Travelers know the basics of what to pack every time they go away. Yet at times, there are circumstances where they might need or wish that they had a certain item on them that probably ended up being overlooked. Here are eight items to include on your next packing list that can come in handy when you least expect it.
Do you have those moments when you need to jot something down? This humble writing instrument can be hard to find when you need it most - particularly when filling out immigration/customs forms. Flight attendants may not have any spare pens to go around, so you might have to ask your seat neighbor to save you from this dilemma. You could place a bunch of regular ballpoints inside your purse, backpack or other form of luggage. Just make sure you can get to them quickly.
Unless you’re a very sound sleeper, chances are that sleeping on flights or in hotel rooms can be a challenge at times. Outside distractions are sadly out of our control, but not if you bring a pair of earplugs. Some models are a bit softer on the ear to wear and seemingly fit better. If in dire straights, your ear bud headphones can make for a secondary yet reasonable substitute.
Sometimes a traveler just wants to freshen up a bit or needs to dab an eye, rub a nose, or wipe a hand. Carrying a small packet of tissues or wipes does the trick. Another big reason to carry a packet is for the situation you least expect, like public washrooms. Whether the WCs are in major cities or rural areas, the chance that your stall will lack TP is something to keep in mind (speaking from experience, of course).
True, true, any traveler wants to watch the weight load, but having an extra sack or plastic bag comes in handy for multiple uses (think laundry bag). They’re also good and easy tools to use to keep your things protected. Insert that delicate or breakable item bought from a marketplace inside. Or if there’s a liquid item that can break, put in it there to prevent spillage or possible spreading to other belongings. And if clothing gets wet, there’s a place to keep them separate from dry ones.
Scrapes, cuts, bruises, aches, and pains can happen, so it’s best to be equipped with a portable first-aid kit filled with common household medical supplies. Think bandages, packets of ointments, antiseptics, and over the counter medicines like ibuprofen, antihistamines, or stomach relievers. You’ll be able to attend to your or someone else’s needs ASAP and save the trip to and expense of finding a nearby pharmacy.
Even the most experienced traveler has had to do sink laundry. To provide the suds, there are various travel-friendly cleaning products for clothing like sealed, single-use detergents. Various brands either come in liquid or powder form, as sheets, or even as bars of soap. For those concerned about chemicals, look for eco-friendly brands or types specifically made for sensitive skin. Also consider getting a sink plug if you think your clothing might have to be soaked for a while.
Buying bottled water can add up in cost, not to mention waste. Getting a refillable water bottle enables travelers to fill up on water in places where the tap is fine to drink from or in specially designated spots. Plus the bottle can be emptied out where needed – like before entering airport security checkpoints – and then refilled later. Consider getting one with a built-in filtering system, in case you visit areas where the water conditions are questionable.
Cellphones function as our camera, computer, navigation system, resource guide, and calendar. When the batteries run low, the urge to find an outlet could make your heart race. If you think you seriously need to recharge while you’re out, get a small battery that can fit easily in your bag and be pulled out for use as needed. Just remember to recharge it after a day’s work.
What other necessities would you add to this list?
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As a kid flipping through the pages of National Geographic magazines, Michele Herrmann became hooked on learning about new places and cultures. As an adult, she's turned her love for writing and passion for travel into a career that's been full of adventure and surprises. Her work has appeared on Yahoo Travel, The Lost Girls, The Points Guy, ShermansTravel, Epicure & Culture, and Budget Travel. She also posts about travel from her own perspective on her blog, She Is Going Places. Follow Michele on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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