Andrew and I are in the midst of preparing ourselves for a week-long break to Croatia and I could not be more excited. We both need an escape so badly, especially one that delivers heat! We have been feeling incredibly restless within our jobs. Miserable actually. Getting up every morning to drive in to a job that doesn’t fulfil you and you get no enjoyment from is a draining process. Thankfully we have new jobs in the pipeline and we both start on the same day after we get back – sweet relief!
I also found my hospital admission to be pretty difficult and a bit of an isolating time, despite the fact I have been through this so many times. I was able to finish off IV antibiotics at home which was great because I was out of a ward that was full of elderly people making all kinds of noises from dusk until dawn, but it also meant that I was on my own throughout the day until Andrew got home. It was a stressful time for us both; me frustrated with myself for feeling tired and useless and Andrew worried about me. I’m feeling back to myself again and I look back on those 2 weeks as if there was a little black cloud over our house. It’s well gone now and Croatian blue skies are right ahead of us!
We fly in to Split and plan to spend a couple of nights there before heading to the island of Hvar where we will base ourselves for day trips and island adventures. It will be a holiday filled with sunshine, the sea and not much else! Before we go though I always like to make sure to make a few lists to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything because I am notorious for being a scatter-brain (on our last overseas trip in January I left my wallet on the plane…with all my money in it…d’oh!).
If you’re heading away soon and you’re a fellow forgetter then you might want to have a lend of my list here and check a few things before you go…
OK so you obviously won’t be naked on your holiday (unless you are going on a very different kind of trip) so you need to plan ahead. A few days before I go, I like to plan every outfit for every day and make sure I can alternate different items across for different looks. This means you will bring less stuff which is essential if you’re only bringing carry on. You should try everything on to make sure it still fits which can be an emotional process. You will also need to make sure everything is clean too so it’s always best to leave time to get everything washed and dried!
Clothes I like you bring along to for a week in the sun are:
- 3 x day dresses (all they need is heels for the evenings)
- 1 x pair of shorts
- 3 x tops
- 1 x maxi dress (always)
- 2 x bikinis
- 1 x heels
- 1 x comfortable flats
- 1 x flip flops
- 1 x wrap (great for the beach, sun lounger and picnics)
- 1 x cardigan for the chilly nights
- 1 x hat
- 1 x handbag
- 1 x beach bag
- 1 x towel
And that is it! I do pack underwear but I’m sure I don’t have to list that although do make sure to pack a strapless bra in case you need one for your outfits!
I only like to bring the absolute bare essentials with me and things that I know I can’t buy cheaply over there. My bare essentials tend to be:
- Few make-up items (concealer, mascara, eyeshadow, bronzer, blush, lip balm)
- Cleansing wipes
- Dry Shampoo
- Nail Polish Remover (sand can really mess those little tootsies up)
- Nail Polish
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- SPF (face and body)
- Hair Oil
We’re carrying on our luggage so I’ve bought wee containers for my suncream, shampoo, conditioner and nail polish remover. It’s good to get the liquids already separated out in to a clear plastic bag and leave it at the top of your case so it’s easily accessed when going through security.
3. Do Your Research
Before I go anywhere I like to do plenty of research on the area I’m staying in; where to eat, where to drink, activities available to us. Of course there’s lots of room for spontaneity but I always like to have a back up plan in case we get lost or have no idea what to do. Before we went to Cuba I printed off restaurants, bars and excursions I had read about so we knew where to go and how to get there – our Spanish was so minimal that this saved us a lot of stress!
I like to search travel blogs because I enjoy reading a traveller’s perspective with honest accounts of where they recommend to go and places to avoid as well. I like to check out Tripadvisor too for the top rated places to eat and drink for all price ranges so, depending on how much we want to spend on a particular day, we have lots of choices.
Another great tool is a Lonely Planet guidebook. I love these guides because I feel like a proper traveller flicking through the pages during breakfast on my holiday, dog-earing areas of interest. It’s nice to collect these guides as mementos from travels and displaying them on shelves at home.
4. Get Your Money Sorted
The whole EU debacle has meant that the sterling has dropped and we’ll be losing out on some money when we convert our cash to the Croatian kuna. It’s a pain but we try to avoid losing out on more by choosing the best credit card that won’t charge us a fortune when we use it abroad. To be completely honest this area is Andrew’s forte, I don’t own a credit card because a. it terrifies me and b. it terrifies me.
Make sure you know what your bank charges are when you use a card abroad and if they’re extortionate, think of getting a travel card from the Post Office. It allows you to transfer money across easily with an app, there are no charges and you can withdraw using an ATM. The only thing is that there are only 8 currencies available so it means we can’t use it in Croatia.
Having CF can be really inconvenient sometimes, especially when I’m travelling! I’m lucky that I keep quite well so I don’t have to take a lot of medication with me but I do usually have to pre-empt and order some extras in case of emergencies. Fortunately for me nebulisers are small and easy to transport these days, the old ones would have been a nightmare to travel with!
I know most normal people don’t need to take as much on holiday as I do but it’s important to plan ahead – there is nothing worse than trying to sign out with your hands that you have diarrhoea in a foreign pharmacy crowded with people. Nothing.
A few things I pack as well as my own prescribed medication include:
- Rennie’s (or any other heartburn remedy)
- Dioralyte (especially if you’re going to a hot country!)
- Anti-histamine cream (the only thing that helped my mosquito bites)
Boring I know but so important because I’ve heard too many horror stories to wing it. Health insurance is obviously an important one for me but everyone should have it no matter how long they’re away for. At the very least and if you’re travelling through Europe, make sure and apply for the European Health Insurance Card. The free card enables you to receive medical treatment on the same basis as residents of the country you’re in including treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and pregnant women – #win. The UK leaving the EU has led to questions about the validity of these cards however the NHS is still distributing them and they will work until we are told otherwise.
7. Prepare Your House
This is also a boring one but it feels so wonderful to come home to a clean house that doesn’t reek to the heavens of stale milk and damp! A few things to remember when you’re heading away are:
- Chuck out anything that will go out of date in your fridge and cupboards
- Water all your indoor plants and herbs and place them outside where they might get some rain
- Put some fresh sheets on your bed (not necessary but feels great after a long journey home)
- Wash and put away all dishes
- General tidy up
You will say a massive thank you to yourself when you come home and can just rest your weary bones in fresh sheets!
8. Save room!
Last but not least try and make room for little souvenirs you might pick up on your travels because you will kick yourself for bringing those extra pair of heels instead of making space for those handmade gems. Oh and make sure to bring a wee notebook for a diary too – sometimes better than photos when recalling a holiday!
At the moment I am frantically trying to follow my own advice and get everything ready for tomorrow! Can’t wait to post a guide to this amazing country and give you some great tips!