I had just landed in France for the very first time. I could not wait to eat copious amounts of food, binge on Bordeaux’s cheapest wines and hit up the notoriously wild beach breaks. The anticipation has been building for the last fifteen hours of travel all of the way from San Diego, through Paris and finally down to Biarritz. I had anticipated this trip for several months, spent a good amount of time packing and chose very carefully to go during a time of the year that will likely provide the most consistent waves.

My family friends managed to picked me up from the airport even though I barely made it through immigration and to the baggage claim in an unfortunately jet-lagged and foggy sleep-deprived state. I grabbed my board bag, suitcase and we jumped in the car to make the one-hour drive from the airport in Biarritz to the dreamy sand banks of Hossegor.

The first night after traveling a lengthy distance is always the most difficult. A combination of travel fatigue, overstimulation in new surroundings and jetlag can take a serious toll on any poor individual subjected to such a state. In the midst of so much excitement, I had somehow forgotten to back a number of very important things. Given that I was with a surfing family who are very well organized, I was in luck, but here is a short list of items that I had forgotten and would have been in a good deal of trouble had I not been with more adequately prepared friends.


Surf fin key (can be even more practical if it comes with a wax comb)

Chances are that if you are traveling with surfboards the fins are going to be taken off. Taking your fins off, if they are removable of course, will increase the amount of space in your travel bag and radically decrease the chances of damaging your board and other of your items. While removing your fins is a practical feature in most modern surfboards, your must remember that your going to need that small fin key (or a correctly sized allen wrench can also work!) to get yoru fins back in there. I forgot my fin key that trip and it caused a minor panic attack when I saw how good the waves out front were and I couldn’t screw in my fins.

packing board bag

Dane Reynolds utilizing the detachable fin setup while packing his travel board bag.


Surfboard Repair Kit

There are myriad ways to damage your surfboard, after all, they are extremely fragile crafts delicately comprised of foam and fiberglass. While boards can be damaged during travel, in the water or simply bumping into something while not paying attention, small dings must be addressed in order to keep the board watertight. Having a small UV resin solution such as SunCure can easily cover up small dings and keep you in the water. If all else fails, duct tape and stickers also provide temporary coverage.


SunCure ding repair: necessary to keep your craft watertight!


Warm and Waterproof Clothes

Being from California and a relatively novice traveler at the time, I was informed that the south of France would be sunny and warm at the end of the summer and well into fall. I should have taken that advice with a grain of salt. Packing a sweatshirt and even a heavy waterproof jacket is always recommended unless traveling to the tropics. If you happen to be going somewhere tropical, packing a lightweight, waterproof jacket will keep you relatively dry and much happier during the inevitable rainstorms.


John John staying warm

John John staying warm


First Aid Kit

Often times, first aid kids aren’t always “forgotten” as much as “ah, we’ll be fine”. Travelers should always take precaution while packing their bags and travel with some sort of first aid kit as injuries are inevitable and some locations don’t have readily access to proper medical care.


Chargers and Adapters

With so much dependence on technology these days, most people don’t realize that we were ever capable of doing anything before the smart phone. Having access to the internet, GPS and email are crucial while abroad and, assuming you have access to electricity, chances are that whatever country you are visiting doesn’t share the same outlets. Bring a charger of course and be mindful to find the right adapter so you can stay charged and ready to go!


The Universal Worldwide Travel Plug-in adapter. Stay powered anywhere!


An Important Sidenote

While there are many important articles to include while packing for a big trip, there are definitely a few things that cannot be overlooked for practical reasons:

  • While traveling to a foreign country: a passport, proper documentation, visas, health certificates and proper vaccinations are sometimes required depending on the region.
  • Cash and bank cards – remember that cash is king if your bank card does not work on the local ATM. Visit payday loans guaranteed approval direct lenders uk for more
  • Travel insurance information
  • Accommodation information
  • A hard copy of emergency contacts and important addresses