Travel essentials… we all have them. For some, it’s the items you simply cannot live without. For others, the items are about practicality, and are immaculately planned out. And, for others, they’re just a jumble of last-minute things you usually remember to cram into your carry-on the night before your flight.
We all know the mandatory travel essentials like your I.D. card or your passport. In this category, I would also lump camera equipment… these items are generally a given, and not what this post is about. This would be like me telling you to remember to pack underwear and a toothbrush… c’mon. Rather, in this post I am going to share with you my top 10 items I never travel without, due to their practicality and usefulness. Some of these may be more common than others, but hopefully some of these will be helpful tips for you to apply to your next adventure!
And so, let’s get on with the goods…
I actually can’t tell you how many times I (or one of my companions) have been sick, or gotten injured, during a trip. You get a bad bout of food poisoning, or some serious motion sickness on a boat or crazy drive through teeny-tiny winding roads in the middle of the mountains somewhere… you simply drank yourself a little too silly the night before, or maybe you just had a little “whoopsy” moment leading to a little bloody boo-boo. Trust me when I say that going into a pharmacy or doctor’s office in another country, especially when they don’t speak the same language as you, is a ROUGH experience. It’s also just a huge hassle. Honestly, I’ve learned this one the hard way. So now, I like to be prepared in case anything happens to me, or any of my travel partners, that is easily salvageable with the right equipment. Bandages, Advil, Gravol or ginger tablets, small medical cleansing wipes, a tensor bandage, and safety pins, along with any prescriptions I might have, are all examples of things I keep in a little travel size kit in my bag.
We tend to do this thing, where we depend on electronics a lot… we use them to update our social media, keep in touch with loved ones, and take videos and photographs – which can drain battery pretty quickly. And realistically, when traveling, you may not always have reliable access to outlets in order to keep these devices charged. Having a power bank or battery pack can be extremely useful, particularly if you get stuck in an emergency low-battery situation…
Whether you’re a blogger or not, you never know when a piece of paper and pen will come in handy (hint: it probably will, at least a few times). I like to document places I go and experiences I have, so that I can remember names and details after the trip comes to an end. I also like to make note of the people I meet – their names, where they’re from, how we met, etc. Paper and pen can also be useful when you’re swapping information with people. Sure, you could just keep track of all these things in your phone… but Heaven forbid you ever get pickpocketed, your phone gets lost or broken, a notebook will be a safer option. And hey, who knows, maybe you’ll need a make-shift sign at some point! With hard pen and paper, the uses are endless.
Yes, perhaps a bit of an obvious one, but in addition to packing your adapters, do make sure that your electronics have dual voltage / the appropriate voltage. If they don’t, you will also need a converter. There is a difference. I’ve blown both a hair straightener and curling iron while living abroad because of this… don’t make the same mistake I did 💸💸💸
After long plane rides, train rides, car rides, or just dirty endeavours, wet wipes will be your best friend! In situations where a shower is not totally accessible or practical, you won’t need to hit the panic button. Not a replacement of course, but they do help to get you through.
This has been a recent addition to my travels this year and, let me just say, GAME CHANGER. Not having to worry about getting a crazy expensive add-on to my at-home cell phone plan (THANKS CANADA), or obtaining a sim card in a new region of the world, I use the Tep Wireless Teppy Device to access unlimited 4G WiFi during my travels. This allows me to keep in touch with loved ones, my social media content up-to-date, and gives me the ability to google useful information, access translation services, or utilize maps to help me get around. Anxiety levels just drop, a lot, when you have reliable internet access to help you get out of a pickle.
Note: While Tep Wireless has provided me with the device for my travels, all opinions are my own.
I’m not talking about a general backpack for day trips here. I’m talking a packable, expandable, extra bag for those unexpected purchases or moments when you require a little extra room. My parents bought one of these 20L bags for Jordan for Christmas last year and it’s been the best addition to our travel essentials. Whether acting as a day bag, a pack for groceries, or as a means to carry souvenirs we’ve purchased, it’s always come in use during our travels. On top of this, if you need the extra space on the way home, you can always use it as your second carry-on.
Easy to pack and helpful AF. Particularly if you end up staying in hostels during your time away, this little guy will surely come in handy. Whether it’s occupying a locker at your place of accommodation or elsewhere, or safe-guarding your suitcase, a small padlock could provide some extra security and save you some coin by avoiding lock rental fees.
Post washroom pitstop, pre-meal, or just general hygiene throughout your busy schedule jam-packed with fun activities, this small addition will act as a saving grace for those moments you don’t have access to soap and water, or when you encounter the oh-so-common occurrence of ‘no soap’ in public restrooms.
Loud planes, snoring travel companions, hostel party goers, long road trips — if you need to catch a little zzz’s or simply block out unwanted noises, these guys can be the difference between getting over jet-lag and not, or simply keeping your sanity in those moments of frustration from outward sources outside your control.
And there you have it, 10 items I have consistently found to be extremely useful when traveling, thus making my ‘essentials’ list! What items do you tend to never travel without? Has there been an item that has shockingly proven to be a real life-saver for you? I would love to know in the comments below!