When it comes to travelling, particularly for an extended amount of time, you want to pack light. Hauling around a heavy bag day after day isn’t fun. Having said that, there are a few items that will make life easier whilst travelling. These are my travel essentials I never leave home without.
Pretty obvious but this is the only thing you cannot leave behind if you’re hoping to go overseas. Some countries also require it to have an expiry date of no less than six months so check yours in advance.
2. Travel Insurance
You’re off travelling to have a great time so the last thing you’re planning on is ending up with a trip to the doctors, or worse the hospital. Don’t leave it to chance though as you could save yourself thousands in the long run if you are unlucky enough to end up needing medical treatment. I got some insect bites that became infected and wouldn’t clear up with over the counter creams, so had to get prescribed some antibiotics. The doctor said I was on the verge of being admitted to hospital for intravenous antibiotics that I never expected from a few insect bites!
Also, make sure your insurance covers the sort of activities you’re going to be doing. You may have to upgrade to include skiing, for example.
3. First Aid Kit
From reading the above, you might be able to guess that if someone is going to get injured/infected/ill then it’s likely to be me…
Therefore a first aid kit always comes with me! You can personalise this to your own needs but I usually have plasters, antiseptic wipes/cream, painkillers, imodium, hand sanitiser and antihistamine in my kit. You don’t want to be tracking down a pharmacy in a foreign country when you’re sick, so having these to hand is always useful.
Gone are the days when people embark on their travels with just a Nokia brick phone in case of an emergency. Having a smart phone is really useful when it comes to booking accommodation and activities and obviously updating your Instagram to make everyone jealous back home.
If you’re staying for a while in a country then I’d also recommend getting a local sim card (check your phone is unlocked). This is particularly useful if the hostel wifi isn’t working and you need to book somewhere for the following night!
Some apps I found useful are the Booking.com one as it’s so quick and easy to search and book somewhere. There’s also usually a good amount of reviews on places too so you don’t get a nasty surprise when you turn up. I’ll know I’ve made it when I can search high to low rather than low to high on the Booking.com app…
Currency is an app that converts currency so you know exactly how much that pack of TimTams is costing you.
HERE WeGo is my preferred mapping app. I like to download maps for the area I’m visiting in advance so you can view them offline. Super handy for driving or walking directions and has saved me more than once when I’ve got a bit lost!
I also like to have copies of important documents backed up onto something like Dropbox, in case anything were to get lost or stolen.
5. Portable Charger
Using all those apps and taking lots of pictures is bound to take a toll on your phone’s battery. I always carry a portable charger and this Anker one is pretty compact and charges my iPhone roughly two times. If you’re in a hostel, then there’s often not enough sockets so having a portable charger is so handy.
Packed all your charges but forgot or brought the wrong adapter? Check what type of socket you need depending on where you’re going to see what adapter you need. I actually wouldn’t recommend the one I used as it’s a bit took bulky. It has multiple countries but I actually ended up only need the Aus setting for all the places I went. With the actual charger plugged in, it was sometimes too big or heavy for some sockets. I saw some fellow travellers with USB travel adapters which is a good way to charge multiple items.
7. Revolut/Credit Card
There’s not much you can’t do without a phone and a credit card these days. The trouble is that some companies charge you for purchases made abroad, adding up over several months of travelling. I would highly recommend getting a Revolut card if you’re from the UK. This a prepaid card that doesn’t charge for normal use and you get interbank exchange rates. It’s all done through their app, so it’s easy to top up and see all your transactions. I used this to pay for pretty much everything and continue to use my card.
You can also get credit cards with no international charges. I have one with Aqua as a back up card and is useful if you don’t have wifi to top-up your Revolut card. Setup a direct debit to pay off your card though so you don’t have to worry about the monthly payments whilst travelling.
Having just said that I paid for pretty much everything by card, it is still useful to have cash. Thailand, for example, doesn’t accept card payments in a lot of places and withdrawing money can get pricy with ATM fees. I took some Euros I had left over from a previous trip and exchanged them whilst in Thailand at a good rate, so this could be a good way to use up other currencies.
9. Flip Flops
The humble flip-flop comes with me on every trip. They take up hardly any space and are so versatile. Pair with a nice dress or wear them to the beach. Great as a back up if your feet are blistered from hiking too. Also a must have when you’re frequenting hostel showers. Havaianas are my favourite and I believe worth the extra money because the strap doesn’t rub and they last really well.
10. Packing Cubes
I never understood the obsession with packing cubes but I’ve been converted. If you’re taking a suitcase and just going on a normal holiday, then they’re probably not worth the investment but for a backpacking type trip, I would definitely recommend a set.
Not only do they compact your clothing but it’s also so easy to find that pair of shorts you wanted to wear. No more throwing every item out of your bag only to find what you wanted right at the bottom. I have a set of three (small, medium, large) but I also have some cosmetics style bags that I used to pack chargers, first aid supplies and toiletries. This makes it so quick to pack up when you move onto somewhere new and keeps everything organised. I didn’t lose a single item in four months of travelling and I definitely owe some of that to packing cubes!
So that’s my top ten travel essentials! Anything different you would include in your bag? Enjoy packing for your next adventure!
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