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Travel Advice: Lucas Handley never leaves home without this pocket-sized item.

Corporate, Leisure, Groups and Event Travel Management

Whether he’s hand feeding wild sharks over an underwater volcano, escaping whirlpools in the Malaka Straight, hunting with an indigenous tribe in Micronesia, or diving the deep sea pinnacles in the Andaman Sea; marine biologist, underwater photographer, and master free dive instructor, Lucas Handley, has a utilitarian packing style that ensures he’s never caught short.

I’d describe my packing style as …

Last minute for sure, but not because I’m unorganised though, quite the opposite I think. I know exactly what I need for the trip, what I don’t, and I take nothing else. I’ll be heading away for a couple of weeks in the jungle and I pack my kit a couple of hours before I leave.

I pack for a trip by …

Looking at the seasons. Because of the remote places I go I need to be pretty self sufficient and to live off the land. I do a lot of research into what’s happening with the environment and plan for the best months. My bag is like a survival pack. I bring some staples, like bags of rice, in case I get stuck without food.

My diving gear is essential …

The villages I spend a lot of time in live off the ocean, so catching fish to share with your host community is the perfect way to develop local friendships — and to barter for fruit and veggies! I take carbon fibre fins to save on weight, a spare mask, just in case and a speargun to catch dinner.

My luggage is …

One 190-cm long Dakine double-line snowboarding bag, which I fit all of my free diving gear, clothes and utensils into. My underwater camera gear, lights and batteries are always packed away into a hard case that I take as my carry on. I’m upgrading my camera gear soon, so hoping to get a larger Pelican hard case for all the new adventures.

Travel Design Group Travel Advice Lucas Handley

My top carry-on tip is …

If you’re travelling with underwater camera gear or lights, make sure you bring the specifications of your batteries! There are restrictions on the size and power of batteries that can be taken and you will save a lot of time and frustration at check in if you already have your battery specs.

I never board a flight without …

My laptop and an Anker powercore+ to recharge it. I use my travel time and layovers to edit photos, so to avoid twiddling my thumbs the recharge potential of a portable battery pack is always a saviour. I think some of my most creative moments have been during time spent waiting in unfamiliar airports.

My top packing hack is …

Because I only take one bag, I have everything from dive gear and wetsuits to toiletries and medical in the one big case. This means I have wet things next to electricals and dry clothes. My best advice is to expect that things might get wet and prepare for it. I have four dry-bags (light weight, waterproof, coloured bags with a fold over top) that I use to compartmentalise everything.

I’ve had a bag dropped in the water at the docks, have been caught in a cyclone in the jungle, and endured torrential rain at sea, and the dry bags have always kept those important things safe.

The staples in my wash bag …

Are fairly minimal — just the essential things I can’t do without in the tropics: Invisible Zinc water resistant 50+ stays on all day in the water (and the zinc oxide is more environmentally friendly than other sunscreens), Kiehls moisturising balm to soothe the skin after a few days soaking in the sun and salt, an emergency pack of cephalexin for tropical ulcers or ear infections and Betadine and aqua ear for post-free diving.

My biggest packing mistake was …

Forgetting to pack a deck of cards. Cards are like a universal language. They cross so many cultural divides and are perfect for passing away rainy days, or determining who is doing the washing up!

I used to pack …

Universal adaptors so that I could charge my things wherever I went, but after getting a solar recharge pack, I now don’t need to find power points and can recharge on the go.

My go-to travel app is …

A marine navigation app called Navionics. It’s relatively cheap and works off satellites to give you your GPS location against a pre-downloaded map. Because there is no network coverage when you’re remote, you have to keep your phone on airplane mode to stop it searching for networks and draining your battery. The app allows you to navigate, use marine charts and locate landmarks on your phone while it’s still on airplane mode. Priceless!

Travel Design Group Travel Advice Lucas Handley Blog

My packing resolution is to …

Be a better packer by specifically getting bags that suit what I’m taking. At the moment my carry-on hard case doesn’t fit my laptop and camera gear at the same time, so I have to carry my laptop under my arm as I board. I’ll be on the lookout for something more size-appropriate next.

My outfit when travelling is …

I’m not picky about my clothes when I fly, but I do now bring a pair of shoes rather than my regular thongs to airports so that they let me into the Qantas lounge!

I make a hotel room feel like home by …

I make a hotel room feel like home, by putting all the flyers and information cards in the draws. As soon as they are away, it feels less like a hotel room. Familiarity is also nice too … so if I’m returning through the same area, I try to stay in the same room to make it feel like a regular comfortable place.

Any spare weight allowance is filled with gifts for the villages, useful things to trade like chisels, my dive gear, a soccer ball or old clothes etc. Leaving all the clothes I brought along, gives me new space for souvenirs.

and sunscreen … lots of sunscreen! I also have a fold up solar panel charger for any electricals that now comes with me everywhere.

For your valuables, you need something reliable and durable and the hard cases are the only way to go!

As first seen in Escape.

 

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