Every once in awhile, we all get that urge to tap into our internal reserves of wanderlust, and explore a foreign country. However, there are a number of things you should never leave out of your backpack, come hell or high water. Here are the top 10 most important things to pack when you’re travelling abroad:
Alright, first things first. Always get a health check-up done before leaving for any place outside of your hometown. This includes traveling within your country, too. You never know what kind of allergies, or whatever health issues you may have developed, and you’ll sleep better knowing you’ve done the safer thing. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Pack all the essential medicines you might use in regular life, like a cold pill or an anti-vomiting pill. Even sleeping tablets should be included along with the ones prescribed by the doctor, if any.
Yep, you heard me. Believe me, you don’t want to arrive at your destination after hours of travel only to find that the bed sheets in your room are a little on the questionable side. Eww. However, make sure the sheets you carry aren’t too high maintenance (like fancy fabric, or intricately designed and stuff), just pack the generic linens (like the ones shown below) that can be easily hand washed and you’re good to go. Usually hotels offer complimentary detergent liquid for clothing and some such, but you can always carry a travel tube filled with your usual detergent just to be sure.
8. Extra clothing
This writer knows all too well the perils of not being prepared for whatever kind of place you’re going to. To put it in short, carry one item or outfit suitable for a summery, warm kind of weather and one for a cold and dry kind. Seriously though, and I cannot stress this enough, I don’t care if you’re going to Europe, PACK THAT SUNDRESS. I also don’t care if you’re going to Hawaii: PACK THAT SWEATER. If there’s anything more unpredictable than life, it’s the weather. A handy tip in acquiring at least a general idea of how the weather’s going to be at your destination is looking up its weather news online. Also, another tip that I’ve learnt when it comes to packing underwear is packing whatever-the-number-of-days-you’re-traveling-plus-two of inners. For example, if you’re traveling for 10 days, pack 12 items of underwear. You never know when you might need them. You’re welcome.
7. Handy tools
No, I don’t mean the hammer and a screwdriver kind of tools, don’t worry. By handy tools I mean flashlights, a Swiss knife, sanitizer, an extra pack of batteries etc. What do you do when the lights in your room go off and you need to answer nature’s call? Whip out that flashlight! If the container you’re trying to open just won’t listen to you, use that Swiss knife! Had a grueling day with hands that have been to god-knows-where? Sanitize away!
…well, you get the idea.
6. Travel foods
Pack nutrition bars, homemade foodstuffs that you can easily carry around and last long, and lots and lots of dry fruits. A lot of times when you’re in transit from one place to another, such as train rides or bus journeys, you do tend to get hungrier than usual, and public transports usually don’t offer food. For such times, these handy travel foods will be your best friend, keeping you from getting cranky from hunger.
I know I’m being quite the Captain Obvious, but please do carefully pack all your necessary documentation in one place. It also helps to sort out all the papers you’ll need for the next day the night before. Create a handy folder to keep all your papers, vouchers, coupons, tickets, etc. and keep them in your suitcase when not needed. For passports and other documents, there are a number of efficient (and stylish, I might add) passport and card holders(look below) available almost in any speciality store. or, you could always order them online.
4. Portable charger and/or universal adapter
These are probably two of the most important things you could pack on your trip to anywhere. A portable charger allows you to charge your electronic devices on-the-go, and you can also easily carry it in your hand baggage. A universal adapter is absolutely necessary because every state, country, even continent has its own different set of plug points. A universal adapter lets you connect your charger or plug to any kind of point, anywhere in the world. Again, most hotels do offer adapters, but as you already know, better safe than sorry.
3. Extra shoes
Always, always, ALWAYS carry your trainers/sneakers/whatever-shoes-you-run-in with you. Even though you might think you won’t be doing that much walking anyway, trust me, you’ll probably never be this wrong in your whole life. Alternatively, also carry a pair of easy slip-ons, since during check-in at the airport, you might be told to remove them. Plus, you can be comfortable AND economic at the same time! Also, don’t forget to pack at least two extra pairs of socks at the same time.
Like I said before, weather is incredibly unpredictable no matter where in the world you go. Therefore packing a raincoat or a windcheater is always better so as to protect yourself from the showers and avoid getting sick on your vacation, and who would want that, right? Plus, they’re really warm, so you can double them as an extra jacket, too!
You’re never lonely when you have a book with you. Those long waits for check-ins, tiresome flights, train or bus rides…they’re all bearable when you have a book with you. Now, this may be coming from a complete and utter bookworm’s mouth, but don’t fret: magazines and newsletters will do just fine. All that glare from computer screens and mobile phones, even the small screens in front of your seat in an airplane, do an absolutely marvellous job of messing your eyes up, along with your head (sinus-sufferers and migraine-mumblers will understand). So, do those very organs a favour and actually read something tangible. Your body will thank you for it.
Extra brownie points if you bring a travel book/guide/magazine on the exact place that is your destination!
So there you are: ready to awaken the explorer within you! These tips will surely get you through your trip just fine. But remember,
“There are two types of travellers: the ones who pack light, and the ones who wish they had.”
and, from the personal collection,
“Be a traveller, not a tourist.”
Until next time!