Ready to pack your bags and go satisfy your wanderlust? Be sure to have this list checked first. We’ve put together the most essential traveling gear checklist for any trip.
There are going to be a million situations where you will say to yourself, I wish I had brought that… however, for sake of space and sanity, we have whittled the list down to 10 (and a few more), and here they are:
The smartphone has become the number one essential thing for almost everything. Staying in touch, finding your way around with GPS, listening to music, looking for places to visit, eating out, going to the movie theater, and documenting everything you do with now 4k capable cameras, it can be your greatest tool when you travel.
If you are planning an international trip, an unlocked smartphone can be the cheapest way to keep yourself online. Instead of handing over a considerable amount of money for roaming services abroad, you could just buy a local carrier GSM chip, a pre-paid card, and you are set. Make sure your phone has a reasonable battery capacity as well.
A Good Carry-On
Chosen the right way, a carry-on can be the only luggage you need when traveling, whether it be for a weekend get-away or even a full-fledged overseas tour. Most packs these days have plenty of features—increased capacity, tech bags and zippers, dedicated tech compartments, even speakers.
But here’s the secret to selecting a good carry-on: The wheels.
Look for a bag that has kind of skateboard-like wheels, ones that look well-built, rugged, and ready to sustain damage. Remember: it can have all the gadgets you want, but if the wheels are out… the carry-on is as good as dead.
A Toiletry Kit
A toiletry kit can be your best friend when on the road, especially on extended trips. Look for kits that are rugged and compact, but have good holding capacity. Kits that come with a hanger can come in handy when taking showers or using the sink.
What should you carry in these? We could write a separate article on it, but make sure you pack some general purpose medicine, dental hygiene products, and even sun block and repellant.
Tip: It’s preferable to use hotel issued shampoos than carrying those around!
A Good Day-Pack
You will need a good, squeeze-in small size pack. This way you pack only the things you need to go out for day trips where you need the essential—like some clothing, water bottles, camera or tablet, sunscreen, towels, etc.
A Utility Knife
Utility knives are life savers, given the right opportunity. Things like cutting and filing your nails, opening sealed bags, getting rid of wine corks, screwing and unscrewing… well just about anything. It makes everything that much easier. Just be sure not to pack it in the carry-on at the airport, it will surely be confiscated.
A USB Charger / Portable Battery
The smartphone won’t be any good if it’s dead right? Sometimes, carrying a portable battery can be a total life saver when you’re on the run. There are portable batteries that can even supply for various devices at once and even double as flashlights. Make sure you carry it fully loaded before sailing out!
Plastic Bags (Ziploc)
They might not appear like something essential, but they can make all the difference with a lot of things. They can keep all of your luggage tidy and sorted the way you want, keep wet or dirty clothing separate from your clean ones, and they can keep food fresh, longer (duh!).
Tip for the budget minded traveler: the normal grocery store bags can double as a substitute, as well.
If it’s a long trip, you are going to want one of these. They can be the difference between waking up refreshed and ready to embrace and enjoy a new experience in your new destination, or waking up to massive neck pain and losing a day just recovering from that long plane or boat trip.
There are many colors and flavors of travel blankets on the market, but just finding a sturdy, cozy, squishable blanket that can fit anywhere should be your main goal. Believe us, having to survive a cold night without one of these is a terrible experience. A sarong might be a good substitute if you are going to the tropics.
Just imagine going to the lake or beach and realize you forgot to bring a towel. Or motel management ran out of their own towels. It can come in really handy to have one of these around.
A few items that just missed the top travel gear list:
Flip-Flops / Sandals
If you are going to a beach setting, a pair of comfortable, portable, sturdy flip-flops or sandals are a must. They’ll save you from scorching sand, getting your feet wet in the wrong places, and be more comfortable all around after a hike or a long day out.
They are not essential if you are planning to go to cold destinations.
It can be your best and worst friend for a number of reasons, but we’ll keep it short. The best reason to have a money belt—it keeps all your money and documents in one place. The worst reason—it keeps all your money and documents in one place.
Travel jackets can make your life so much easier, especially at the airport and on long travels when you need to have all of your essentials at hand. Just be sure to remember where you stash everything, and know they don’t work well if you are traveling to a hot and humid destination.
Tip for the budget minded: Sewing yourself pockets into a normal jacket can do the trick, as well.
If you are not the light-travel kind of guy or gal, or you’re the one that loves to bring gifts and souvenirs for everyone when you head back, you need this.
Portable scales function as a hook, that measures in a single pull the exact weight of your luggage. It can come in handy when you don’t have a normal scale at hand. Plus, they are much more convenient and accurate to use.