Whenever we travel either solo or with family or friends we have the impulse to bring more things than we need most especially us ladies. We have this tendency to pack our entire closet and try to fit it in our backpack or suitcase. This has been my dilemma ever since and as I travel more I get to master (at least for myself) the things that are essential for me to bring with whenever I discover a world away from my comfort zone.
I can’t count the number of times my mom would tell me to “pack light” because I often bring a lot of stuff with me than what I actually need and so I decided to come up with the list of the indispensable things that I will use whenever I travel. After all, we cannot be bringing our irrelevant baggage right?!
How about which bag to carry all these things?
There is an abundant differences between traveling with a suitcase and backpack. When it is time to reach for one of those two, what you need to choose differs depending on the trip and what you are looking for in a bag. Personally, I prefer the latter because of its weight distribution, mobility, and for challenging itineraries such as if you are an adventure seeker and would go from one place to another. It is very convenient to bring compared with suitcases. Suitcases are great if you are bound only to places that has paved roads. It would be hard to pull those suitcases on grassy or muddy road and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
What’s in my travel bag?
- Ever since I got upset stomach from drinking tap water, I made sure that I’d bring my doctor prescribed medicine. Aside from that I also bring with me Paracetamol, anti-diarrheal, Betadine swabs/pack, sterile gauze, band aids, alcohol pads and Silver Sulfadiazine (which is great for burns; I got muffler burn from my last trip in Samal Island in Davao City and I used this to treat my wound). This is the vital thing every traveler should have.
2. Smart Phone
- I often use the camera on my phone to take pictures of the sights I want to immediately share online. In addition to this, you may check online maps in case you have forgotten to bring a map and to check weather forecast. Aside from those, whenever I want to check reviews of a certain restaurant or attractions it is easier with the use of a smart phone. However, there is a con and that is the hunger of such phones with battery. The battery of smart phones drains faster especially when you use the mobile data.
3. Mobile Phone
- This is an important back up in case your smart phone/s is out of battery. Ordinary mobile phones’ batteries lasts up to a number of days since it doesn’t have any mobile data and other stuff smart phones has. This comes in handy when you are in need to make important phone calls or messages.
- I have been dependent on my camera phone ( I use Samsung Note 3 before I lost it) and it takes pictures good enough for me but when I lost my Note 3 I had to go back to a usual camera. Each and everyone would love to share the things they see and experience when traveling so this definitely is a must have. Few days ago my father showed me mercy by buying me a Samsung Note 5 which takes way better images compared to my Note 3 so I don’t think I will be buying a new camera anytime soon.
- Few month ago I bought a Bavin 18,000 mAh and has been using it since then. It can fully charge my Samsung phone 3-4 times. This can charge any smart phones, wifi devices and tablets. In my case I only use them on my mobile phone to save up on the juice. Since we rely on our smart phones heavily, this is a must have to prevent our phones from dying mid-activity.
6. Cash (loose bills and coins) | Credit and Debit Card
- I often check online my destination before heading there. There are some places that doesn’t have EPS machine thus they only accept cash payments. It is important to take note of this so you will be able to bring considerable amount of cash with you. Also make sure to bring loose bills and coins in case the driver or store doesn’t have change for huge amount of bills and this is also great for when you give tips.
7. Light Towel
- Some hotels (depending on their star rating), inns and lodges provide towels to their guests but this is not always the case especially if you check in to a budget friendly accommodations that is why I bring my own lightweight towel in case I am not provided with one. Towels can be bulky when packed inside the bag even if you roll it or whatever you do to make it smaller so I bought Sea to Summit Microfibre Pocket Towel which is so light that it doesn’t take a chunk of space in my luggage and it is indeed super lightweight and it actually dries up better than a regular towel. Drying? After wringing it, I usually just hang it and before I know it is dry already.
- Sea to Summit is available at The North Face and The Travel Club stores.
8. Light Slippers
- Similar to the towels, there are some accommodations that doesn’t provide slippers that you will use for when you go to the comfort room or even for room use hence the need to bring your own slippers and for hygienic purposes as well.
9. Storage Device
- One of the cons of having a Samsung Note 5 is its device storage. The only available phone storage when my dad bought me one is 32 gb (I think there is a 64 gb in some stores). Since it doesn’t have an internal slot for me to hook a memory card I bought an additional storage device to save my pictures and videos. An on-the-go (OTG) cable is included with the phone so I don’t need to buy a separate one. However if you need one it is available at CD-R King Stores for Php 30.00. I haven’t tried hooking it up with a 1tb external hard drive though. An external storage device is necessary so you don’t use much of the phone and camera storage since raw pictures and videos takes a huge space. I use Western Digital Passport external hard drive which is compact and lightweight as well.
- Remember to put your storage device in a secure casing or carrying cases so even when you accidentally drop it, it would not damage your external hard drive. I bought my 2tb in a legit store few months ago and it came with a free hard casing. It may be bulky but it is better to secure it rather than damage it.
10. Big Scarfs or Light Cardigans
- Big scarfs can serve as it is to cover you when cold, as blanket, and head cover especially with long bus travel at night. Light cardigans serves for that purpose as well. When I was traveling back home in a bus very early in the morning it can get super cold so having both is a must have (at least for me).
11. Comb and Ponytail
- Comb to fix your hair as you definitely want to look pretty in your pictures and borrowing one is a big no while ponytail for when your hair gets all over the place while hiking or spelunking.
12. Plastic Bag | Zip Loc
- Aside from securing our gadgets, chargers, other cords and plugs from getting wet, it can also be used to stash our used clothing so I make sure to keep a number of Zip Locs in my bag.
13. Sanitary Napkins
- I learned this in a hard and embarrassing way. I did not pack my own supply because I thought that it is not yet the time of the month and I was wrong so I had to ask my only available friend (who is a guy) to buy me one. From that point forward I consistently make sure to pack it inside my luggage. Aside from that, during extreme scenarios such for when you got yourself in extreme bleeding situations it may serve as a pad to absorb the blood until you get it checked by a medical team (though I hope this would never happen). It can also be used as an extra padding for your gadgets.
- I use Modess Ultra Thin sanitary napkins because it is really thin compared with the regular pads but it is for heavy-duty as well. I bring at least 10 pieces of it and still it does not take up a large space.
14. Panty Liners
- I guess this is self-explanatory.
- I bring one pair only with changeable lens for the whole trip. I want to protect my eyes from the harsh UV rays so this is an essential to me. Also, I don’t like squinting most of the time when I am at a beach or high contrast areas. It doesn’t need to be interchangeable lens but I like it. I got mine from Sunnies in SM Megamall.
- Hotels depending on their star rating provides their guests with toiletries but some hotels, inns and lodges does not so I make sure to bring my own small-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel or small soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and toothbrush. I also make sure to bring my Estee Lauder compact travel size make up kit which contains a foundation, lipsticks, blush, eyeshadows, eyeliner and mascara.
- Whenever I stay in hotels I make sure to collect the toiletries provided which I can use on my next travel.
17. Black Leggings
- I bring at least 2 pairs whenever I travel because it is lightweight, easy to pack and very comfortable to wear especially when hiking or spelunking or even when simply walking around.
- I use the brand So-en for my leggings because it is not purely cotton, it has that spandex feeling to it which makes it even more comfortable to wear and easy to squeeze in my bag.
- I often bring with me gummy candies or Lifesavers when I travel for when I get motion sickness from long bus rides or for when I want a light snack. I don’t usually get off the bus during stop overs (laziness strikes sometimes) so having these on my bag keeps me sated.
- I usually bring at least a pair or two when I visit places with cold climates or when I need to endure a long bus ride to warm my feet since my body cannot handle cold, much more with extreme cold temperatures.
20. Dual Plug Adaptor/Splitter
- Most accommodations have limited power outlets. During my trip to Sagada, the inn where I stayed at only had two power outlets so to ease the headache of thinking which gadget should be recharged first, bring an outlet splitter with you.
21. Identification Card
- Most of us keeps our identification card inside our wallet but some of us when we go from one attraction to another we have the tendency to bring an adequate amount of cash and leave our wallets in our hotel rooms. It is necessary to bring at least one ID with you when you go out for emergency cases especially when you are a solo traveler. Aside from this, some hotels need the card hotel key to power up the room thus when you leave with your card key the power goes off as well. When you are in need to charge your gadgets while away you can try to use your ID as substitute to power up the room even without you being in it.
22. Water Bottle
- I do not know when my stomach got so used to being upset with tap water so I make sure to bring my own bottle of water when traveling. I also love to keep myself hydrated at all times especially during the trips where it requires a lot of my energy such as hiking.
23. Compact Umbrella
- Rain or shine, whenever my feet itches to travel and when the budget permits me to, I go. Having a compact umbrella protects me from either the harsh UV rays or the rain drops.
- I bring along at least one bonnet as a head-gear against the cold, sun or rain in case I want to leave my umbrella in my room.
25. Small Notebook and Pen
- I only tried this once when I went to Sagada and I realized this is essential as well. First, I use this to keep a list of my expenses and second when I have the urge to write something. Sometimes, thoughts occur when you are at some place else especially if it is as majestic as Sagada. I can actually use my phone to do all these, however I cannot fully rely on it because if its battery life. When I went to Sagada and had my own reflections I wrote it all down in my small notebook to remind me of the things I needed to remember.
- As a solo traveler, I got so accustomed to using a map – the real ones the you can buy in bookstores. I find real joy in wandering around with a use of a real map instead those of in our smart phones. One benefit I can think of with using this one is it will save up some juice in your mobile phone. In addition, you need not to zoom in and out for it is already laid out in front of you and you can see it as a whole.
* Small Sling Bag
- I like to roam around with a small bag so it is easier to carry with only few essential things that I need and I just bring an eco bag in case I decided to go shopping. I sometimes shop for souvenirs on impulse so an eco bag will be helpful and light and easy to fold enough to fit inside a small bag.
* Light Colored Tops
- Dark tops absorb more heat from the sun compared using light-colored tops. It will also look good on pictures.
* Rechargeable Small Flashlight
- I brought one when I went to Sagada because there are some activities that I will be doing where it warrants (or I think it does) a flashlight. Also, this might come in handy for when you find yourself walking to your hotel at night. One thing I noticed in Sagada, there aren’t enough street lights at night so I was able to use mine when I went to my inn at night after dinner.
- I sometimes tend to get bored during long travel time and so when I am done watching movies or listening to music I read a book to keep me entertained.