After being on the road for so long, packing has become a rather effortless task for me. I’ve been packing the same items over and over again for the past two years, and I feel like I can pack for a long trip in my sleep. However, packing wasn’t always that seamless for me. I was packing everything I thought I needed like phone chargers and headphones. But, I was missing other crucial items that slipped my mind. I was reading several packing lists and they all pretty much said to pack the same things. After my first 2+ week international trip, I realized that I needed to pack more than just comfy clothes and sunscreen. I don’t want you to have to go through that so here’s a list of some not so obvious items that you shouldn’t travel without no matter where you’re going.
I don’t care if I’m going to the desert. I’m still bringing a jacket with me. You never know when you’ll need one. If you’re hiking through a forest, a lightweight jacket is a good way to protect your arms from any thorns. It’ll also be your best friend if you’re going somewhere during monsoon season. I tend to freeze on flights so my jacket comes in real handy in that instance. A few months ago, we took a bus from Bariloche to Mendoza in Argentina. It was an eighteen-hour bus ride and it was freezing cold the entire time. A few people teased me for carrying around a jacket when it was hot outside, but the joke’s on them. They were shivering the entire time while I was nice and cozy.
2. Hand Sanitizer
Raise your hand if you’re a germophobe. Traveling has totally turned me into one. Germs are literally everywhere – airports, taxis and more. I can’t even tell you many times hand sanitizer has saved my life. When we were in Kazakhstan, we had to make an emergency stop at a restroom on the side of a road. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Think of a porta-potty, but fifty times worse… if that’s even possible. This little stall had nothing to wash my hands with. Also, I’ve been on several flights where there was no soap to wash my hands with. Ew. Good thing I had my bottle of hand sanitizer to bathe my hands in. Keep it in your purse or pocket and don’t be afraid to use it often.
Power outages are pretty common depending on what part of the world you’re traveling to. Power outages happened on the daily when I went to India about twelve years ago. I honestly thought my parents were a little crazy for bringing flashlights with them, but it made total sense. It’s a great way to guide you down the stairways or hallway when the power goes out. We desperately needed a flashlight every evening on our safari in Maasai Mara. Our tent was far away from the dining area and we had to wait for an escort with a flashlight to take us back. His flashlight was pretty dim and it was honestly no different than me just walking in the complete dark. I could’ve gotten eaten by a cheetah. But really though… a flashlight would have been really helpful.
4. Mini First Aid Kit
I’m not a huge proponent of buying a ready-made first aid kit. I’ve never used half of the items that come with it. Rather, make your own first aid kit. Throw in a few band-aids and cleansing wipes for wounds. Also, pack some antihistamines in case you have an allergic reaction to something. I always pack antiseptic cream, ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, and cold medicine.