When one travels as much as I do, one has to learn to “just roll with it.” While I try to pack light yet still be prepared for unknown situations, sometimes you just can’t prepare for everything.
So, what are some of my travel essentials that I don’t like to be without? These help alleviate the burden of “rolling with it.” (Sorry, no pictures due to slow internet)
- Laundry soap: while you can buy this in country, it’s nice to go prepared in case it takes you a while to find it. This is also essential as right now I packed for a nearly three-week trip in one carry-on suitcase. Gotta wash!
- Hanging rack: Imagine a hanger that opens up to produce a rectangle with multiple clothespins. Packable, yet great for hanging those clothes you just washed in case you don’t have enough space on your towel bar (if you have a towel bar).
- Food: this usually includes ramen or some sort of soup that can be made with boiling water. Usually I can find boiled water, although now we have a small hot pot we bring. Never know when you’ll eat next so having something is awesome. Unfortunately, I forgot my snack foods this time. (Truth be told, I’ve learned that B worries more about food and packs the snacks. Usually we travel together so I’m learning what we each care about!)
- A bowl, cup, and silverware: Again, never know when you might eat. Or, you just get tired of eating out so you buy some chicken pâte and some bread and voilá – dinner! Having a thermos works as well as it keeps the water hot back to your room….or if it’s a thermos/french press it makes coffee in the morning.
- First aid/medicine kit: this usually includes a malaria test kit, oral rehydration salts, and some sort of immune booster besides basic band aids, ointments, etc. Now, I’m adding Young Living Essential Oils to the mix.
- Shower shoes: just my simple Old Navy flip-flops work for when I’m showering or as “house shoes.” You never know how clean things are and it’s nice to have on hand.
- Travel adapters and power strips: I have this awesome power strip from the Philippines that has each plug with the adapters built-in. Since most places I stay only has one outlet in the room this becomes essential, especially when sharing rooms. And since my phone is European two pin, computer and tablet US pin, and my hairdryer (when I pack it) is UK pin I need lots of adapters so built-in is awesome!
- Backup battery: I live and travel in Africa. Power (and water) goes out regularly. So having something that can charge my phone and tablet keeps me sane as well as being safe.
- Water filter: I have a Seychelle water filter I travel with here so I can take tap water and safely drink it. While I can buy water, it’s nice to always have a backup option in case there are no stores to buy water once you pass through airport security and you’re thirsty.
- Wifi 3G SIM router: We’re not always guaranteed that we’ll have internet where we stay. Or, in this case, it’s extremely slow. So we have an unlocked wifi router that takes a mobile 3G/GSM SIM card and we buy local SIMs for our phones and it when we arrive at the airport.
- My tablet: God bless my Roomie! I thought I’d only use it for reading and maybe some other personal stuff, but it fits perfectly in my purse so it goes to meetings to capture notes, pictures, business cards, airline tickets, etc…It also can connect to the wifi router so we have mobile access to the internet if necessary.
- My canga: not sure how it’s spelled but it’s a piece of fabric that can be wrapped around the waist to form a skirt (to go over shorts to open the door, walk down to reception, cover a bathing suit….), to use as a blanket when a sheet isn’t enough to keep me warm, and other uses.
- Flashlight: remember above mention of power outages? Enough said.
- Zip-locks: you never know, they always come in handy and don’t take up room.
There are other basics that are a given (credit cards, multiple currencies, clothes, toiletries, electronics, etc….) but the above are my go-to’s that always make it in my bag.
What are your travel essentials?