I sort of hate using ‘should’, especially when it comes to travel. If you read my
award-winning….okay not award-winning post about the ‘I should’s of travel’ you’ll know I actively discourage the travel snobbery that phrase encapsulates.
But you know, there are some things that will make your life easier when you are travelling which I want to cajole you to consider. It’s not an ‘essential packing list’ and isn’t prescriptive at all (you really do not need to buy a washing line or jumbo sized shampoo) but through trial and a lot of error I have come up with a few things I really rely on and always recommended.
These truly are things you, as a traveller, need whether you are going to a hot/cold country. Honest.
- Tablet/Smartphone/Laptop | This isn’t necessarily the top thing n everyone’s list, and I completely understand why people are reluctant to take expensive items with them to less secure places. But, I’m guessing you will want to use Facebook, email friends and family and maybe even keep a blog up to date? If so, think about taking a smartphone at the very least. Most places will have free WiFi so it will work out cheaper than internet cafes (which I exclusively used on my first solo trip away). Added bonus: e-Books.
- Padlock | I mean, this is a no-brainer. You will need one at some point and even if you never use it (unlikely) you won’t regret taking something so handy and small!
- Packing Cubes | Ah packing cubes. These simple, inexpensive fabric cubes are the single most useful thing you will ever invest in. Go for something with a breathable fabric with extra kudos for secret compartments/compression technology to minimise space. We bought our packing cubes from Muji.
- Sarong | So, you’re travelling to a cold climate and don’t need a sarong? Wrong, everyone needs a sarong. Even men….no, actually men don’t need one but if they want one that is totally metro-sexual and acceptable (although I would lose my s@@t if Oli wore one). A sarong is a triple threat at least; scarf/wrap (even in hot countries, overnight buses get seriously chilly), a beach towel AND a cover up (I wear mine as a maxi skirt and dress). Side note: just buy one when you get to your destination, it’s almost always cheaper.
- Leggings/Yoga Pants | I LOVE my leggings for temple visits, plane/bus or train rides and tend to over-pack if anything . My advice is to take at least one decent pair and maybe more if you have the space. I love these high-waisted, super soft leggings from ASOS.
- Sports bra | Okay this is clearly not a must have for men, I really should put a disclaimer on this post. Even if you aren’t planning on doing any serious exercise whilst travelling, a sports bra will be such a blessing on long journeys where you’ll be unable to change into your onesie. I just take a cheap Primark sports bra which isn’t super structured but offers so much comfort its unreal.
- Ear Plugs | Some people take the full sleeping package including an eye mask and neck pillow but, in truth, ear plugs are the most important item in the sleep-well holy trinity.
- SPF | If I have to explain why this is a must have to you, then you are a silly billy. Probably sporting leathery skin. It’s particularly important to stock up on your faves if you are heading to Asia as SPF products are much more limited and expensive out there. My faves are P20 (it’s a once-a-day scenario making it space and money efficient), Soltan for their superior protection, great range of product and value for money and……Hawaiian Tropic because, well, it smells like holiday.
- Mosquito Repellent | I actually rarely wear repellant, but I know people who really can’t cope without it so I have found a great natural alternative range from Incognito which includes shampoo and body wash!
- An outfit that makes you feel happy | I know this seems frivolous and you know what? You may not need something materialistic to perk you up on down days, but I do and if I do that means that someone else out there does also. I like to take this gorgeous vintage skirt I found in Northern Thailand that always makes me feel happy.
What are your essential items for travelling? And because I’m nosy, what would your happy outfit/item be? Go on, humour me.