Well I guess everyone’s different in their packing behaviour and everyone needs different things on a trip but here are some essentials you shouldn’t miss.
#1 A Diary
That might be an individual thing but I met a lot of people writing diary during their time travelling. Some just have a calender and write down in bulletpoints what they did that day, some have a little notebook where they put in drawings of things or people they thought were interesting throughout their trip and some (like me) have an actual diary where they write down every single thought, idea and experience they had and made during their time. I tend to write every second or third day because I just need it. It’s everything to talk to new people, tell them all about your day and your experiences but writing down your deepest thoughts, fears and hopes is just priceless – especially on a trip. And it’s the best thing to remember your trip by!
#2 A Camera
It doesn’t matter if it’s a small digital camera, a professional one, a GoPro or just a small disposable camera – it is nice to capture unforgettable moments and great people on camera every once in a while.
Well, in the age of the newest technology I guess you can just use your good old iPhone for that. I still think it is a different feeling capturing it on a proper camera though, maybe even playing around with the settings every once in a while. (Plus: My iPhone just never has enough memory to take more than 5 pictures at a time without deleting stuff.)
#3 First Aid Kid
I’m just calling it first aid kid because it just sounds better than travel pharmacy. But generally, just never forget the essentials – pain killer, medicine for your stomach (especially in countries that are just notorious for creating problems, like Bali or Marocco), band-aids, aspirin complex or something similar that just helps pretty fast when you have symptoms of a cold and anything other medicine you might need every once in a while.
It is really annoying carrying it around because it takes up precious room in your backpack but once you are stuck in bed with a bad cold or a really bad stomach you will be thankful your mum (and me :)) made you take it!
#4 A Fannypack
You might be laughing right now but when you go travel Asia for example (I guess it’s the same in South or Middle America) you see so many people wearing them that it just seems normal for you to carry yours around as well. And it is super handy. You can store all your most valuable belongings (passport, money, maybe even your phone) in there and just fall asleep at a bus, a plane or a waiting hall without having to be scared that all your stuff is gone by the time you wake up.
Okay, I feel like most of the things on my list are just obvious. But I don’t mean: Put some good tunes on your iPod. (Even though that is very important as well.) What I actually mean is, think about what you are planning to do throughout your trip. Do you maybe want to rent a car at one point? Or a campervan? Then you should definitely think about taking some CDs or an AUX cable, so you can listen to your personal roadtrip-soundtrack without any problems.
I could go on forever, but like I said: Packing lists differ from person to person. But one more tip for those of you who plan on travelling by themselves (#6 i guess): Bring a good book! There will be times where you sit at an airport, waiting for your connecting flight or lonely nights (or days) at a hostel, because you arrived when everyone in your room was out, where you just want to flee into a fictional story to keep you from getting homesick or thinking too much – it helped me every time!
P.S.: I guess some of the tips don’t apply for everyone, especially when you are not travelling by yourself or when you’re going to visit friends somewhere. But even then, it’s nice to have them in your luggage. You know, just in case.