I don’t think there’s a standard list of travel essentials for everyone to follow. “Smart packing” is relative–what’s essential for me may not be for you. Every one has their own luggages to fill with items that reflect their personality. I guess that’s one of the factors that make each traveler special.
I am not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t pack. Instead, I am going to invite you inside my luggage and let you see my travel must-haves and share why it’s important for me and why it could be important for you too!
Side note: I’m a heavy packer. Not that I don’t want to pack light but that is an art that I have yet to learn.
Some of my essentials take up a lot of space and I usually pack more clothes than I should in case of emergencies. There is a phrase in Filipino that says “Dibale nang sobra, huwag lang kulang” which translates to “it’s better to have an excess of something than to not have enough.” You’ll be away from home for a while and you’re never certain of the events that will transpire during your trip. Pack whatever you need to pack and whatever you feel that you might need just in case. Better be safe and ready than sorry!
Though at times I may not make use of some of my travel essentials for the entire trip, I still feel it is important to have it tucked inside my luggage nonetheless. What a big relief it will be once the moment calls for the need–self-hugs will then be in order! So without further ado, here are my five travel essentials:
1. A BOOK. Any book.
You may have all the gadgets in the world to keep you distracted especially during the waiting game at the airport but you won’t always be lucky enough to have a socket nearby to charge your phones, tablets, or laptops unless you have a portable charger with you. Save the battery power for your trip! You know you’re going to need that more for documentation, phone calls and texts, social networking updates, etc. DURING your trip, not BEFORE your trip.
Bring a book and read. If you don’t read books, grab a magazine or a newspaper. If you don’t read at all, well, “people watching” is also fun but make sure you don’t pass off as a creep! The point is, go find another distraction and use that to kill the waiting time.
My favorite distraction is a good ol’ book. This is my airport must-have.
I’ve fallen victim too many times of low battery warnings mid-day during trips and it’s always frustrating when that happens. I decided to just use my airport time to catch up on reading. I buy books more often than I read (my best vice) so I do have a lot of catching up to do and piles of waiting-to-be-read books!
Though I always carry with me a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol for cleanliness sake, that’s not the alcohol I’m referring to–but that’s also important!
Liquor, to be exact. I only carry a bottle of liquor with me when I travel with friends and my reason can be summed up in one word: PRE-GAME.
Liquor prices in bars are EXPENSIVE. One shot of scotch is roughly around 1/4 of the bottle’s price when you buy it in a local liquor store, the grocery, or even Duty-Free. If you’re traveling on a budget and you still want to experience the night life with your friends, pre-game in your hotel room with your poison of choice, share the bottle with your friends, and start warming up! That way, you won’t end up spending that much (or at all) on drinks when you start painting the town red!
3. GOPRO Camera
This is my most used travel essential. I started making travel films this year and GoPro has been with me in most of my 2013 trips to document everything. This baby now has its own shrine in my room!
What I love about this camera is its portability and its HD quality. Though admittedly, I still do miss the feel and the features of an SLR sometimes, GoPro makes it up with its deep focus lens which is just perfect for shooting beautiful sceneries–it captures every single detail in wide shot, medium shot, or narrow shot.
I’ve traveled using an SLR before and it did give me beautiful images and great footage but at the expense of a sore back and shoulders at the end of each day! It’s heavy, bulky, and it’s not fun to walk around for hours carrying an SLR—truth.
SLRs, hands down, will give you better images and videos because you have full control of your camera’s settings to capture the exact image you want. GoPro’s settings is pretty much set but I still get pretty good shots–most of them, I love! With its portability and quality, GoPro is the perfect travel camera for me!
The weather is unpredictable. Sometimes the weather forecast will promise you a sunny day only for you to end up soaked in rain. Sometimes sunny days are too intense, you might as well fry yourself on the pavement. And sometimes, the weather’s just perfect for exploring. In any case, except for the last, an umbrella will definitely come in handy–rain or intense shine.
When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, I left my umbrella in the room since the weather seemed fine. Just a few blocks away, heavy rain started to pour! Not only were we stranded but we were also drenched–and our day just started! Waste of time + waste of clothes (and this is where extra clothes come in handy!).
Heat, on the other hand, can sometimes feel like it’s frying you up! I’m sure you already know how UV rays are harmful to your skin that’s why it is also important to use sunblock every day but don’t let skin protection stop there! When heat becomes too intense, shadows become our best friend and umbrellas become very useful once again!
This is my most important travel essential. NEVER forget to bring different medicines for common illnesses whether for colds, cough, body pains, fever, or just a really bad hangover.
You are not immune to illnesses when you travel and you need to be able to take care of yourself all the time especially since you are far away from the comforts of your home. Learn about self-medication (how many times a day & for how many days should you take the meds and what is the right medicine to take) and cure yourself unless it comes to a point where you need to seek medical attention already, then by all means, please go see a doctor.
Here are the medicines I pack:
Neozep (Phenylephrine HCI Paracetamol) = For colds
Solmux (Carbocisteine) = For cough
Biogesic (Paracetamol) = For headaches
Berroca = vitamins (and it also helps cure hangovers, I promise.)
Bring more than enough medicines for your trip and stay safe and well!
Happy Travels! xx
What is your special touch in your luggage?