Most essentials are available in the cities in Sri Lanka; items are cheap and laundry services generally speedy. Take light cotton clothes – it is a good idea to have some very lightweight long sleeve cotton tops and trousers in pale colours for evenings, as they also give some protection against mosquitoes. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent. lt can be cool at night in the Central Highlands and some warm clothing is essential. Dress is usually informal, though one or two clubs and hotels expect guests to be formally dressed at evening meals. You can check with your Target Travels representative on the details. In Colombo short-sleeved shirts and ties are often worn for business. For travelling, loose clothes are most comfortable. Trainers or canvas shoes are good options for protecting feet against cuts and so on. Women should dress modestly. Even on the beach, very revealing swimwear attracts unnecessary attention. Remember the adage, take twice as much money and half the clothes that you think you will need.
Items you might find particularly useful include: toiletries, including barrier contraceptives and tampons (available in the larger towns but you may prefer to take your own supply); personal medicines and inhalers and a copy of a prescription; international driving licence; photocopies of essential documents flight information, passport identification and visa pages) or email yourself this information; spare passport photographs (in case you want to extend your visa); hats and sunglasses; insect repellent; high factor sun protection cream; Swiss army knife; torch; wet wipes; zip-lock bags; contact lens cleaning solutions (available in the larger towns and cities but it is best to bring your own).
Budget travellers may also want to take the following: sheets & sleeping bag (for when the sheets are less than clean); earplugs; eyeshades; padlock (for room and baggage); soap; string (or washing line); towel; washbasin plug; a fork (useful for eating lunch packets with when you don’t feel like plunging your filthy fingers into the rice). Mosquito mats/coils are readily available in Sri Lanka but take your own mosquito net (these are standard in all but the very cheapest hotels many have holes or are filthy).
Budget or fancy Sri Lankans retain a different standard when it comes to hotel basics and standards so don’t be alarmed if you don’t get what you were expecting. Visit Sri Lanka with an open mind and let the uniqueness of the island mesmerise you.