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The Emerald Isle holds a sort of mystical lure amidst the backdrop of its luscious green landscape. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, this small European island packs a big punch. “I’m going to Ireland,” means something different to each traveler. Perhaps it’s your first international trip on a brand new passport. Maybe you’re headed north to see the land from which your ancestors came and learn more about that Irish heritage of yours. Or, you might  be camping or hiking your way across this great country to commune with the land and learn more about yourself.

Ireland is an amazing place to adventure with friends, explore a bit, eat a bit, drink in pubs, chat with locals, and wander through the footsteps of history. Regardless of the reasons you’re headed to Ireland, your voyage begins before you set foot across the border. Dream up your kind of journey, research adventures for your trip, and figure out what to pack.

Ireland Bucket List: What to See

They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. Ireland is a beautiful blend of urban adventures, small town charm, and countryside that begs to be wandered.

Urban Adventures

You’re likely to start in Dublin if you fly in. Don’t spend your whole week in just Dublin and think you’ve seen Ireland. Conversely, don’t make the mistake of skipping most of the city you arrive and depart from. Spend some time in Dublin and explore:

Small Town Delights

Ireland is full of small towns and hamlets, each with its own flair. If you want to get to know a town, visit the pub on a Saturday afternoon or after work on a week day and get to know the locals. No doubt you’ll explore many, but don’t miss Cork, famous for the Blarney Stone, but full of other interest too. The English Market is wonderful.

Outdoor Adventures

Traveling through Ireland is like adventuring through a postcard. The scenery is spectacular at every turn. History blends with culture and preserved wildlife in national parks and secluded islands. Be sure to take the time to explore some of the best of the Irish countryside. Rent a car. Take a bus trip. Or maybe just a long walk.

What to Pack for Ireland: The Necessities

No matter where you’re traveling (Ireland definitely included), there are a few things that should always be packed. If you’re smart, you will keep these in the bag that never leaves your side, because these are the items that are most important and often hardest to replace.

  • Wallet: With ID, passport & an extra copy of front page of your passport
  • Travel documents: Including travel insurance and visa documents if you need them
  • Medications: Daily, necessary, and allergy – carry extras & copies of prescriptions
  • Necessary tech: Chargers & converters – double check compatibility

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This week we are pleased to present a guest post by Joe Baur, a travel author and podcaster who’s constantly looking to get off the tourist trek in search of new stories. He enjoys few things more than a hoppy beer and chorizo in good company. Give him these things and he will be your friend for life. Visit his website to get to know Joe better.

I’m on day four or five of my hike along the historic Nakasendo Way with Walk Japan when we take a bit of a detour off the main trail and get dropped off by shuttle at Karasawa Falls. The thundering waterfall is as picturesque as any I’d seen before, surrounded in a valley of dense forest.

The fall season came late to Japan — concerning to climate scientists, but selfishly idyllic for those of us in hiking boots. The array of browns, oranges, and reds sneaking through the dense fog were as stunning as I had come to expect from the Japanese countryside. I could sense my lungs thanking me for the literal breath of cool, fresh air.

Had I been two weeks later, I might have been bent over to warm my hands against my body and missing the sights. Two months earlier and I’d have been sprawled out on the ground, sweating through my clothes in exhaustion.

Of course this is just one side of Japan. There’s the chaotic side borne out of Tokyo’s technocratic utopia where millions of people trek through the city like lemmings, eyes glued firmly to their mobile devices, when their attention isn’t grabbed by the absurd number of flashing lights shooting out of establishments ranging from hotels and restaurants to pachinko parlors and robot cabaret shows. It all depends on what part of town you’re in.

What you pack for Japan depends entirely on which Japan you’re going to see. Then, you need to consider the season you’re traveling in since the land of the rising sun, indeed, sees winter, spring, summer, and fall. Here are the essentials broken down by urban and rural Japan packing list.

Comfortable Shoes

Japan is a pedestrian country, first and foremost. People here walk. They walk to the store, walk to the train, walk to their bikes, and they walk for sport. Japan’s infrastructure is arguably the best equipped in the world for pedestrians, so that means you need to prepare your feet with some comfortable walking shoes. Whether it’s on a hiking trail or over urban sidewalks, your feet are going to be racking up the kilometers unlike any other destination on the planet.

A pair of Chacos’ Outcross 2 hiking shoes were a perfect match for Japan. They’re easy to jam into your luggage and are much more forgiving to bag space than heavy-duty hiking boots, which are more than likely unnecessary unless you’re Bear Grylls-ing it. Click to continue…

Have you noticed that your travel preferences have changed? Perhaps at one time in life you were the ‘fling it all together five minutes before you get on the road’ kind of gal; yet today, you write a list, lay everything out and are all packed within days of your adventure. At one time you didn’t care what made it into that carry on bag as long as you had your contacts and inhaler; yet today, there are certain things that make life more efficient, keep you sane, and that you can’t imagine being without. Has your personal item packing list changed over time or are you packing the same way you always have?

Throughout the journey of travel, sometimes needs change. Some of us go from single traveler to couple traveler, to traveling with little people in our lives, or in completely the opposite direction. Some of us go from ‘needing nothing’ to ‘wanting to bring our entire closet with us on the road,’ or vise versa. And still others have our needs changed for us, without our choice or notice, through medical issues, food allergies or new rules aboard airlines.

I fall into that cautious traveler category. For years, on any tour, I’ve been the one who has ‘the stuff.’ Simple things like gum, mints, bandaids, and Benadryl are always on my list. For years, I carried heaps of asthma medication and every antibiotic I could think of for that just in case moment. Depending on destination and duration, my personal item packing list either grows or shrinks. When headed into the Australian Outback or on safari through Africa, there are more items than when headed to the surrounding city life of Sydney, Capetown, or New York.

Today, when I look at ‘how to pack a personal item,’ I pack more essentials than the ‘what ifs’ (although some of them still make an appearance) and know that I might have to spend a bit of cash if there’s a need, but until then – I’d rather my bag, mind, and life be a bit lighter. For each reason and season, personal item packing list contents may ebb and flow, but regardless of what’s inside, it always makes it onboard for the next adventure. What’s in your personal item packing list?

Necessities for Any Adventure

Whether your adventure is by bus, truck, train, foot, camel, or plane – there are some items you won’t leave home without. Perhaps you’re the traveler who only needs something with his name on it and a spot to keep some cash, or maybe you’re the type that needs that plus a bit more  – regardless, your ‘must haves’ all fit in a tiny space popped inside that personal item that rarely leaves your side.

These things are always in my personal item:

  • Wallet & ID
  • Passport
  • Travel & visa documents
  • Change of clothes (especially if you’re checking luggage)
  • Medications (daily, necessary, allergy)
  • Headphones
  • Gum or mints
  • Sunglasses, prescription glasses, or contacts
  • Chapstick
  • Hair ties & headband
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Baby wipes
  • Fuzzy socks & flip flops
  • Scarf, pashmina, or travel blanket
  • Make up
  • Mini flash light
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Tissues
  • Lacrosse or tennis ball (perfect to eliminate back pain in flight)

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