How To Not Pack Like An Idiot For A Winter Break In Ukraine

For someone who loves travel, I hate packing. We’re not just talking dislike, I completely and utterly despise it. It’s like the awkward small talk on a first date. It may be a necessary part of the process but everyone dreads it. Let’s be honest, in reality, you just want to skip forward to the part where you’re a bit drunk and the conversation is flowing. That’s how my dates have always worked anyway, just ask Tim.

Ahead of mine and Tim’s new year trip to Kiev, I had done nothing to prepare. I hadn’t looked at the weather, I hadn’t laid out any clothes and because it was just days after Christmas, I had also managed to spend the last six days in a semi-permanent alcohol-fuelled state. This is how we are supposed to spend the festive season right? The culmination of this overindulgence meant that even though we had to leave for our flight in five hours, I had still not packed. I was drunk.

As Tim carefully rolled up his premeditated attire for the week, I looked around at my swirling bedroom and attempted to hone in on anything that resembled clothes. As someone who always packs light (even when sober), my only challenge was to take everything I needed for a new year break in Ukraine and also to fit it all in a backpack. Easy.

What to pack for a trip to Ukraine?

What found its way into my bag…

  • Macbook
  • Charger for phone/mac
  • 9 pairs of pants (2 that mysteriously disappeared until I packed again to come home, potentially borrowed by Tim)
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 thick jumper
  • 1 pair of ripped jeans with particularly large knee holes
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 long sleeved black t-shirts/sweaters (thin)
  • 2 ultra cool woolly hats
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 bra (please don’t judge me)
  • 1 massive Stephen King book
  • Basic toiletries including eyeliner and mascara (a necessity to hide the ginger eyelashes)
  • 1 pair of rusty hiking boots that I chose to wear for all occasions (appropriate or not)
  • A face towel
  • Camera

Essentials that my stupid brain bypassed (you’ll want to pack these)

  • A coat – Seriously, what the heck?! It was -5 pretty much all the time in Kiev and a piece of my soul froze every, single, day.
  • The camera cable – So it turns out all cameras have different charging cables, who knew! Believe me when I say it is pretty much impossible to buy only a charging cable for a camera. Apparently, there are so many different types that they are not sold separately in airports. Try finding the correct cable in Kiev! Not an easy task my friends.
  • Razor – by the end of the week I was giving Hairy McClary a run for his money.
  • Not even a clean pair of socks for every day. Not sure how this happened since Christmas had just passed, I was at my sock owning peak! And yet, I strangely thought I needed 9 pairs of pants…
  • Cotton buds – how is one meant to apply eye make up without these? As a result, I spent several days walking around like the illegitimate child of Alice Cooper and Jo Brand.
  • Gloves – It never crossed my mind my hands might get cold…IN JANUARY. It’s not like it was snowing or anything…oh wait.
  • The Ukraine guidebook that Tim had gifted me especially for this trip – that would definitely be more useful on my shelf at home.

In case you have also forgotten your guidebook, check out this guide on where to eat in Kiev.

Verdict: Idiot

Obviously, it would be accurate to say that I didn’t do a great job here. This was made most apparent when after realising I had nothing appropriate to wear, I decided to wear pretty much everything I had brought, every single day. As Tim and I merrily lurched our way through a festive market, the stares began. As we sat outside to enjoy a locally brewed ‘mulled wine’ (it was definitely anti-freeze) the local stall-holder asked if I was cold. ‘Not really! I live in England so we’re pretty used to rubbish weather! I might have underprepared a little but I’m pretty toasty now!’ Before I just looked like a lunatic but now I sounded like one too. Imagine the Michelin man on the run after just escaping some sort of contained facility. Of course I was bloody cold. 

How not to pack like an idiot for a winter week away in Ukraine

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