Eurobreakdown.com recently asked travel bloggers what they packed inside their suitcase, which made me ponder what essential items I bring on each trip. Below is a mixture of the practical and the fanciful, the technical and the traditional, but all well-used and well-loved.
Copies of travel and medical information: Admittedly the least exciting but most important, I always keep copies of my passport, travel insurance, address of residence and medical information with me in a watertight folder. In the event your passport is stolen, having a copy makes it much easier when notifying the embassy, and
Many countries will ask you for the address of your hotel or residence when entering the country – having this on hand makes going through airport security much easier than trying to find it on your phone at the desk!
Bringing a copy of medical information is particularly important for those with medical-related allergies, such as penicillin or plasters. Should you become unconscious at any point on your trip, having a copy of this and travel insurance on your person will prove helpful for medics and any travel companions trying to seek medical assistance for you.
Merino wool buff and/or pashmina: Whether the climate is unseasonably cold or you plan on exploring religious heritage sites, a plain extra layer is always handy, particularly for women. Buffs are extremely versatile and can be transformed into hats, scarves, even balaclavas. They take up little space, and with the merino wool fabric models, do not retain odours.
A pashmina scarf is travel’s biggest multitasker. Whether it is covering your head and shoulders when visiting temples, acting as a cover-up on the beach, a blanket or towel in desperate situations, or even as a shawl for fancy events, the pashmina is a lady traveller’s best friend on the road.
Canon 400D SLR camera with 18-200mm lens: It might be heavy, take up a lot of space and create a nagging neck pain by the end of the day, but a camera phone or digital camera simply won’t do when it comes to capturing memories of a trip. The lens in particular is a travel photographer’s dream, with the 18-200mm scope doing the work of up to three lens in one.
Kindle: Almost nothing can beat the reading experience of a hard copy of a novel….except the weight of carrying a dozen books on your back as you attempt to traverse hot, stuffy airports. Kindles are lightweight, have a long battery life and you are not limited to purchasing whatever selection is available in the small English-speaking section of the local bookstore.
Notebook and pen with inner folder: The essential tools of any travel writer, the humble notebook and pen can record all your memories, notes of your favourite places, even drawings of your favourite architecture. Try to look for a notebook that includes a mini folder inside it, to store all those pamphlets and business cards you want to keep from your trip. Moleskine do a good, rugged, and compact version, but for those wanting something that won’t break the bank, Paperchase do their own version. I always end up arriving home with a bag bulging with business cards, pamphlets and souvenirs from my favourite places to remember for future posts – my notebook definitely helps me organise all this!
Hand sanitizer: Sure, it might not smell great and you will potentially be tarred with the ‘tourist’ stereotype, but if you want to save yourself stomach illness or any other sickness hand sanitizer is an essential. Try to choose one that doesn’t require water, in case you plan on travelling to an area where it is scarce.
Packet of tissues: No matter where you are, chances are you will either catch a bug, be trapped in an unfurnished toilet cubicle, or even require kindling for a fire. Tissues solve all these issues, and more – just remember to pack them in a waterproof pouch! Which brings me to the last item….
Waterproof bags: Not only will these protect your items from getting soaked, but waterproof bags are also a handy way of organising your bag. Store toiletries in one colour, electronics in another, etc., and it will save you time when searching for items in your rucksack.
What is in your suitcase? Any handy tips? Leave them below!