I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– I LOVE PACKING! It’s so therapeutic and it get’s me so excited for wherever I’m going. Upon return, it takes weeks to fully unpack. However, there are always certain items to always keep packed and ready in your bag.
1. Padlocks / bag locks
Padlocks are essential, whether you’re staying in a hostel or hotel–it’s always good to be able to lock your valuables up in your bag or in a locker.
2. Digital bag scale
It’s always good to have an idea of what your bag weighs, especially when flying. Most airlines have limits on how much baggage you’re allowed–typically 10kg for cabin bags and 20-25kg for checked bags. They come pretty compact and always fits perfectly hidden away in my backpack!
3. Plane headphones (plus a backpack)
I’ve definitely boarded flights with IFE with only my Apple lightning connector headphones or my bluetooth headphones (that don’t have a cord). I learned to keep a pair of AUX cord headphones stashed in my bag so I never have to suffer without on whatever mode of transport I’m on.
4. Eyemask and earplugs
Whether they’ll get used on a train, bus, plane, or hostel room, I always always ALWAYS have my eyemask (plus a backup) and earplugs handy. It’s super difficult for me to sleep sometimes, so these are lifesavers for every single trip.
5. First aid kit / Emergency Medications
As an anxious and adventurous traveler, having a small first aid kit stowed away in my backpack is very important for me, so it’s nice to have one ready for every trip. It typically includes a dozen or so bandages, an Ace bandage, Ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Small and packable, it doesn’t take up any space or brain power to remember.
6. Wipes (Clorox, face, flushable)
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I still carried packs of Clorox wipes in my bag at ALL times. As soon as I board my flight, bus, or train, everything in my vicinity is wiped down. These surfaces are not sanitized regularly, so they’re some of the dirtiest places you’ll come into contact with. I always recommend having a travel sized pack permanently sitting in my backpack.
7. Universal adapter
To minimize the chance of losing small individual adapters, it’s SO much more convenient to have a brick with all of the plug options built into it stowed in your luggage at all times. That way you don’t have to stress about digging for your adapters in the tech drawer we ALL know we have.
8. Spare Phone charger
We’ve all forgotten a charger before and had to fork over $10+ for a replacement cord at a gas station, airport, or train station. I’ve learned to ALWAYS have a pair hanging out in your luggage so you can avoid the extortionate prices while you’re a captive customer.
9. SPF chapstick
Daily SPF is important, for sure. But personally, SPF chapstick is even MORE important. My lips are incredibly sensitive to sunlight, so I keep 2-3 SPF chapsticks in my bag at all times because I continuously manage to forget to pack them.
10. Rain cover
This especially goes for those who travel with soft bags. Whether your bag ends up sitting on a luggage cart in the rain while being loaded into your plane/bus or you’re on a speedboat heading to a new island destination, it’s worth it to have a rain cover to keep your bag dry. You can usually get super packable covers that you can attch to the outside or inside of your bag, so you’ll never forget it.
11. Pen (plus a backup)
Whether it’s for border control slips, health checks, or literally anything else, it’s ALWAYS great to have a pen packed so you don’t have to rely on your neighbor or flight attendant to borrow one.