- 1Generic travel essentials
- 1.1Practical Items
- 1.1.1Water Bottle
- 1.1.2Day Backpack
- 1.1.3Turkish Towel
- 1.1.4Washing Line
- 1.1.5Waterproof Pouch
- 1.1.6Tissue Purse Pack
- 1.1.7Travel Bottles
- 1.1.8Zip-Lock bags
- 1.2Travel Gadgets
- 1.2.1Multi-USB Charger
- 1.2.4Camera Tripod
- 1.2.5Memory Card
- 1.3Health items
- 1.3.1Mosquito Protection
- 1.3.2Hand Sanitiser
- 1.3.3Aloe Vera Gel
- 1.4Security Items
- 1.4.1TSA Approved Padlocks
- 1.4.2Theft-proof bag
- 1.4.4RFID blocking travel wallet
- 1.5Travel essentials for women
- 1.5.1Halo Pad
- 1.5.2Theft-proof bags
- 1.5.3Dry shampoo
- 1.5.4Diva Cup
- 1.5.5Travel Hair Straightener
If you’re anything like my kind of practical packer, when it comes to packing for holiday you’ve got all your items laid out ready to pack for weeks, if not months before a trip! But some of us prefer that last minute flurry of cramming in as much as they can, and that’s where a list of packing hacks can help!
I’m not going to run through all your clothing items, shoes and accessories. What I am going to do is give you a practical, ultimate packing list of tried and tested items that can save you time, money, space or heartache when you’re having a blast in far off places.
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Generic travel essentials
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a country where the water from the tap is safe to drink, this might not occur to you. For the citizens of many countries this isn’t a luxury afforded to them, and bottled water is a terrible environmental issue. The good news is you can invest in a refillable bottle that filters the water for you and makes it safe to drink. Try the LifeStraw, it saw me through Central America! The clip makes it practical and easy to attach to your bag for carrying.
If you’re planning on doing everything adventurous, such as a hike, or even just heading out for a day, you need something between your full bag and your handbag! I have a small, local brand backpack that was essential for my travels and served as my carry-on bag for flights. The Zomake pack has the added bonus of being one you can pack away in your main luggage when not in use.
A lot of travelers advocate for a microfibre towel traveling, but a Turkish Towel is an exceptional alternative. Made of light weight and quick drying cotton, a full size beach towel will roll to only a little bigger than a t-shirt. When you’re staying in lower cost hotels that either don’t provide or charge for a beach towel – this is all you need! This was great for me in both Belize and Cuba!
If you still aren’t sold on the idea you can find more information on microfibre towels here.
If you’re going to be traveling a while, especially with a backpack, anything that can help you reduce what you need to carry is a bonus. Pack a travel washing line so you can wash and hang clothes in your hotel rooms. My roommates always loved using mine on my Europe travels!
A waterproof pouch is an essential if you’re planning to go anywhere near water on your travels. It will comfortably take your phone, some cash and a room key, a must in Boracay so you can jump in the water at any time. Most available on the market triple seal and keep everything inside dry. In Belize I went snorkeling with it, and was able to take good quality video footage on my phone camera.
Tissue Purse Pack
If you’re like me, and buy a lot of your toiletry products in bulk, you can really save some weight and space by investing in a set of travel bottles so you only need to carry just what you need.
A few zip-lock bags are great to keep handy, whether its for keeping something dry, sealing in something that might leak, or for a few toiletries on the plane!
Along the same vein, a multi-USB charger is a life saver when you’re fighting for the single powerpoint in a dorm room, or need to charge multiple devices at once. The brand I use isn’t available internationally, but this product is well reviewed and comes with the added bonus of fittings for multiple countries.
Not only has the Cygnett Powerbank rescued me at many a music festival, but it is incredibly handy to carry for countries where you might not have reliable access to power supply, or long bus trips between destinations. It will charge any device via USB so you’re covered for your phone, camera, and kindle – just don’t forget the appropriate cord! A 10,000 mAh should do you a couple of smartphone charges, without adding a ridiculous amount of extra weight to your bag. I’ve had a couple of different ones and love Cygnett’s products.
I’ll admit I was late to the Kindle party but this is one that belongs in the arsenal of every traveling bookworm. My Kindle has well over 500 books stored in it, with a weight of less than one good sized book. If you’re the kind of traveler that likes to read in transit, or relax by a poolside with a book then get on board!
These days we’re all an amateur photographer, and the advancements in Smartphone technology means anyone can take a good snap on the go without lugging around heavy equipment. It is however, worth thinking about a tripod. This tripod is lightweight, flexible, and can be used for either your camera or smartphone.
There’s nothing worse than running out of memory on your card and having to clear out photos on the run just so you can take more. It’s handy to keep a spare Memory Card on hand. Check any specific requirements of your camera to make sure you get the right one.
Cameras are a pretty personal choice, but I’m a long-time fan of the Panasonic Lumix. You can’t get my older model now, but the latest Lumix has a whopping 60x zoom and is in the bridging camera line.
Mosquito borne disease is a very real threat in many countries of the world and not an issue you can afford to get complacent about. I don’t like using the heavy duty DEET sprays on my skin so I tried the Parakito bands as an alternative in Central America. Each wristband comes with two pellets which last 15 days. It didn’t seem to work against sandflies in Belize but I never got a mosquito bite!
Another must for the medical kit is hand sanitiser. Not something to worry about in the west perhaps but certainly in Central America and Cuba, soap was not a guaranteed sight in bathrooms. These little bottles are great for sticking in your bag or pockets.
Aloe Vera Gel
Every savvy traveler knows they should have basic medical supplies on them, and aloe vera gel is a must to include. No one sets out to get sunburned, but chances are at some point it’ll happen and it can really rain on your holiday! You can also check out my essential items for your travel medical kit.
TSA Approved Padlocks
Protect your suitcase and backpack with some TSA approved Padlocks. You would be amazed how you actually are able to secure backpack sections to protect valuables. I used these across my Central America trip.
Lets face it, many countries aren’t as safe as where we come from, and if someone really wants to rip us off they’ll find a way. But we can make it more difficult for them! Pacsafe have a great range of practical products with various anti-theft measures built in, such as RFID safe blocking materials to prevent microchip scanning, and lockable zips. This shoulder bag came virtually everywhere with me in Central America, and was versatile enough to serve as an evening bag too!
RFID blocking travel wallet
Airport experiences are much simpler when you have all the documentation you might need in one place. An RFID blocking travel wallet ensures the chip in your passport can’t be scanned for sinister purposes.
Remember, its always good practice to utilise safes provided rather than carry excess valuables around. Have multiple cards and ways to access funds, you may find it useful to have two wallets, one to leave in the safe and one to take out with just the cash you need.
Travel essentials for women
Minimise what you need to carry, and the chance of messy leaks through your bag, by packing a Halo Pad for your makeup. All you need to do is wet it and your makeup will wipe straight off. Clean the pad with soap and its ready to go again. I’m a recent convert to this and love it, I wish I’d had one on my Central America trip instead of having my bottle of makeup remover leak through my toiletries!
Another recommendation in the Pacsafe range, this style is bigger than the other and looks more like a handbag. This version saw me through my Europe adventures.
For that hidden element of security this pouch will attach to the bra and sit under your shirt. It’s the perfect size to stash your bank cards.
Not exactly a dinner conversation in polite circles but lets face it, we all have to deal with it. The Diva Cup is not only more sustainable and environmentally conscious, it’s also a lot more practical in regards to change frequencies and finding disposal options. Get used to it first though and remember you’ll need clean water for cleaning.
Travel Hair Straightener
We all like to go out looking nice sometimes, and life on the road doesn’t always go hand with this desire. A Travel Straightener doesn’t take up much space or weight in your bag and can be just what you need for those pre-dinner touch ups. Mine has come in really handy on multiple trips.
So there you have it! An ultimate packing list of the practical things that have or would have made my life easier on my travel adventures!