10 things you might normally forget to pack - but shouldn't!
1- Travel phone charger - Literally the best things I brought with me. Considering how heavily I rely on my phone for everything, including communication, navigation and as a camera, it is essential that it is on. If anyone else's phone is like mine and runs out of battery before the end of the day, even when at home, then you can imagine how important it is to have a charger on hand when you're running maps, searching up activities to do in your next city, scrolling through social media, Facetiming family at home, etc. Another important advantage is to reduce theft, as a lot of hostels don't have any power points near your bed (or sometimes none in the room at all), so being able to safely lock your phone away in your locker or put it with you in bed to use as an alarm is really important. In my opinion, it is worth investing in a good one, so mine can fully charge my iPad up to 10 times and my iPad up to 3 times.
2- Laundry soap and universal sink plug -This was the second most useful thing that I brought with me. The sink plug has multiple rings underneath it, so it creates a suction effect in all different sized plug holes. And I just bought a $2 bar of Sard Wonder Soap from the supermarket, cut it in half and brought it with me in a waterproof screw top container. When I was packing, I made an effort to pack really quick-dry materials and things that could be hand washed (the most important being underwear!). Because of this, I've been able to get away with doing only 2 loads of washing in a washing machine in the first 2 months of my trip, as I would just hand wash underwear, tops and bras and let them dry overnight. You have no idea how much time and money this has saved me on this trip! (I also brought a tiny travel clothes line, but I haven't had to use that yet).
3- Quick dry travel towel -This seems so obvious, but I still see people lugging around normal bath towels or paying to rent one at every hostel, and I just don't understand it...
4- Sewing kit - Just one roll of black or white cotton, a needle and a few safety pins can save the day when things go wrong. So far I've sewn up my travel pillow which was leaking foam beads everywhere, and a button back onto my shorts (which may or may not have popped off due to all the croissants I've been eating...)
5- Nail scissors -Nails are something I don't care about too much while traveling, but when I need to trim them while I'm away from home, I can never seem to find a pair of nail clippers. These little things are super versatile too and I use them as part of my sewing kit and to groom my eyebrows.
6- A wide scarf -I always pack a scarf with me and take it out most places I go, tied around my handbag. I am one of those people that always gets cold, so it's really handy to have a scarf to wrap around me if the weather changes quickly, if I stay out later at night than expected, or if I'm going in and out of air conditioning. Alternatively, I use it as a beach towel, or a blanket while traveling. I also thinks it's nice to have two scarves in different colour schemes (I brought a leopard print and a red/pink floral one to Europe), as they're a very versatile accessory that can help you get away with wearing similar outfits all the time in plain colours.
7- Small first aid kit containing -
Nasal spray: I've gotten so congested to the point that I can't breathe during spring/summer in Europe. This has absolutely saved me.
Headache tablets: when you've got a headache, you don't always have the opportunity to get painkillers, nor do you want to go anywhere.
Band aids: you do so much walking, band aids are a must for sore feet!
Multivitamins: I brought Vitalgreens powder, as I use it back home when I'm feeling run down. I was annoyed that I brought it with me when I first started traveling, but as I started to get tired, run down and sick, I was so thankful I had it to give me a boost.
Antihistamines and diarrhoea tablets - just in case...
(TIP: I brought a strip of the medications with me and then wrote down all of the instructions on what the medication was for and how often to take them on one piece of paper. It took up much less space than the individual pill boxes and was easy to access!)
8- Umbrella/waterproof jacket - Basically something to keep you dry, as you don't want to the bad weather to ruin your opportunity to go out and explore a new city! My pick was an umbrella, but I'm wishing I'd packed a good quality one, rather than just a cheapie, as it broke the first time I used it in Spain. I then bought a secondhand waterproof jacket and that has worked really well. TIP: pack a little waterproof backpack cover for your day bag. Usually all your valuables and technology is in there, so it's very handy to know it's all dry and safe!
9- Ziplock bags - Protect your valuables from water, keep cables together, put your lunch in them, put wet soap I'm them... These things are so handy and they take up almost no space.
10- Multiple locks and carabiners - I'm very careful with my personal items, so I like to have a lock for each zipper on all bags, as well as a couple of extra for lockers, etc. Carabiners are also great for attaching things to each other (e.g: hanging your pillow or shoes off your bag). On this trip, I brought 4 x combination locks (1 x big TSA lock for my checked baggage, 2 x smaller locks for the main and front parts of my day pack, 1 x padlock with the looped wire to fit through tricky lockers) and 2 x small, strong carabiners. When I went to Asia, I also brought a small bike lock to attach my checked luggage or pack safe backpack to things, but while it's handy, it's definitely not essential.
Are there any essential items that I've missed? Let me know in the comments below!