If you have ever travelled before, you would know to bring the essentials – your passport, money, clothes, tickets and a backpack. And of course the basics which include include a warm coat, towel, soap, toothbrush, laptop/tablet, mobile phone and all your chargers. Generally if you have these items you will be fine, remember that every country has shops so don’t stress to much. But there are some things that are understated and when you need them the most, you never have them.
So take a look at what you should pack, most of which you probably have lying around the house already.
You never know when this handy basic tool comes in handy. Great for camping or staying in a hostel where the lighting is limited.
19. Cutlery (inc. Cup, Fork)
Having cheap noodles from the supermarket for dinner? Having some drinks and can’t find a cup to use? Now I myself have drunk from some ‘interesting’ items, but I would have much preferred a more suitable cup. Some hotels and hostels have the kitchen essentials, but when you’re on the road and eating on a budget, you will thank me.
*You can buy portable cups online, grab yourself a plastic pint glass that condenses down to about 2cm!
* Get your hands on a hybrid fork and spoon – the Spork!
A pen is one of those things you have 50 of, but never any when you need one. Sometimes you may find yourself in those situations where you need to jot down a quick note or place your signature somewhere.
17. Washing Powder
Not only is doing your washing whilst travelling a pain, but it can also get pricey. If you bring your own detergent most places will do your washing cheaper. Plus you can always fill up a sink and throw in some washing powder – boom – clean clothes!
16. Swiss Army Knife
Although you might not find yourself in many Macgyver situations, you never know when you need something sharper then your hands to rip/cut stuff. Swiss army knives also have it all: knife, scissors, tweezers and most importantly.. the bottle opener.
15. Zip Lock Bags
It’s important to remember that no liquids above 100mL can be carried onboard. Majority of airports require that any liquids you are carrying onboard be in a clear plastic bag. Some airports have them lying around, but some also charge you! (I was flying from London where they wanted £1 for a bag!) Zip lock bags are also great for organising your backpack, try putting your chargers in one, jewellery in another and so on.
Must have when you’re going on long distant trips, 12 hour flights are soooooo much better with music.
13. Water Bottle
Although bottled water is sold pretty much everywhere, it can range from price. Most countries it’s quite cheap but some charge you more from what you can get from the tap for free! Grab a bottle and keep filling it up from the tap. Most countries the water is good to drink but ALWAYS check that this is acceptable first.
*Don’t forget if your bottle is full to put it in your checked luggage!
*Be weary of tap water from countries in South-East Asia, Turkey, Morocco, Greece.
12. Travel Size Toiletries (inc. Toothbrush)
If you don’t want your Calvin Klein bottle of aftershave to get thrown out at the airport, or your double-action anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, make sure they are packed in your checked-in luggage. If you’re only taking checked-in luggage, grab yourself some travel friendly toiletries. They are easy to find and are all under 100mL. If they don’t have your preferred choice, buy some small empty bottles and just fill them up from your larger bottles! Even if you have checked-in luggage with all your toiletries, it’s a good idea to pack a small deodorant and toothpaste in your carry on.
*Don’t forget your toothbrush!!!!
11. Portable Power Bank Charger
These are great for when you don’t have a power outlet near. They are great also for smart phones which can drain your battery quickly if you are using maps, music and Wi-Fi. Just charge it before you head out and keep close by so when your device is about to die you have a backup power source.
10. Power Board
You will be everybody’s best friend in your hostel dorm for sure with this item. Many rooms, dormitory or private have only one power point. If you have been out all day and need to charge your camera, phone, laptop, tablet etc. etc. then this is a very understated item that most backpackers miss on their to-pack list. Plus like I mentioned, all your roomies will love you!
9. Digital Camera (NOT SMARTPHONE)
Ok so most people have a smartphone, but as great as they are these days there are some things a camera phone cannot do. Some sights need a digital/SLR camera that has more options to get a better photo. For example optical zoom on a SLR is much better and an underwater camera can go where no smartphone can…underwater.
*This would have been higher in the list but now with smartphones, good cameras are included.
8. Inflatable Pillow
Every traveler has slept on a plane, train, bus, boat or on a park bench. Imagine that experience with a pillow = 1000x better. The only problem is pillows are bulky and take up your precious backpack space. So get an inflatable pillow, blow it up, have a nap and then deflate it. It might not be as comfortable as a fluffy feather pillow but It will take no room up whatsoever and really, how comfortable are buses to sleep on? Travellers gotta do what a travellers gotta do.
7. Small Backpack (Drawstring)
Some situations don’t require your large backpack. A suitable sized carry-on backpack is great for airplanes, day trips, exploring a new city and they are a good way to keep your valuables close with you at all times. My tip; grab yourself a thin backpack with a drawstring, the sporting ones. They take up no room if for some reason you need to condense everything into your larger backpack. Plus they are extremely hard to get pick pocketed with as you would probably notice someone tugging on the strings trying to pry it open.
Again, a very understated item. Take a few with you because they are perfect for locking your bags when checking them in at the airport, leaving them in the luggage compartment on a train or ferry or even just having your backpack on your back through a busy area/metro. Many locals target travellers in crowded areas as well as common known places like hostels and bars.
Also great for hostels, most have lockers but not all come with locks so it is very important especially when there are many people coming and going all the time. Although many travellers follow what I call the travellers code of not stealing from one another, theres always one.
5. Extra Underwear
Can not stress this enough. I’ve been caught out. You can wear pants and shirts for days without feeling to grim but underwear is only good for one.. or two uses. You never really appreciate the feeling of clean underwear until after you go travelling for months at a time!
*If you’re getting low, wash them in the shower with you!
4. Spare Bank Cards
Now it’s always a good idea to have your money situation sorted. Cash, debit card, credit card, travel money card. Get them all. But what happens if you lose your wallet or it gets stolen? Contact your bank for a second card linked to the same account and always keep it separate from your others (but also safely). This way if you need cash you will have a spare, just makes sure when you cancel your card you don’t cancel the spare one too!
*Especially good if your hitting up the town nightlife and misplace your wallet.
http://blog.ilwucu.org/2011/debit-card-and-usage-fees-where-we-stand/ (RED CARD ON TOP)
3. Passport & Document Copies
You will probably never need them.
You will hopefully never need them!
But incase you do, its a very good idea to keep a copy of all your documents. Keep a copy of your passport, ID, bank cards, travel insurance details, emergency contact and anything you think you will need. Be smart about them as if they were originals and keep them in a safe place or keep them digitally protect by a pass-coded USB stick!
2. Universal Adapter
This one item is one of the most important things you will need. Yeah sure it just lets you charge your devices, but it will grant you access to important tasks such as checking e-mails, booking flights and searching via maps. Try finding one where it has all the different region power sockets, it will save you carrying one for each region.
1. Smart Phone (inc. iPod, Map)
Not to be confused with a regular mobile phone. This is the most important item you can have while travelling. It will save you so much time and energy and make your life so much easier. Yeah when we travel we want to be disconnected from the world sometimes, we want to break out of our familiar and safety zones and broaden our horizons on our own. So by all means put down the phone and chat to the locals, explore the city and get lost instead of sitting on Facebook, it’s why we travel! But our smartphones enable us to book flights, capture our precious moments, arrive on time and stop us from getting lost. It’s not just a phone but its your iPod, Map, Alarm Clock, Watch, Calendar, Diary, Notepad, Camera, Photo Album, Gaming Console, Computer/Internet, Video Player, Video Camera, Radio and more! To list all the capabilities of a smartphone and how it helps us could fill up a book! We live in a digital age and although it’s hard to imagine what travelling was like before this device, it sure makes it easier now. It’s understated because it does it all!
Although not an item, I feel like I should mention this. What better way to remember your experience… a tattoo! Plus it’s the perfect accessory, it takes up no room whats so ever! If you want to get a cliche travellers tattoo make sure you personalise it somehow.