How do you know the travel bug has officially bitten you? Your most essential travel items are always packed ready for any trip. Or maybe, that’s just one of my weird quirks?
So we often get asked what essential items we must have for a trip away. To be honest I only need two…my passport and a credit card. But for interest’s sake, I’ve listed my top 12.
My passport is literally packed in the front pocket of my suitcase at all times. I know exactly where it is, and I keep it in the same place so I never have any crazy last-minute rush trying to rip apart the house trying to locate it before the taxi arrives to take us to the airport. I now keep Victoria’s passport too…as I, ah, couldn’t handle the last minute frantic-ness!
This is 100% necessary for any trip. If you forget anything a credit card will see you through any emergency. Lost luggage, no worries, whip out the credit card. An unforeseen event, credit card. And the list goes on…there are also some additional benefits to your credit card, if (BIG IF!) you spend some time beforehand and commit to some research. For example, when we book our flights on our American Express it automatically covers us for travel insurance. If you’ve not got a credit card, then we would certainly recommend that you get one. You may be unsure of which credit card suits you the best. Thankfully, sites such as gobear.com allow you to compare a range of different credit card deals so you can choose the one that’s right for you. A friend of mine told me to definitely check it out, but since I’ve already got a credit card, I thought maybe one of our amazing readers may want to.
Want more perks? We also get double frequent flyer points and access to the American Express airport lounge.
Travel Debit Card
Remember the days of traveller’s cheques (checks if you’re in the US!)… Well they’re long gone. The banks, airlines and post offices now have a cool debit card that you can load cash and convert to different currencies, and it’s PIN protected. There’s heaps to choose from so do your research and select one that works for you. Since we chose Virgin Australia as a main carrier, we also went with their Global Wallet card.
Here’s what we get:
Virgin Global Wallet:
- Works like a Visa prepaid Card, so you can load your cash on the card and store it in multiple foreign currencies. When you land at your holiday destination you can withdraw cash at any ATM that accepts Visa cards (majority of them)
- Unlike your normal debit card you won’t get smashed with an international transaction fee from your home bank every time you withdraw funds
- You can hold five different currencies at once. We love this feature as we’re always on the go. We’ll typically always have Aussie, US and Kiwi dollars stored on the card.
- You lock in the exchange rate, so you don’t have to worry when you’re away if the dollar is fluctuating.
- It’s a Visa, so you can use it anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted.
- You can manage it all online.
For years I loved the feel of a 20-kilo backpack on my back. Even though it was heavy to carry around it signified freedom and choice… with my bag on my back I knew I could go anywhere. Now the thought of carrying a backpack irks me. Getting older has made me appreciate the finer things in life and for me that means owning EPIC suitcases that have top-quality four-360 degree spinning wheels. Travelling with my luggage is a breeze and is enjoyable to push around.
I know what you’re thinking… how do I navigate un-surfaced roads, boats, stairs etc.? Obviously when you’re travelling in countries that don’t have fancy elevators and smooth roads, suitcases can be a bit cumbersome, however I’ve found there’s always a super friendly local who’s willing to help me out.
Good Quality Headphones
Quality headphones are a must on any trip. If you do your research you’ll hear a lot of people raving about the noise-cancelling headphones. For me, they suck! All of the good quality noise-cancelling headphones that I’ve found require a battery. That’s just too much upkeep for me. I prefer the headphones that don’t require any batteries to operate. Just think about it… you’re on a long bus trip, listening to some killer beats, then your battery dies in your headphones and you’re out of tunes. I recommend the battery free option. My friend said to put the headphones through phono preamps to better test how good headphones are. If you’re interested in finding a phono preamp to test your headphones check out Graham Slee HiFi’s website (view site). If they can deal with music from a phono preamp they should be good headphones so I’m told.
Epic add-on: Buy the airplane adaptor. Awesome if you’re flying cattle class.
This one is for the girls: stock up on tampons before you go. I’ve been to a lot of countries around the world and find it’s way easier to pack these before you go.
Living in one of the most expensive countries in the world (Australia) I don’t take a big supply of toiletries when I travel (unless of course it’s a short trip). Toiletries are so much cheaper everywhere else in the world. So it’s a waste of money stocking up before you go.
Pegless Washing Line
This has to be one of my favourite essential travel items. I received it as a gift when I took off on my first overseas adventure, which in hindsight was super lucky as I don’t think I would’ve ever bought one myself. With its handy hooks you can hang the line anywhere. Perfect for hanging your washing, wet gear or even using as a makeshift belt!
I guarantee the pegless washing line will change your life. Buy one!
I know the world has gone digital, and if we ever want to know anything we just ‘google’ it. But there’s still something I love about buying and carrying the Lonely Planet guidebooks. For me, the simple act of purchasing the book signifies the start of a new adventure.
When we arrive in a new country, I’m not a big researcher, I love talking to the locals and discovering where we should go next, but there’s something exciting about reading about the next city/town that we’re about to explore.
Plus the maps are super handy too, as I’m always getting lost!
I’ll be honest, this is a new addition to my essential travel items. In the past I would never carry a laptop, but now that we’ve got a portable business where we can work from wherever we are in the world, it’s super handy to have a laptop. Plus it’s convenient for handling photos, writing content for blog posts and keeping in contact with friends all over the world.
LOL… I didn’t even realise that this was one of my essential travel items until I sat down and wrote this list. But OMG I do not travel anywhere without my water bottle. Hydration is key folks! I’ve got a great 18/8 stainless steel bottle that I take everywhere, even on the plane. Just empty it out as you go through customs, and then fill it up in the airport lounge. The airhostesses are more than happy to fill it up during flights as well!
That’s my top 10 Essential Travel Items, but I’ve got two more to share with you. Bonus!
If you require any special medication, stock up on it before you go. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Trust me, whether you’re staying in a plush 5-star resort or you’re trekking in the wilderness, you won’t want to go find a new doctor to prescribe your medicine. Especially if you don’t speak the language! Definitely get the appropriate vaccinations in advance to protect yourself from preventable diseases. You can book travel vaccinations from PharmaVaccs.co.uk.
Like I said, our travel insurance is covered by our credit card, however if you’re looking for a provider there’s heaps of companies online. Do your research first, and compare a few. Don’t just go for the cheapest or the first one you find!
I like policies that allow me to claim while I’m still overseas. For example, on a couple of snowboarding trips I’ve ended up in hospital, and with the policy I purchased I simply rang the company and they sorted out all of the costs. Some other policies make you pay first, and you can only claim when you get back home. For me, this system sucks. Oh yeah… if you’re going snowboarding, double check your policy covers this. Some don’t. You may need to pay extra. After trying several companies, I now always use World Nomads. You can get a quote here.
Another thing to check is how much they’ll pay you for lost/stolen items. Example if your camera is $1000 and they’ll only cover $100 that’s not a great deal.
So there you have it… my top 12 items that I wouldn’t leave home without!
» Want one more HOT ESSENTIAL tip? «
Leave a photocopy of your important paperwork with a family member or a trusted friend. A copy of items like your passport, visas, injection history, bank details, your insurance policy etc. That way, if anything gets stolen you’ve got a copy.