So you’ve been accepted into some amazing field school (after you did all your research and picked a good one), you’ve sent away all your hard earned money, you’ve practiced digging in your backyard, and you’ve bought everything that they told you to bring off the dig equipment list, so now you just have to throw it in a bag and start finding treasure right? Wrong, here is the REAL list of things that are actually going to be useful, as well as the things that you don’t really need off the official list to save space and money, and a couple of things that you could consider bringing if you find yourself with plenty of suitcase space.
The Things You Need That They Left Off The Dig Equipment List
Body wash (rather than soap), because if you drop your bottle of body wash in the shower, it’s nowhere near as gross as if you drop your bar of soap. Also, between showers, where do you plan on keeping your bar of soap to dry? If your answer is within a 5m radius of the sink, your soap will quickly become communal hand soap.
A loofah for the body wash, obviously. It will get all the dirt off better than soap or body wash alone.
A hairbrush, because no matter how silky and amazing your hair is, when it has to spend all day outside in the sun, wind and dust, it will get matted and gross every day.
Two towels (rather than one), because drip drying while your only towel is away being washed is not so fun.
A sewing kit, for sewing things… Trust me, it will come in handy.
A fabric marker, to write your name on the things that you assumed nobody would accidentally take from the clean laundry.
Brand new underwear, even though you figure you’ll just wear out your ratty old underwear, it’s not so fun when you have to collect your saggy undies from the laundry pile, or hand wash them and have them hanging all over the bed for all to see.
Powdered sports drinks, to add to the hefty amount of water you will be non-stop guzzling. Hot tip – organise with other people to all bring different flavours of drink powder to share, because you will start feeling like gagging when you smell that sickly sweet strawberry lemonade pure performance electrolyte etc. for the millionth time.
Home food, even when it is all squashed and melted, you will appreciate it when you’re feeling particularly far away from home. Even better – bring a whole packet of it, and then you can share your exotic food with people who aren’t from your country.
A power board, because you’ve already thought to pack an adaptor, but now you’re limited to plugging in one thing at a time, and you want to have your computer, phone and ipod going at the same time, multiplied by however many people you’re sharing a room with who also want access to the single wall plug in the room.
A good USB speaker, because you and your buddies are going to want to watch movies on your computer at night, but it’s impossible to hear a computer when it’s on the other side of the room and you guys are all curled up on your bed.
Your external hard drive, because all your new friends will have theirs, and they have shows and movies that you want and vice versa. Hard drive party!
Duct tape, for everything. Like sticking your adaptor firmly into the wall, those things tend to be a little wobbly, or sticking your mosquito net to the bed, to avoid being helplessly tied up in it in the morning.
String, also for everything. If you are particularly handy, you could duct tape up a washing line/clothes storage area.
The Things You Don’t Need Even Though They Were On The Equipment List
If you are short on suitcase space or money, you can skip –
A full sheet set, because everyone from past seasons who brought sheets with them will have abandoned them there, so there will be plenty of sheets. Bring instead – your own pillowcase and a sleeping bag if it will be cold.
Toiletries, don’t get me wrong, you are going to need them, but even when you are digging somewhere really isolated, you will have some kind of access to a shop at some point. So you don’t have to weigh down your suitcase with enough shampoo for the whole 6 weeks, just top up when you get there.
A paint brush, even though it is on your dig list. You will barely need it, and someone else will have one.
Same goes for a compass
Waterproof notebook, because unless you leave your notebook in a puddle it doesn’t matter that much if it gets wet, also, they always seem to forget to mention that it is impossible to erase pencil from waterproof paper. Just bring a normal notebook.
If You Have Lots Of Spare Suitcase Room
You could bring –
A projector, even better for watching computer movies, and super useful for evening lectures.
Travel laundry liquid, is better for washing your things in than shampoo, if you feel weird about handing over your dirty underwear to someone you don’t know.
A metal file, to keep your trowel razor sharp
A first aid kit, can’t have too many of those around!