You might be surprised at how often even frequent travellers forget essentials like nightwear or plastic pouches for wet clothing. The longer your trip, the more you’ll need to cram into your suitcase. Of course, you can always purchase items that you left behind but that could be expensive, not to mention inconvenient. It goes without saying that your travel documents such as passport, other identification, international driving license, visa, hotel bookings, and flight tickets are a must-have. And don’t go stuffing them into your check-in luggage either! A smart idea is to always keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, and one set of clothes in your carry-on luggage just in case you lose your check-in luggage or there’s a delay in retrieving them. Essential medication should also be with you at all times. Here are ten other travel essentials that we swear by:
Electric plug points wary across the world, and your chargers will be practically useless without the right adaptor. In most cases, your hotel will lend you one, but in this digital age, it’s highly unlikely that you can make do with just one adapter! Chances are, you need to charge at least two devices such as a phone and camera, so make sure you carry along a world adapter in your carry-on luggage.
A good phone usually means you can do without a bulky camera but if you have the space and a penchant for photography, a DSLR is always good to have. If you’re travelling to a seaside destination and plan to try a lot of underwater activities, investing in a GoPro might also be a good idea. If travelling as a family, why not also carry a selfie stick that lets you get everyone in the same frame? Always make sure you also have the memory card along.
What would we do without our super helpful gadgets that let us do everything from navigate new places, call for taxis, and search for restaurants? But these gadgets need power, and there is nothing worse than being stuck with a battery-less phone in an emergency. Always take along a compact power bank but remember to charge it when you’re in the room. Some can even charge two devices at once.
With packing cubes, you’ll never have to search for that odd pair of socks or belt again. Use the cubes to organize your items such as clothes, underwear, accessories, and toiletries, and they will fit perfectly into your suitcase. Packing cubes come in various sizes and prevent clothes from getting creased, as you can place them carefully and then zip the cube shut. You can also use organizers for papers and documents.
Getting caught in rainy weather without an umbrella or waterproof jacket could potentially ruin all your sightseeing plans. Likewise, not being prepared for hot or cold temperatures can also pose a problem. Do your research about the weather conditions prior to your departure, and make sure you have everything you might need. For the tropics, pack light clothing, scarves, and hats. If going to a snowy locale, carry good boots, layered warm clothing, pullovers or sweaters, and a hardy jacket.
A tube of good sunblock from your favourite brand doesn’t take up too much space, and comes in very handy when you’re spending most of the day outdoors. Waterproof sunscreen is great to have when visiting beaches and also otherwise if you plan to do a lot of swimming. In sultry destinations like Bali and Thailand, you may have to slather on sunscreen multiple times during the day.
Wet wipes can be wonderfully refreshing when you’re on the move with little access to running water. They wipe away the sweat and dirt and leave you feeling fresh, fragrant, and moisturized. Wet wipes are also nice to have on long haul flights although some airlines provide you with a pack as part of a comfort kit. You might also want to carry some mouth freshener and mini packs of essential toiletries.
Whether you plan to hit the beach or not, flip flops are evergreen footwear that you can always resort to on vacations. They are waterproof, comfortable, and easy to slip on. When you want to hop down for breakfast after a lie-in, they are the best thing to wear. And when you want to walk on sandy beaches or lounge by the pool, flip flops come to the rescue once again. Just don’t use them for long walks or hikes.
It’s true that the journey is as alluring as the destination, but monotony does set in on long transit journeys, and a good pair of noise-cancelling earphones or headphones can be your best friend. They can also keep ear discomfort at bay during flights. Make sure you load your phone or iPad with enough music to last you during your vacation. You could also play meditative or relaxing sounds if you suffer from flight anxiety.
Chances are, you don’t want to drag along your bulky laptop on a holiday. But it can be extremely relaxing to read a novel by the beach on a quiet afternoon. So, we’d recommend taking along at least one book or a digital reader to keep you intellectually stimulated when you’re on your own. You could also catch up on the news during breakfast if you have an iPad. And if you like sketching or making notes, don’t forget a notebook and pen.
In case you do happen to forget something, check with your hotel concierge about an on-site store or nearby shop where you could purchase what you need. Many luxury hotels have their own boutique stores where you could even buy fashionable clothing, especially in isolated locations like Maldivian islands. But do make a list before you start packing so you avoid such occasions as far as possible!