You never know what you forgot to bring till you’re stuck in Prague without your bank information after you get your wallet stolen by a pickpocket, or you trip and break a leg to find that you don’t have a phone to call for help. To help you figure out what it is you’re forgetting, or to give you ideas about things you didn’t even think of bringing, here are some important travel items that I’ve found myself short of.
This one looks strange to anyone who hasn’t actually run out of socks while traveling. Really it extends to other laundry as well, but socks smell, so they get the bolded line. Doing laundry on your trip is a chore better avoided. For a long term trip this is unavoidable, but carrying a week’s worth of clothes isn’t too ridiculous. There is nothing quite as dissatisfying as getting up in the morning in the middle of your grand tour of Europe to find that you have no socks to put on but the reeking crusty filth of the previous day.
You never realize how much your nails grow until you find yourself with no tools to trim them with. Besides what if you get a nasty hangnail? No one forgets their toothbrush, but other personal grooming equipment can be forgotten when you’re too busy worrying about having your passport and visa sorted out before your trip.
Before traveling we always focus on the adventure, the excitement. We never stop to think that we’re going to be sitting in a seat for 20 hours when flying across the ocean, or that there might be any down time to relax on our trip. Of course as soon as we leave we remember just how boring the times in between the good times get when you’re out there. A good book can kill 10 hours or more, even if you’re a fast reader, and is great for taking your mind off the stress that comes with all traveling.
Inevitably, your bag will break. Whether it’s a zipper, a strap, or the handle, having your stuff falling out or just not being able to carry the thing effectively anymore are a huge pain in the rear that no one wants to deal with. Duct tape to the rescue! You tape it up real good and just keep on going. It doesn’t look too pretty, but it does make you look prepared. Travel is all about function over form.
For any kind of longer stay it’s important that you get a phone. Don’t get a real fancy one, just a cheap disposable piece of junk is plenty for calling the police or ambulance if you run into serious trouble. Depending on where you are there might not be anyone around to help you.
Never underestimate the value of these few items and your travels will be smoother than mine have been. It is always worth it to bring this stuff, and claiming a lack of space in your bag as an excuse is not valid. Get another bag if you have to.
Brandon travels frequently and shares his experiences about What to bring on a trip by writing for his blog and writing guest posts for other sites.