So I’ve been trekking the globe for many years now and someone asked me the other day what are my absolute travel essentials. Well it’s an excellent question – so here are MY suggestions for what I would never do without when away. – Ned
Copies of All Travel Documents
Picture this: You’re having the time of your life in a far-off land, maybe so much fun that you notice your purse or wallet is no longer in your possession until it’s too late. It’s gone – and with it your cash, credit cards, and most alarmingly, your passport.
Before you leave, make sure to have a readily available good quality copy, whether a photocopy in your suitcase, a scanned version on your phone or in your email account, or a copy left with a trusted loved one back home who can email it to you in a pinch; preferably all three! This will make for a speedier replacement of your travel documents at the local embassy or consulate office.
Contact Info for Credit Cards
Keep a running tab of the credit cards in your wallet, plus the various customer service numbers in case your cards are lost or stolen and you need to freeze transactions. The cash in your wallet may be long gone, but at least you won’t have to finance a thief’s credit-card shopping spree.
First Aid Kit
You never know when you’re going to need a first aid kit in a hurry. For example, a friend went horseback riding on the beach in Nicaragua, totally unaware that she had developed a severe (but thankfully, non-deadly) allergy to horses. Within minutes, she was covered in a rash, her throat had tightened, and her eyes were so inflamed that her contact lenses came out. Moral of the story: be prepared for most emergencies with an epi pen, anti-emetics, antihistamines, analgesics, antibacterial cream, a single-use ice pack, sterile bandage and any other first aid kit basics you think might be useful.
Lightweight Waterproof Jacket
OK so I’m not talking wetsuits here but few things are worse than being uncomfortably cold and damp. Be ready for those cool rainy days by packing a foldable jacket that’s guaranteed waterproof. With today’s advanced textiles, thin layers provide maximum warmth. Look for lightweight space-saving pieces that fold into their own pockets or pouches.
Sturdy Walking Shoes
Some would say the trekker’s most important piece of equipment, strong waterproof comfortable footwear is ESSENTIAL people! There’s nothing worse than missing all those new sights, sounds and smells because you’re concentrating on corns or a weeping blister. And you don’t want to have to break into that first aid kit if you really don’t have to.
A plastic bag is an indispensable item for the smart traveller. Pack a few and use them to separate dirty from clean clothes in your suitcase, to take to the farmers’ market, or for soiled items. Also essential for keeping passport/travel docs dry if you’re passing by Niagara Falls. Depending on your budget, you can invest in heavy-duty vacuum or compression bags, or simply pick up a box of freezer bags (not just regular zip-top bags) or thick bin bags for just a few bucks.
Every parent knows not to leave home without them. From refreshing your dirty hands to wiping the fold-down tray on the plane, wipes are another must-pack travel item—and one that is readily available at the supermarket, pharmacy or even small local shack. Get some at the airport if you forgot before you left. Quality and pricing runs the gamut, but it’s easy to find good quality wipes at a decent price.
Universal Travel Adapter
Socket configurations vary region-to-region, so this is another essential. Choose a well-designed all-in-one unit, and make sure it includes a transformer or you could blow out your gadgets by using an incompatible voltage.
No, honest. Notoriously versatile, this sticky, multipurpose adhesive has secured objects and helped people out of a jam since its invention during World War II to keep ammunition dry. And while it won’t help you if you forget something like your solar power kit, it’s the go-to repair tool. The best use I ever put duct tape to was opening a particularly recalcitrant jar of olives!