Travelling is so important to me. If you read my previous post, you know that travelling is always at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list. I love seeing new places, trying new foods, hearing and speaking a different language and immersing myself if a different culture. I’ve been travelling quite a bit since I graduated university in 2006 and I’ve learned what matters most to me when travelling.
Here are my top travel essentials:
- Passport // OK, it goes without saying that you need your passport if you want to travel anywhere (except maybe within your own country). This little book is the magic ticket to get you into those new worlds you’ve been dreaming of. I always keep my old passports so I can go back and check out the country stamps and count the places I’ve been. Just be careful not to lose it. Knock on wood, I haven’t lost mine in the 13 years I’ve been travelling but I’ve run into people that have. It’s a bitch to get it replaced while you’re away. Take precautions and keep it safe. Basically guard it with your life. And mind the expiry date.
- Travel Journal // I know this can seem a little bit cliched, “always bring a travel journal.” Especially now because there are so many “adventure awaits” and other travel-themed notebooks you can buy, but this is actually something I never ever travel without. I always make sure that I write down what we’re doing on our vacations whether it’s a tour of a city, or what we did in the morning (even if it’s just a beach day), the restaurant names we ate at and what we ordered. I make sure to keep track of our itinerary for the day; if there were any tourist attractions we went to and the price we paid. I realize it may seem a little excessive, but when you have the journals and you’re able to look back years later, it’ll trigger you memories. I’ve already had that experience: my hubs and I were in Scotland back in 2009. I stopped writing in my travel journal about halfway through our trip. I got lazy and felt like I didn’t have time for it. Big mistake! I found that years later when my hubs and I were talking about our trip, we had different memories. He remembered us doing something I had completely forgotten about. So, if you’re able to write things down, keep them in your journal, years later you’ll be able to trigger those memories again and you will not regret it at all! (so obvi also bring pens)
- Camera or Phone // In today’s world I don’t think anyone would ever travel without their phone. Obviously you want to be able to take photos and remember the places you visited, your favourite restaurants, favourite meals, etc. Your phone, or actual camera, is something you want to make sure you have with you at all times. (Plus, you gotta get that perfect pic for the ‘gram!)
- Probiotics // If you’re travelling someplace new then you’re likely eating foods you don’t normally eat. Or if you’re doing an all-inclusive buffet there’s just always a lot going on, so I feel that a travel probiotic is something good to have. I bring them every time I travel just to keep my gut flora in check. The current brand I’m travelling with is Genuine Health. They are shelf stable (meaning that don’t have to be kept in the fridge) and they come in little capsules. I take one a day, usually in the morning.
- Throat Spray // There’s nothing worse than getting sick on vacation, so in addition to the probiotics helping in that sense, a throat spray is also a good idea to keep with you. Just in case you wake up with a little sore throat, or a tickle in your throat if you had the AC cranked at night, etc. Or if you’re just out and about, maybe running yourself thin/burning the candle at both ends: you want to wake up early so you can get to all the attractions you want to see, but you also want to stay out late to experience the night culture as well. My favourite is Beekeepers Naturals Propolis Throat Relief. I not only take it when I travel, but I always keep a bottle in my purse.
- First Aid Kit // Because we’ve all done the ‘rosé all day,’ and fallen on our ass at some point during a vacation. I pack a mini First Aid kit complete with bandages, iodine wipes, gauze… I always figure it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can get these in any drug store.
- Translator App // I realize that I speak English and it’s a pretty universal language, but not everywhere you go people are going to know how to speak English (or may not want to). I find that it is always appreciated if you’re able to learn part of the local language. So wherever I go I always make sure that I’m able to say: hello, goodbye, yes, no, please, thank you, excuse me and sorry in the official language of that city or country. Sometimes I write them out phonetically and keep them on a piece of paper in my pocket.
- Reusable Water Bottle // I always bring one with me. Typically you’ll find a local shop or store (or, Starbucks because they are pretty much everywhere) where you can go in and fill up your water bottle to keep hydrated when you’re there. Especially if you’re doing a lot of city tours in the summer.
- Tote Bag // Perfect for walking around the city if you don’t want to lug a huge day pack with you. If you’re doing an AirBnB or apartment rental they are great for taking to the local market or grocery store. You can put all of your local produce, fresh bread etc. or any other personal shopping that you’re doing. Tote bags are always great to have on hand. They always come in handy. Plus, they fold up super small and they don’t take up much room in your suitcase.
- Multitool or Swiss Army Knife // Usually my hubs packs this. You never know what can happen when you’re travelling (we’ve all had a stubborn zipper that won’t zip up). It’s great to have a pair of pliers or scissors with you. You can get ones with a little wrench in them or tweezers. And let’s face it, a bottle opener is always handy to have.
Things I don’t ever use when travelling? Packing Cubes. These are little zipper packs you pack your clothes in or shoes; basically a way to organize your suitcase. I’ve used them only once before. I found that they actually take up way more space than if you didn’t use them. I am a master packer/Tetris player. I can get a ton of stuff into a suitcase using every single nook and cranny I can find, so I don’t particularly like packing cubes and I don’t use them.