My solo travel trips have taught me a great deal about the reality of travel. As much as I love exploring new places, trying new cuisine and experiencing new cultures; I’ve also learnt that at some point, things can and will go wrong. Maybe your luggage is delayed, your wallet stolen or worse, you become severely ill. Planning for any mishaps before you leave will not only make your travels smoother and more comfortable but most importantly, give you peace of mind so you can enjoy the fun stuff and take those crazy risks you normally would when vacationing. Here’s a list of ten things you should never travel without:
- TRAVEL INSURANCE
You’ve probably asked yourself these questions at some point – ‘Do I really need travel insurance?’ and ‘What are the chances that I’ll actually need it?’ Whilst taking out travel insurance may sound like one of those things you don’t really need, it can be a smart move that protects you in many ways whilst you venture abroad. There are so many things that could possibly go wrong – accidents, missed flights, canceled tours, lost baggage, theft, terrorism… the list is endless. Having travel insurance will certainly minimize the financial risks and costs associated with any mishaps that may occur.
- CONTACT DETAILS & BACK-UPS
This may seem like an obvious one – I mean, who forgets their passport at home, right? But what happens when you’re in a new country and suddenly realize your passport is missing? It’s always a good idea to carry copies of important documents and keep these in a place separate to where you would normally keep your originals. It’s also a good idea to save an electronic copy in your email, cloud or Dropbox.
- TECH GEAR
As a blogger, I’ve grown increasingly dependent on my tech-related stuff, not just for blogging but also to capture some really great pictures and videos which serve as memories of great experiences. Always make sure to pack these in your carry-on or backpack for safe keeping and of course, don’t forget chargers, adapters, spare batteries and memory cards. It’s always great to have a back-up.
- TOILETRIES & MEDICATION
As much as submerging yourself in a new culture can be a refreshing experience, packing travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries and more importantly essential medication is important. You are the only one who knows your body the best and it may not always be as easy as you think to find something that treats your sensitive skin for insect bites, or something with English labels that will help that killer headache. Do your research online and check the names of common well-known pharmacies in countries you’ll be visiting as well as if you’ll be able to find your products there.
- MAPS, GUIDEBOOKS & TRAVEL APPS
As refreshing as it is to just get lost in a new place, there’s only so much time you’ll want to waste wandering aimlessly. I always travel with a good ol’ paperback guidebook because there’s something special and rustic about wandering the streets whilst flipping through a guidebook and reading about must-see sights. For the modern traveler however, there are tons of e-books and travel apps that you can download straight to your phone, iPad or iPod. Oh, and you may just want to purchase a regular map for those rare instances when your tech stuff dies.
- A DECENT BOOK (OR eBook)
My mind wanders relentlessly when I’m idle on a 16 hour flight and sometimes, in-flight movies just don’t cut it. I’ve always got at least one paperback in my backpack and few e-versions of classics on hand. Besides, as much as I love wandering and exploring, having essential down time where I just laze by the pool or in a park and read are the best.
- GOOD STURDY LUGGAGE
Purchase some good quality and reliable luggage before you leave. I usually prefer a good solid hard case because often, these are pretty light weight and sturdy. Airlines don’t always handle your bags with the same care that we do so, it’s a good idea to get something of good quality. Add some eye catching luggage tags as well, so you can identify your bags as soon as it hits the conveyor belt.
- FIRST AID KIT
Having a little travel sized first aid kit with essential supplies should be an essential travelling item. Take into consideration any pre-existing medical conditions, how long you will be travelling for, where you be travelling to and what exactly you will be doing there. Essentials like Band-Aids, gauze, antiseptic wipes, antihistamine creams and so on should be included.
- COMFORTABLE SHOES
There is nothing more frustrating than deciding to go for an early morning hike, only to realize that all you have are flip flops and heels. Pack a decent pair of comfy shoes that are versatile and can be used often. Also, take out that extra pair of shoes you stuck into your hand luggage bag. You don’t really need them.
- INTERNATIONAL CREDIT CARDS, FOREIGN CURRENCY, TRAVELER’S CHEQUES
It’s a good idea to do some research online and check which credit cards are accepted and what the exchange rate is in the country you will be visiting. Also, whilst travelling with cash may seem easier, it’s also a lot less safe. Load some money onto a travel card or convert them into traveler’s cheques so in the event that they are stolen, you can call and cancel them immediately.