No matter how much planning you do, or how much stuff you take, there is always something you wish you had packed. Every trip is different and what you will want to bring will vary. I have a packing list I use to make sure I don’t forget any of the essentials (because spending an afternoon looking for contact solution is not how I like to use my time when I travel). The following is a list of non-essentials that I have discovered make my travels go more smoothly.
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My Favourite Travel Items
Re-Usable Water Bottle Save the environment and your pocketbook by packing your own water bottle. I like to use a traditional stainless steel bottle (you can pack some smaller items inside of it to save space), but the camel-sack style is a great way to save space in your luggage.
Journal When I’m travelling, I don’t always have the time to record my adventures in great detail. But having a journal means I can take some rough notes so I don’t forget the important events of each day. Whether you like to write a lot or a little, a journal will help preserve those memories that can be forgotten too easily. (I have a few journals for sale in my store too).
Unicorn I don’t like to check my bags when I fly, nor do I like to carry more than I need to, but sometimes you just have to take your giant, inflatable unicorn with you. It definitely adds magic to the adventure and is a great conversation starter. I don’t take it everywhere, but I miss it when I don’t.
Collapsible Bowl/Tupperware Laura and I have to be careful what we eat. That means we often cook are own meals. A collapsible bowl (with a lid is great) or Tupperware container means we can prep some healthy and safe foods to throw in our day packs. There’s nothing more annoying than not being able to enjoy your day due to hunger pangs. Just make sure you get something leak proof so you are not responsible for making the entire plane smell like old broccoli (true story).
Digital Media Having a great playlist, as well as a few movies or tv shows, is a necessity on my mobile device. Music grounds and calms me after a day of excitement. Having a show to watch while you wait for flights can help the time pass more enjoyably. Check out my list of Indie travel songs for some inspiration!
Headband & Elastics The beach destroys my hair! Being able to tie it up and throw a headband over the flyaways means I don’t have to look like I just dropped out of a tornado. As well, some days you are just too busy having fun to wash your hair. A headband can cover up the worst of it when you’re in a rush.
Protein Bars These have saved my life so many times and I would never travel without at least a handful of them in my bag. They fill your stomach quickly and you never know when an airline will forget your meal or you won’t be able to find somewhere to stop for lunch.
Moisturiser I have tried to convince myself in the past that sunscreen doubles as moisturiser because it’s a lotion. It really doesn’t. Even if you’re not doing the sand-and-sea thing, you will be amazed at how quickly your skin gets dry. I use a moisturising lotion almost every day when I travel.
Allergy Medicine There are a million things that can happen while you’re away – something gets in your eye, you make friends with a stray dog, mosquito bites and weird rashes… Allergy pills can help with most symptoms so your day isn’t spent in discomfort.
Duct Tape I usually pack this so I can assemble my hula hoop, but I always end up using it for other things as well. Make sure your liquids are sealed tightly, fix broken handles on bags, and even use it as padding when you get a blister. You don’t have to pack a whole roll – just wrap a few lengths around your water bottle or sunscreen bottle. Packing tape is a good option too.
Essential Oils There is definitely a little bit of hippie in me – maybe more than a little bit. I don’t believe essential oils will cure cancer or anything, but there are few that do work for smaller issues. Peppermint oil is something I use everyday to give myself an energy and mood boost. It also has a cooling effect if you’re visiting a hot destination. I created my own mosquito repellant that also works quite well. Lavender oil and chamomile help me chill out when I get too excited or stressed.
Instant Coffee If I had a choice, I would start every morning with a cup of tea. But sometimes you don’t have access to a kettle. Sometimes you don’t want to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. Sometimes you’re in the middle of the woods with no amenities at all. I don’t know how much coffee is in these sugary, instant mixes, but when I need an extra kick in the afternoon, the combination of caffeine and sugar does the trick for me. The great thing about these is you don’t need hot water. Just throw one or two into your water bottle, give it a good shake to mix things up, and you’re good to go.
What’s your favourite essential or non-essential travel item?
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