Electric Essentials – Five Revolutionary Camping Necessities To Pack In Your Picnic Basket

Twas the week before Picnic, and all through the shops, not a camper was thinking, ‘I’ll bring my flip-flops’…”

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With only a week to go to Electric Picnic 2015, here are five revolutionary camping necessities to pack in your picnic basket:

  1. The Baby Wipe.
    An invaluable source of cleanliness and refreshment at any time of the day, Johnson’s would do well to produce a festival-special pack where the pudgy, cute baby pictures on the packaging are replaced with muddy, drunken and denim-clad festival hunzos; flower crowns askew as they search desperately for something to get the muck off their brand spanking new Penney’s boots that haven’t stopped leaking since they fell in that puddle 2 days ago.
    Johnsons wipes
  1. The Extra Layer.
    Layers are key – like a cake. – Do not kid yourselves. It may be a festival. There may be flowers and twinkly-lights and colourful hubs of facepainting, dancing, and streamers twirling and music and general happiness everywhere you cast your gaze (oh-my-God-I’m-so-excited) – but this is still Ireland. It is cold here. There is still every chance that the closest we’ll get to this so-called impending ‘Indian Summer’ is a good ‘ol chicken curry from one of the festival stalls. Here’s hoping Met Éireann pull through, but I’m still packing that extra hoodie just in case.
  1. The Banana.
    Cheap, cheerful, and full of genuine unprocessed, uninstagrammed and natural goodness, there is genuinely no better food to re-energize after an uncomfortable nights’ sleep (or lack thereof) on the ground. In a field. In the rain. In Ireland. Oh God why do we continue to do this to ourselves?!? One precaution to take when packing the sunshine fruit-of-the-Gods is fairly obvious – they go on top. Nothing worse than wasted energy being squashed all over the eight or nine other outfits you’re not going to wear.
    banana
  1. The Power Block For Your Power Block.
    Despite electricity being part of the name of this particular festival, don’t get your hopes up when it comes to keeping your smart phones on a satisfactory percentage of charge – and that goes without saying about any festival. While last year there were charging facilities and lockers with cables available at EP, it came at a fairly steep price. If you were prepared to sacrifice a good chunk of hard-earned cash for a few hours’ battery life on a phone you’ll be continually checking is still in your pocket and hasn’t been nicked (see #5), then at least the poor workers in the stalls having to go without sleep so you can check your emails at 2am are getting well-paid. While phones are handy to locate lost or drunken friends who’ve gone astray in search of the rave in the forest, chances of their phone being on them and still functioning are equally as slim as yours. It’s a lot easier to just get a backup festival phone and leave the iPhones at home. My trusty black €20 Samsung flip-phone still has it’s charge from last year. I’ll meet you at the inflatable wobbly-men.
  1. Basically, Anything You Don’t Mind Getting Nicked.
    When it comes to personal belongings and valuables at festivals, it literally could not be any more of a case of ‘enter at owners own risk’, and I don’t blame security getting cranky when people come wailing about a stolen FCUK bag. If you bring your designer gear or Macbook Pro to a festival, heroicly guarded and protected by the thin lining and single zip of your Aldi-bought tents (which by the way are surprisingly sturdy when assembled correctly) – you don’t deserve any pity. The unfortunate craze of ‘festival fashion’ creating unecessary pressure to render oneself presentable after spending the night in a field is honestly just damn unfair, and no amount of designer rainjackets or wellies are going to fix frizzy or scraggly wet hair, or dry-up any of the puddles. Embrace the festival-face and Penneys’ shorts, and work the bedhead look.
    Festival. Ireland. Rain. Remember!? Gadgets are no use in this kind of environment; the less you pack, the less chance you have of losing, breaking, or having to worry about it. Simples.

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Travel Checklist – One Week to Go

I’ve always been early off the bat to prepare for trips away- when I was younger I’d often pack my bags two or three weeks in advance of my family leaving for a 2-week holiday, out of pure eagerness and impatience for it. I’ve managed by now to learn to stifle some of the excitement that comes with anticipating a trip abroad, yet still find myself indulging in the odd splurge into my savings to buy something that I’ll ‘definitely use’ whilst travelling – even if I end up completely forgetting to pack it and only realising when I get home that it’s been sitting on my desk the entire time I’ve been away (Captain Hindsight is a killer).

With a week to go until a short break in Europe, I thought I’d start some of this travel-blogging craic early and share my checklist for the next week with regards to packing, saving, and preparing myself both mentally and physically for a trip away. In order to do this successfully I’ve broken the list down into various important aspects of travel that I feel should be taken into account when trying to plan and pack for a spell abroad.

Time Managment:

Given that I’m working everyday until Friday, today (Sunday) might be the only chance I’m going to get to head into town and pick up any necessities before flying on Saturday morning. If I hadn’t considered this and taken my potential free time into account I would most likely be left rushing about on Friday evening trying to source everything in time before shops close – taking the risk of forgetting something vital. I know I will have access to a computer and printer during the week, and so will have the opportunity to print off tickets, boarding passes, and other necessary travel documents well ahead of schedule.

Holiday Type:

I’m attending a music festival in Budapest for a week, and so packing light yet intuitively is going to be key. In order to save money I’ve already sourced a backpack that I can borrow for the week, and although I own a small and portable tent, the research I’ve done on the festival has told me that there are ‘camping packs’ available for 20-30 euro on the festival grounds. These contain a tent and other necessary items that would be awkward and cumbersome for campers to travel with, many festival attendees (like ourselves) opting to fly into the city and spending a night or two in hostels before roughing it in the campsite.

Health and Diet:

This is a big one for me, as I’ve always felt that the way I’ve been treating my body and mind in the lead up to an important event, date, or period of time always has a direct correlation to the successes or failures of it. In other words – if I’ve been eating and drinking like crap a few days before I have to undertake something as substantial as an entire day spent travelling, I’m not going to feel my best and will be more likely to make silly mistakes and forget to do things that would hinder the smooth flow of the journey, and ultimately impact the enjoyment of travel negatively. It might seem like a no-brainer, but if we consciously eat well and maintain a balanced mindset in the lead-up to as unpredictable a life event as travel can be, we will at the very least possess the ability to know ourselves and trust our own intuition to maintain calm in the midst of chaos should a crisis occur.
Not to mention the importance of being correctly fueled and energised to navigate busy airports, train stations, and strange cities without burning out and ending up sitting alone, lost and emotional in a bar in Rome (I wish I wasn’t speaking from experience).

Budgeting:

Yet another aspect of travel where I have previously failed miserably, budgeting for even the shortest trip away is so key when your available funds fluctuate regularly between a healthy and comforting 3-4 digit number, to a minus figure that should only be used to describe the depths of Winter in Antarctica. At the beginning of this month I wrote down exactly what funds were available to me at the time, how much I was guaranteed to earn by the time the trip came around, and also took into account the minimum amount of money I could allow myself to get by on day-to day until my departure. If I felt I ever exceeded this amount, or if something came up that I hadn’t expected to need money for, I kept a mental tally of this until I got the opportunity to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. This is the first time I actually feel like I’ve been on top of my spending habits and in control enough to maintain such a balance – the only thing I regret slightly is depending that my latest paycheck will come through before Friday, but it’s never been late before!

Research:

As well as researching the available facilities at the festival itself, we’ve also arranged to fly into a neighbouring city instead of directly to the nearest airport, as we found we saved money that way. It’s worth looking these things up in advance and researching the options for reaching your destination, as quite often (especially in Europe) it can prove cheaper to fly into somewhere else and get a train to where you want to go – an added bonus to this is that you get to see a whole other country on your travels!

I’ll probably think of more things that I should have written here in a while, but for now I’ll leave it at that and head off to find some insect repellent…

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