Every backpacker has those 10 travel essentials he or she can’t go without. And after hearing the question “What shouldn’t I forget to take with on my trip?” from many friends, I thought it was about time to share my 10 travel essentials. No matter where I go, a weekendtrip or a 4 month trip, these are the 10 essentials I will not leave without!
My 10 travel essentials
My absolute must have, a travel towel, especially if you are traveling on a budget. While nowadays most hostels will give you a towel to use, it is not a given, and it might be they either don’t have towels or you have to pay for them. And well, showers are kind of a daily necessity, so is that towel. Normal towels, however, take up a tremendous amount of space and weight. So switch up those normal towels for a set of travel towels: 1 for the shower, 1 for the beach/pool. With towels having stolen in the past in hostel dorms, I always buy bright colors that stand out a bit more, and my towels have not been stolen (yet). Make sure to wash your towels a couple of times before heading on your trip, they will work a lot better!
I am not going to deny it, we live in a world where most of us have gone quite dependent on there phones. And I got to admit, phones are really useful for traveling. Download yourself some offline maps, spotify for some music, and some games to kills those 12 hour busrides. Our phones though… not made for all that activity. Besides that, I don’t know how many times I have been in a hostel where there were 2 plugs for 10 people, and you do want to charge that phone to update your Facebook, contact your friends or post that amazing picture to Instagram. So, travel essential number 2, pack a battery pack. I got myself a 26000 mAh battery pack, enough to charge my phone 10 times, or charge my iPad or ereader! This model comes with a build in flashlight and four ports, which makes it easy to share it with your friends when needed.
If you have slept in a hostel before you probably already know the necessity of this product, earplugs… If you have never used them before: they will become your new best friend on the road. Sleeping in a 10 bed dorm guarantees a drunk person, a snoring person, someone who packs everything in plastic bags or well anyone that just makes noise. So if you want some good night sleep before getting up early the next day and exploring those waterfalls, get yourself some earplugs. And no not one pair, I would take 5. I always loose them, and well since you put them in your ear they can get a bit dirty from time to time.
Reusable Water Bottle
Traveling means that we want to see the world and its beautiful wonders as how it currently is. And if you love traveling you must agree you don’t want to see that beautiful nature go to waste. So how about bringing a reusable water bottle instead of buying new water bottles continuously? While not all hostels will give you the option of clean and filtered water, surprisingly enough many do! I came across hostels in Malaysia, India and Iran who had water filter systems, allowing you to save some money, and save the nature. I currently use a Dutch Dopper. The main reason it gained its popularity in the Netherlands is that it is sturdy, BPA free, produced with a zero carbon footprint and the charity actually donates 5% of their sales profit to provide clean and safe drinking water around the world! Oh and… they come in many colors.
Padlock with combination
Going to stay in hostels? Bring a padlock to safely lock up your stuff! Almost every hostel will provide you with a locker, but it’s rare they will provide you with a lock. And while they often sell them, they might not be of the best quality. So be prepared, and bring yourself a padlock…. or perhaps even two (I can’t remember how many I have lost in the last 4 years). Oh and save yourself some trouble and buy a padlock with a combination, so you don’t have any keys you can loose. Be sure to set the combination to something unique, for example not your birthday or birth year, it only takes a Facebook search to find those out, to keep all your stuff safe. I currently use TSA approved locks, okay lock, I already lost two again in the last 6 months.
No, not a knife to get violent, and number six on the travel essentials. I am talking about a knife for practicality; honestly mostly just to eat some fruits and open packages. If you are traveling to tropical destinations I would especially recommend to bring a knife. In India for example they often wet cut fruit with tap water, or even river water, to make it look shiny and fresh again. However, for us that means a massive stomach ache and a couple of days on the toilet. So be smart and pack a small pocket knife, instead of buying cut fruit just buy a whole mango, pineapple, dragon fruit etc. and cut it up yourself. I currently use a Papagayo knife from Baladeo. Not the greatest quality, but very practical, and has been with me on several trips and has done its job very well!
World Travel Adapter
If you have never traveled abroad before you might have not thought about this yet, but trust me you’ll need this. One of the most important travel essentials out there: a world travel adapter. So instead of buying 6 separate ones for every destination, why don’t you just buy one suitable for every country? I currently use the Insten Universal, which is compact and so convenient. It even comes with two USB ports, one for iPhone and for Android. Don’t ever be without power anymore with this handy travel adapter!
Yes, you might laugh when you read this at first, but you don’t know how many times this came in handy. Refresh yourself after a long flight with a wet wipe. Or perhaps there is no water present to wash your hands after the toilet, or no water present to wash your hands before dinner? Use some wet wipes to clean yourself up. While these are not typically necessary if you are planning to backpack around the Western world, they came in very handy during my adventures in India and South East Asia.
But I am not going to camp! Well… even if you don’t go camping it is a travel essential. Hostel life means you will enter dorms in the dark, long bus rides without lights over your head, and perhaps even a volcano climbing adventure. I personally prefer to buy a headlamp over a flashlight since this allows me to keep my hands free while looking through my backpack, or read my book in the bus at night when I can’t sleep!
The money belt is one of those travel essentials that has a lot of discussion. It goes from “it is ridiculous” to “I can’t go without it”, and I agree with the latter one. I mean loosing my passport on the road would be the worst thing happening, you don’t want to be stuck at an embassy or consulate waiting for a new one. So better safe than sorry right? I am not wearing it 24/7, mainly on long bus rides or trains and planes when I want to sleep. Then at least I know my creditcards and passport are safe on me. I currently use the Pacsafe coversafe, which I am very happy with and could highly recommend.
My Travel Essentials
So there you go, my full list of travel essentials! From water bottles to knifes and money belts, these essentials are with me on every trip and have never disappointed me! How about you, do you have any travel essentials I haven’t listed but you wouldn’t leave the country without? If yes, leave them in the comments below!
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