Have you ever been on a trip and shoved as much into your bag as you possibly can to the point where you find yourself praying to the luggage gods to “please, please let it be under my 21kg weight-limit”? A lot of travellers will find themselves in situations where they seem to have a big pile of stuff but lack the things they need most…I know I have faced situations where I’ve looked through my bag and thought to myself “why did I pack that?” and “oh my god why didn’t I pack that!”.
There will always be something you’ll wish you had taken it’ll just one of those things. But hopefully for the most part you’ll have everything you need and if you start with this list you’ll be on your way to a fantastic trip…
1. Underpants / Briefs: Enough underpants for at least a week. If you get stuck without a washing machine for a longer period of time than you had anticipated you can always just wear whichever clothes smell least funky. This is less possible with underpants, they are my number 1 non reusable travel item…although you may meet some people who like to joke they can get 4 uses out of their underpants, front, back inside out rightside in, I find this relatively disturbing. Personal hygiene should be compulsory not optional.
2. Travel Scales. Paying for extra weight at check in is not fun. Especially if you are planning on buying extra souvenirs along your travels. Some portable scales won’t set you back much but could save you a lot at bag drop.
3. Mini first aid kit. Chances are at some point you will require some kind of medical intervention for example you may eat something dodgy and get food poisoning, you might catch a cold or your finger in a suitcase zipper. Having the basics in a first aid kit is a good idea, I have needed all of these products at some stage of travel. What to pack…antihistamines, paracetamol/ibuprofen, bandaids, anti diarrhea, rehydration packets, needle and thread, antiseptic hand gel, baby wipes, cold/flu tablets. And any medications you take regularly.
4. Good worn in shoes. As a traveler you will do a ridiculous amount of walking, way more than you normally would at home, unless of course you’re a gym junkie or walk for a living. New shoes which your feet aren’t yet used to can cause blisters and pain especially when it comes to hiking boots or trail runners. So make sure you’ve had a good ten or so hours of walking in your shoes before your trip. A good idea on the shoe front is to also take a pair of flip flops (thongs/jandles) with you. They come in handy for casual walks, the beach, showers if communal and also as slippers at night.
5. World Travel Adapter Kit. Nobody can do without their electronics these days and if you needed a different converter to charge batteries on each continent you’d be carrying around a lot of unnecessary extra weight and occupying valuable space in your bag. The best thing to do is get yourself a universal converter which will provide attachments for everywhere in the world. Having one converter makes life simpler and easier.
6. Dirty clothes bag. Trust me you will be needing one of these especially if you’re in a situation where frequent washing is not a possibility. Keeping dirty clothes separated from clean ones is one way of expanding the weekly cycle of washing, as your clean clothes will stay fresh and your bag won’t accumulate into something smelling similar to an old sweaty boot.
7. Swiss Army Pocket Knife. Be sure to get one that has a corkscrew! Very handy especially in Europe. The amount of times we had a bottle of wine but no corkscrew, it was painful. The knife also comes in handy for things like cutting up food like lunch on a train, opening things in child proof wrapping such as your universal converter and countless other things you wouldn’t think about, especially when camping.
8. Waterproof Ran Jacket/Coat. Unless you are going to the Sahara (funny story.. when we visited the Sahara back in 2017 it did actually rain, so see you should always have a waterproof!) I would recommend some kind of water/windproof jacket. Being wet and having to carry on is not a fun time. Stay dry, get a jacket.
9. Snacks and a bottle of water. One of the things that happens to us constantly is that we book a long bus or a train and at the time we’re not hungry and about 3 hours into travelling we wish we had brought something to eat and drink! Remember don’t get hangry, get snacks instead!
10. Eye mask and earplugs. If you plan on spending any time at all in hostels, buses, trains or planes and want to get some shut eye at some point these are a must. The last thing you want when you’re sore and tired from traveling is having someone or something wake you up when you’re trying to get some sleep.
The golden rule of packing really is less is more. If you lay out everything you think you need and then halve it you should be pretty on the money. You won’t need 10 different kinds of shirts and more than one pair of jeans is overkill when you’re trying to pack light. If you’re going to a hot destination pack thin light material clothing, you can wash quite frequently because your clothes will dry quickly. If going to a cold climate remember to pack layers but you will only need one good coat/jacket.
And just remember wherever you are in the world there will more than likely be somewhere you can buy anything you’ve forgotten, so don’t stress.
Have fun packing for your next adventure guys!