Items I don’t Travel Without

The following is a list of items I don’t travel without. For some trips, I require fewer items (i.e. I obviously don’t need a luggage scale for a shorter trip where I am using a carry-on, as long as the airline does not have a weight maximum for carry-on baggage.) This is a general list of items that are extremely useful for me on trips:

  • Sarong – I cannot tell you how useful a sarong has been in my travels and even in day-to-day life. Here are some of the following ways I have used my sarong (which I have had for about 10 years – awesome!) : shawl, pillow (usually wrapped around other items,), cover up (for a swimsuit & even when wearing a dress on a windy day), skirt/dress, to put over face @ beach either directly or propped up on something, towel, picnic blanket, robe, as privacy (if going to the bathroom outdoors), headscarf, bag, to wipe up liquids (mine’s black & dark purple, so it won’t stain), as a barrier between questionable bedding in hostels… Really, the uses are endless
  • Toothbrush/paste – Another item I carry with me on a daily basis in my purse – I love the feeling of freshly brushed teeth. It’s amazing when travelling how much cleaner you feel with brushed teeth
  • Floss – again, with the dental hygiene 🙂 but this can also be used for cutting cheeses/cakes when you don’t have a knife, sewing thread, tying a sarong to sticks for a homemade beach “umbrella”, creating a new zipper pull if yours break (almost every single one of my backpack’s zippers fell off in South America!), makeshift clothesline, hairband, latch broke on your necklace or bracelet? use floss! again there are tons of possibilities
  • Luggage scale – I only bring this when I am on trips that require a checked bag. This has saved the surprise at overweight baggage fees if I’ve picked up souvenirs along the way. Is your bag overweight? Get rid of stuff you don’t need. I donated a lot of clothing, shoes, and books to the hostel I lived next to in Argentina.
  • Hidden money pouch – I always recommend separating money and credit cards. To avoid higher ATM fees in South America, I took out the maximum at a time and hid a good amount of it in my bra! along with at least one bank card or credit card. That way, if my purse was stolen, I would have some buffer money and wouldn’t be out of a lot of money as well. Guys can use money belts
  • Baby wipes – this is pretty self explanatory, but I am one of those people who gets grumpy if I don’t feel fresh, so these definitely make me happy. They are also good for cleaning up spills and refreshing after a hike or run, and wiping off hands
  • Hand Sanitizer – LIFE SAVER!
  • Journal – I recently reread a few of my journals from various trips and was literally laughing out loud at some of the comments I made (I was 18 the first big trip I took and let’s just say, I’ve changed a bit), situations I encountered, and some things I just plain forgot about. It’s also useful to have one to write down information such as addresses of people you want to send postcards to, sketch, attach mementos such as ticket stubs, keep lists, etc This is also useful for long plane/train/bus rides when you get tired of reading or other activities. It’ll be even more fun to look back on later in life 🙂
  • Book – reading can make time go by so much faster, and I usually bring a book relevant to the place I am visiting so I can learn more about the culture. Plus, when you’re finished with it, you can give it away as a gift or donate it to a hostel to pay it forward as well as lighten your load!
  • 1st Aid/sewing Kit – I almost always carry a small 1st aid kit (mine is flat and doesn’t take up a lot of space with a sewing kit tucked inside. I also usually carry small amounts of ibuprofen, tums etc) These have helped when I get a scrape, have a hole in an item of clothing, am simply not feeling well, etc I recently read a tip to carry cough drops, which I normally do for myself because I’m prone to allergies and dry air on planes can get my throat scratchy, but the tip was to offer them to other-wise unfriendly cab drivers to get them talking! maybe I’ll try that next time!
  • Extra Outfit and underwear (and pajamas if you have space) – I learned this one the hard way after my luggage came a day and a half after I arrived in Spain with no pajamas and only the grungy clothes I had worn on the plane, and boy, does clean underwear go a long way towards making you feel cleaner!
  • Inflatable pillow – This is not only useful for plane rides, but camping and inadequate pillows where you’re staying. Plus it takes up little space
  • Sandals – I pretty much live in sandals, but they come in handy for questionably clean showers and when you have blisters on your feet
  • Water Bottle – This is another item that I use on a daily basis and has probably saved me $1000’s of dollars. Many places almost require your first-born child to buy a bottle of water so you’re forced to choose between spending a boatload of money or risking dehydration. Just make sure it’s empty when you get on the plane 😉
  • Earplugs – snoring roommates or party rockers at 4am? Problem solved!
  • Camera – This is somewhat obvious, but like my journals, if it wasn’t for my photos, I might forget a lot of my adventures. It’s fun looking back and reminiscing
  • Multi-purpose Knife – Another self-explanitory, but I have been able to make so much use out of mine from opening packages to removing a splinter. Justmake sure to check it in your luggage 😉
  • Small-flashlight – you never know when you might need it!
  • Travel Alarm Clock – at home, I use my cell phone to wake up, but travelling, I think it’s safer to use a cheap travel alarm clock
  • MP3 Player – Duh.
  • Adaptors – for wherever I am going
  • Quick-dry body and hair towel
  • Messenger bag – I have a somewhat cheap but durable messenger bag that is big enough to carry a full day’s worth of stuff for exploring a city. Plus, having the items in front of me gives me the security of seeing my bag and (usually) blending into the locals vs using a backpack
  • Bathing Suit – despite the obvious swimming, depending on the style, it can be used as a sports bra, more coverage under your pajamas & using public showers when staying at hostels or camping
  • Hat – helpful if you lose your sunglasses, keeping cool & keeping you from getting sunburned on your face
  • Credit Card/Insurance/Driver’s License/Passport Numbers, Photocopy of Passport and Important Numbers – I also tell a family member or close friend my itinerary and these numbers

I hope these will help you on your next big trip!

This entry was published on July 30, 2012 at 14:52. It’s filed under Lists, Tips and Advice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Items I don’t Travel Without

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  2. Pingback: How to Save Before and During Your Big Adventure! | Have Life, Will Travel!

  3. Pingback: Lessons I have Learned Through Travel « Have Life, Will Travel!

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