Since I’ve started travelling more and become such a, y’know #WANDERLUST kinda gal, I’ve come to realise some of the must have essentials you need to remember when you go on trips.
Travelling is all fun and games until you realise you’ve forgotten something MEGGA.
So, are you travelling abroad and don’t want to forget anything important? Whilst you can afford to overlook certain items, here are twelve essentials that you really don’t want to travel without.
Your passport is your most important travel essential (without it you won’t be able to leave the country!) and yet this is one of the most commonly forgotten items. To save the horror of turning up at the airport without your passport, make this the first item that you pack in your hand luggage.
If you haven’t got a passport, you’ll need to apply for one a couple months before you travel. It can take several weeks to get a passport approved and you’ll need to first get photos and signatures. Passports eventually expire (usually after ten years) – keep an eye on the expiry date and make sure to leave yourself a few weeks to get a replacement before travelling. Some countries won’t allow you to enter if you have less than six months left until your passport expires, so consider getting a replacement early.
Some countries may also not allow you to enter without applying for a visa. The cost of a visa depends on how long you plan to stay and whether you plan to work as you travel. Visas can usually be applied for online and you generally don’t need any paper proof as it will be digitally checked at passport control when entering the country (it’s still a good idea to print out a receipt just in case of a technical issue).
You don’t want to end up in a foreign country with no means of payment. You may be able to get away with bringing a bank card as many countries now have card readers in most shops, however you’ll end up paying a transfer fee every time. For this reason, it’s worth taking some cash out beforehand. Don’t wait until you get to the airport to convert your cash – you’ll often find better currency conversion prices elsewhere. Make sure to bring your card as a backup in case you end up overspending or lose your cash.
Travel insurance isn’t mandatory and you may never need it, but it’s always worth having just in case of an emergency. Most travel insurance providers will cover you if your flight gets cancelled, if your baggage gets lost and if you need medical assistance abroad. You should shop around to find the best cover for the best price. Make sure to print off paper documentation in case you need it.
On top of bringing documentation for your visa and travel insurance, it’s worth bringing documentation for any bookings you’ve made. Flight tickets are the most important documentation – whilst many airlines now allow you to do this digitally on your phone, it’s still worth having printed copies as a backup in case your phone isn’t working. You should also print off receipts for your accommodation, car hire/insurance (if necessary) and any tours or events you may have booked. Many people carry these in a travel wallet with their passport and money.
There could also be important medication that you need to take with you. If you’ve got a condition that requires regular doses, make sure to bring any medication that is required. If you’ve got allergies, similarly bring medication just in case whether it’s an inhaler or an EpiPen.
General medication could be useful to bring in a first aid kit – this could include painkillers and anti-diarrhoeal pills. Bandages and plasters meanwhile could be useful if you get a cut. There are travel first aid kits that you can buy with all these items in.
When it comes to vaccinating yourself against local diseases, make sure to organise any jabs several months in advance. Other medication may be taken orally such as tablets to stop you contracting malaria. A doctor will be able to advise you as to which medication you need depending on where you plan to visit.
Nowadays most people have their phone on them at all times – it’s unlikely you’ll get five minutes away from your house without realising you’ve forgotten your phone. That said, some people may reach the airport before realising that their phoneless. Nowadays, smartphones are more than a communication tool and they can be important for showing digital receipts, booking accommodation online and even making payments. Make sure that you’ve got your phone on you before leaving your home.
You should also make sure that you’ve brought chargers for any electronics you plan to bring. This is a commonly forgotten item that can cause a real panic once your devices start running out of battery. Whilst you may be able to buy a charger abroad, you may have to hunt for it and it will cost you extra money. Portable chargers can be useful for keeping your devices charged on the go (useful for a long haul flight or a long trek in the wilderness).
Some foreign countries may use different plug points to the ones you’re used to. As a result, you may not be able to plug your chargers into these plug points without a converter plug. You may struggle to find a converter plug whilst you’re abroad, so make sure to buy one before you jet off. You can usually find these plug converters for sale online.
You’ll need more than the clothing on your back when travelling. The type of clothing and the amount that you bring depends on how long you plan to travel and where you’re travelling to. In most cases, you should aim to pack light.
Many people forget to bring clothing for all weathers. Even if you’re heading to a sunny destination, there could be excursions into the mountains or periods at nightfall in which you’ll wish you had an extra layer for warmth. As for rain, you should expect this everywhere – a light waterproof jacket may be all you need.
Swimwear is always worth packing just in case you come across an opportunity to swim. You should also bring some shades to protect your eyes in the sun. You can buy all this abroad, but you could save money buying it back home.
You should also make sure that you’ve packed the right footwear. Pack boots if you’re going somewhere cold and flip-flops if you’re travelling somewhere hot. Aim to always have a spare pair so that if one pair breaks you won’t be walking around in broken shoes.
Toiletries aren’t as important as everything else on this list – you can usually buy a toothbrush or shampoo cheaply abroad if you forget to bring it. If you’re only bringing hand luggage, you may have no option but to do this as your flight may not permit liquids such as shampoo or deodorant or items like razors.
Items like tampons are a little more important and could be harder to source in certain countries so you may want to prioritise these. It could also be worth bringing some toilet paper as you never know when you’re going to stumble across a toilet without paper.
Let me know in the comments below if you can think of any other travel essentials.
These are all the main things on my packing and pre-holiday prep list…and should be on yours too!
Now we’ve got the essentials sorted, it’s time to enjoy your travel experience and make the most of it.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab your camera!