Whenever we travel either solo or with family or friends we have the impulse to bring more things than what we really 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 be proficient (at least for myself) with 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?
It would also be ideal to bring a dry bag that can be folded for when you decide to go island hopping, spelunking or chasing waterfalls.
What’s in my travel bag?
♥ The most indispensable item on this list is the passport because it would be extremely crucial to have it replaced without a great deal of effort and time – which also would mean that you cannot leave the country. When you go out of the country as a tourist it is important that you carry your passport with you at all times but often this isn’t strictly enforced. But I always am cautious bringing my passport with me when I go on tour so what I do is I photocopy my passport, leave the passport in the hotel safe and take the photocopies with me when I leave my hotel. This is better than to risk my passport being stolen, left behind or get damaged/wet during my tour.
Plane Ticket | Boarding Pass
♥ I always book my flights online so I always make it a point to quadruple check the confirmation note and print my ticket or boarding pass at least two copies (per person) in case I misplace one copy.
Credit and Debit Card
♥ Credit and Debit cards are more reliable for when you travel internationally and to buy or pay for items that hasn’t already been prepaid.
Cash (loose bills and coins)
♥ 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 for when you give tips.
Medicines | First Aid Kit
♥ 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). These are vital every traveler should have. I also bring Aloe Vera Gel with me for mosquito bites and light burns as well.
♥ 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.
♥ 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. I try to study the map at least few days before my travel so I get to familiarized myself with it. Also, most my trips are DIY, so a map is a must have.
♥ 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.
♥ 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.
♥ This is great for capturing hands free pictures and videos while doing outdoor activities without having to bring your camera and smart phone.
♥♥♥ Thinking of getting the Supremo 1 action camera. I am on a really tight budget and since I have read loads of positive reviews regarding the Supremo Action Camera, I think it will be a good buy.
♥ 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.
♥ 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.
Earphones | Headphones
♥ This is a must bring for me especially for long road trips. Also, some budget airlines doesn’t offer movies to watch or music to listen to so investing in a good headphones is a must.
Tablet | Ipad
♥ I love to read e-books ad e-magazines so it is convenient for me to just get a tablet instead of bringing bulky books and magazines. Also, I get to play games, watch movies or series and listen to music which totally kills my boredom for long flights.
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.
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).
♥ I bring at least 2-4 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. Choose leggings that are bit thick to prevent unwanted see-through ordeal.
♥ To ease the burden of choosing outfits and bringing a lot than what I really need, I choose tops and bottoms that can be easily mixed and matched. That way, you can re-wear certain shirts if they haven’t been worn for long and you won’t have to wash entire outfits in order to use them again. Be mindful of the destination activities you’ll be doing as well. Like, you wouldn’t probably be needing a skirt if you go trekking. Right?
♥ 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 hold on too much cold. But when I go to countries with really cold weather, I bring one pair per day.
♥ And tons of it. At least two pieces per day on an average unless you are expecting a “monthly visit” which in that case at least three pieces per day
♥ 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.
Light Colored Tops
♥ Dark tops absorb more heat from the sun compared using light-colored tops. It will also look good on pictures.
Toiletries | Compact Make Up Set
♥ 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, eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara instead of bringing loads of cosmetics.
♥♥♥ Whenever I stay in hotels I make sure to collect the toiletries provided which I can use on my next travel.
♥ 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.
♥ 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.
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.
Sanitary Napkins | Panty Liners
♥ 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.
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.
Sunglass | Reading Glasses
♥ 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. I don’t really use reading glasses, but might be good for some people.
♥ 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 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.
♥ 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.
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.
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.
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.