It would have been really nice if I stumbled upon this blog post before I left for Bali, because this list happens to be formulated from ‘tough lessons learned’ rather than followed precautions. So here’s my top 10 of things to buy (or do) before your dreamy trip to one of my favorite travel destinations in the entire world.
Before you go to Bali:
1.Start taking a vitamin B complex right this very moment. Take one capsule in the AM and one at night and bring enough on your trip to last you two a day. Why? Do you want zika and malaria? The mosquitos here are no fucking joke. I got lit up my first two nights to the point that I was searching for return flights home. I burst into the pharmacy demanding they give me everything to combat these blood sucking devils who are too small to even see biting you but leave killer welts, and they calmly asked, are you not taking vitamin b? Say what? So I started taking it and low and behold I barely got bit again over the next month of Bali bliss. I also suggest bringing your own heavy duty deet, the spray they have just doesn’t do the trick. And believe me, the organic kind unfortunately just does not work. Also buy these. All of these. And wear them on all your limbs. The mosquitos SUCK. (ba dum cha)
2. If you’re going to spend more than 30 days on the island, you need to apply for the visa at the airport when you arrive. If you decide to just skip your return flight without applying for the inexpensive visa extension you’re not going to be happy with the exorbitant fee they charge you for each day over 30 you stay when you finally do leave.
3. Leave so much room in your suitcase. The shopping is amazing. Not necessarily inexpensive, but adorable trendy boutiques with lustworthy fashion in every corner. Seminyak is the premier shopping destination and where I suggest you stock up on frocks, swimmers & jewels.
4. Do some yoga. You’re going to want to take a class on the island… and everyone is really good. Like, they’re all teachers. Not to say you have to master one armed handstand before your trip, but know your way through the basic asanas so you can follow along on your classes and get the most out of the experience. A yoga strength base will also enable you to take the more challenging fun classes – like acroyoga! I’d also invest in a non-toxic yoga mat cleaner to bring with you and spray liberally. My favorite brand is Cuccio Somatology because they make these adorable little travel packs. Use promocode TRAVELINGFIG10 for 10% off on their site.
5.Stop planning. Really, other than hotels, there’s no need to plan ahead. Everything is so relaxed and easy going here, you’ll just walk onto the street and find some adorable Balinese man who can take you anywhere you want to go anytime you want to go there.
6. Expect to get sick and bring the necessary medicine. Nearly everyone eventually gets a round of Bali belly – and it’s not pretty. I purchased activated charcoal when I arrived and that really helped me, but would have been nice to have some stronger drugs in the ol suitcase for this pretty debilitating vacation hindrance. But in a foreign place where you have no idea of procuring unharmful subtances, it’s always better to carry your medication from your hometown, lest that you end up in an inpatient drug rehab fort lauderdale.
7. Get an international cell phone plan. I didn’t. And then I was on a scooter driving through the jungle alone, lost. Or walking to go meet friends and unable to locate the restaurant. Think about the safety concerns! Living off the grid, wifi to wifi, was liberating at times.. and frustrating at others. Save yourself the annoyance and just get the international data plan.
8. Call your bank before you go to alert them of your travel dates so your debit card doesn’t get denied upon first atm transaction, like mine did. In my defense, I did tell my credit card company, but apparently, I needed to also call my debit card separately.
9. Get the most protective huge ugly bulky phone case possible. It is extremely expensive and time-consuming to get your phone fixed if anything happens to it in Bali. One girlfriend couldn’t even get hers repaired because they didn’t have the part. Another paid $300+ usd for a crack in her screen. The air is also incredibly humid and torrential rain can come out of nowhere, carrying around a waterproof cell bag is a pretty superb idea.
10. Speaking of rain… great idea to pack a rain jacket. The only ones I saw for purchase on the island are the incredibly fashionable ponchos. Rain comes fast & heavy, umbrellas do little to shield you from the wrath!
11. Don’t go to Bali with a tourist mindset. Sure it’s amazing to stay at Zen hideaway and take the swing photo for all of your instagram followers to drool over… but Bali is so much more than tourism. Actually, it’s one of the only places I’ve ever traveled that doesn’t have a huge disparity between the tourist and the local culture. It’s important that we keep this by experiencing the island, not just stomping all over it for a visit. Stay in a homestay a few nights, eat a local warung, take a cooking class in a village, make some local friends, go to the beach or temple parties with locals and bring your own Bintang instead of paying the tourist premium at the expat run bars, hotels and restaurants. Get a massage from a local, hop a ride on the back of a scooter, pick up your trash, shop local, see a chakra healer, give freely and come with an open heart and mind. If you do this, you too might end up an expat. Be open to the magic.
Need help planning your itinerary? Check out my perrrrrrfectly curated list of activities, place to eat, and where to stay on the island of Bliss: Here <3