I recently had read somewhere that one of the biggest reasons people don’t travel is that they are afraid of putting themselves in an unknown and sometimes scary position. People feel intimidated to visit a new place because they are unsure on how to prepare for the unknown. I get it, traveling can be scary sometimes, especially for a first timer. So i have put together a list of 10 items that I keep in my bag no matter where I am traveling. Whether it be a desert, a rainforest or even the open sea, all of these items will come in handy when on the road.
A copy of your Passport.
This item may ultimately be the most important possession you could possibly carry with you at all times. Before your trip, make a photocopy of your passport, fold it up and put it somewhere somewhat hidden in your bag. This will be a life saver in the unfortunate event that your actual passport is lost or stolen. In many cases it will be an acceptable form of identification and a great tool in the process of retrieving a new copy of your passport.
I keep a notepad and some sort of writing tool with me nearly at all times. You never know when inspiration might strike and you need to write down that brilliant idea before it slips through the cracks in your brain. Its also great for documenting your travels and experiences to reflect on later, I use mine to write down addresses and names of sites seen and directions or details of certain moments. I also sketch certain scenes that catch my interest, the point is you never know when you’ll have to jot something down, but I guarantee it will happen at some point.
Battery packs are relatively newer accessory but are so amazingly valuable while in transit. Everywhere you go won’t have a power outlet for you to charge whatever devices you rely on, and lets face it, we rely on many gadgets and devices, especially our phones which have numerous uses while traveling (GPS, Clock, Communications, Calendar, hell even a compass!) Battery packs are getting cheaper and lighter by the day and are a great companion if you ask anyone who has made the mistake of arriving in a foreign city on 5% charge and trying to remember the name of the street your hostel is on.
This one is probably looked over on too many trips but it is a great idea to bring a rain jacket of some sort on any trip, even when visiting the most sunny of places. I once worked retail on hollywood blvd. in beautiful sunny California and saw numerous tourists forced to brave freak storms in nothing but Hawaiian shorts, a tank and some flip flops, and guess what, its nearly impossible to find a jacket (especially one thats waterproof) in most sunny locations around the globe. Recently I was stuck in a monsoon while visiting Thailand, the weather reports the day I left called for nothing but sunny skies and temps in the upper 80’s, sixteen hours later when I landed in Bangkok their was a lot of rain on the schedule and I was extremely thankful I brought a rain jacket even though beforehand I feared it would be a useless space waster.
Weather its a dirty subway seat, a grimy escalator railing, or even a contagious co pilot, germs are not your friend when trying to stay healthy out in wanderlust-world. Hand sanitizer is a must when traveling. It can be used to clean up after a street meal, or after an emergency porcelain party and thats another great use for a small travel pack of tissues. One more helpful use for both of these products is to use them for a fire starter in case something goes horribly wrong and you find yourself at the mercy of your own bush skills. The sanitizer may be used as an accelerator like lighter fluid and the tissue as kindling.
Some sort of light source is a must have, preferably one that makes fire but even a small flashlight is a great tool to carry with you. In case you were unaware every beautiful sunset is followed by darkness, a lot of it, and there is nothing worse than blindly fumbling through your bag trying to find identification when caught on a foreign beach after hours. Whether you’re a rule breaker or just trying to find a dropped hotel key in a dark bar, you will at some point need a light in the dark.
This one is pretty self explanatory, even at the bare minimum of travel hygiene, brushing your teeth is mandatory. Not only will it refresh your mouth and your mood, but it will brighten anyones day who has the pleasure of being stuck around you, especially on those crammed planes and bus rides. BRUSH YOUR TEETH!
Picture this, its a bright sunny day in the city, not a cloud in site. You decide to walk the 14 blocks to the train station before catching the last train out of the city. Six blocks in the sidewalk gets crowded so you decide to step off the curb and quickly move around the people, and thats when it happens. SPLASH! Right foot is suddenly ankle deep in a puddle of who knows what, brand new nikes swimming with the fishes. This my friends is when have a pair of clean dry socks will change your life. But listen close, this is where the real advice lies, don’t jump out of that puddle and immediately throw those dry foot sweaters on, No no.. make the sacrifice and walk the next 9 blocks, get on that train, get to your seat, then change into the new pair. This will make your ride ten times better, brand new socks, no puddles in sight, and your damp shoe is drying under your seat.
Thank you captain F**king obvious, but a medical kit is a great investment for any trip. Whether its blistered heals that need bandages or an bigger wound that needs a little support before you can get to some better medical services, a kit is just a smart idea. Injuries happen in the most simple and random ways you won’t ever be able to predict what could happen, for example recently I was getting out of a shower in a hostel and didn’t notice a small step in the cement floor resulting in me cutting the bottom of my foot pretty badly, luckily I had a kit with bandages and antiseptic and the wound is healing fine.
An often overlooked safety risk is bug bites, especially in the most exotic of locations. Bugs such as mosquitos carry a plethora of diseases and illness that can easily ruin any trip and possibly your life. Take a small container of bug spray with you and use it, especially in the mornings and evenings when the bugs tend to bite most.