Travel is such a wonderful way to embrace the idea of having very few essential material items in your life. You get to really know what’s most valuable to you and what’s just added weight in your pack.
Here are some items I’m so glad I’ve traveled with.
1. Water bottle.
I consume water like I’m a camel. Unfortunately, I do not possess ca camel-like bladder, but if there was a word to describe the equivalence to “hangry” for dehydration, that is how I feel when I’m without.
This can absolutely determine whether or not I push on to pack in another highlight or look at the sights for another 30 minutes or turn around/stop to pay for a drink.
Make sure this can fit in to your smaller backpack.
2. Electrolytes or water flavors.
Despite how much I love plain water, sometimes thirst cannot be quenched without something flavored. To avoid the traveler’s cold/cough usually have some Vitamin C fizzy tablets to flavor my water and add some nutrients. I don’t know how much Vitamins your body can actually absorb from these, but can it hurt if you’re going to spend money to flavor your water anyways?
3. Pocket hand soap.
I have a camping flaked hand soap packet in my purse at all times. The way it works is you have paper-thin sheets of soap in a plastic case and they suds up your hands really well without carrying a full wet bar of soap around. It’s incredibly compact and has lasted me months.
This has come in hands on buses, anywhere where the soap dispenser is out of soap, and when you’ve been walking around and handling money but want to stop for finger food.
I’m in the camp of soap over hand sanitizer as, no matter how much bacteria gets killed with alcohol there’s still gunk on my hands and they’ll never feel completely clean until I’ve washed them.
4. Eye sleeping mask.
We all have different requirements for our perfect sleeping environment. Your requirements will probably lessen the more you travel, but there are a few things that are coveted for all overnight bus passengers – earplugs, sleeping mask, pillow. My version of earplugs are ear buds and music (to each our own).
For a pillow I make sure I have a comfy sweater or a bulky scarf. The eye mask is the one thing I do conventionally. A simple black eye mask, the stereotypical type that you see at the drug store. If I don’t have earbuds or a pillow, I can still get a good sleep in many uncomfortable locations with this light blocker. Other people I know use scarves, buffs, or obliging clothing items as well.
5. SIM card for countries I’m in – so worth it.
If you are going to somewhere where a SIM card is cheap, do it! Unlock your phone before you leave your home country by calling the phone company and getting them to unlock it. Then buy a prepaid plan abroad, making sure you can reload it online, not just with physical store locations.
This will come in useful when calling to reserve for restaurants, accommodation, transportation, anywhere that still uses a landline for business. It’s also useful for having access to data for those emergencies where you’re absolutely lost and can’t find WiFi to connect to Google Maps, or some scenario like that.
6. News App
This is partially because I am a bit of a news junkie. But it’s also super good to be informed about current events where you’re travelling. For example, if there’s hurricane warnings, wildfires, riots, protests, coups, etc. you want to be in the loop right? Chances are you’ll hear about major things like this word of mouth, but if you’re travelling somewhere where you don’t speak the language the chance of getting caught up to speed could be quite a bit less.