections from various burns, bites, scratches and general wounds.

And that’s it. Always remember less is more, and don’t forget that it’s often not only your home country that sells that product you love or that style of clothing you wear.”


Gemma Fottles

To read more from Gemma’s Travels head to her fascinating BLOG, where you can find travel tales, tips and anecdotes from around the globe. You can also find her getting involved in #TTOT over on Twitter: @FottlesTravels.

To plan your next luxury visit, and to test out your favourite tips from Gemma, head to Handpicked Villas for the widest selection of luxury villa rental in the Caribbean. Our Reservations Specialists are happy to share their first-hand travel advice and would be delighted to assist you in planning your visit.

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