I’m a big believer in travelling light. Regardless of how much time I’ll be gone, I only take 2 carry on pieces of luggage with me (one a backpack that fits underneath the chair and one roll bag that fits in the overhead bin). Taking more than that is absolutely unnecessary and just adds to clutter while making your travels more complicated.
However, there are some things that I take with me every single time I travel. No exceptions.
Of course, there are the usual things like passport, money, medication, etc. but I’m referring to the other items that you may not think to have if you don’t travel as much.
So, here are the things I always take with me and most of the time, never even bother removing from my bag when I get home.
Electrical bag. This includes my universal adapter, all necessary chords (for my kindle, phone, etc) and portable travel power strip. These all fit in a nice bag (just an old amenity kit I reuse) and never leave my travel bag since I have no use for it at home. Since I usually work on planes, I just pull out my electrical bag before I sit so I have everything I need there and when I’m done, it all goes back for easy storage.
Side note about the travel power strip. Since I only carry one adapter with me, without the power strip, I would only be able to charge one device at a time. The power strip solves that.
JICYF money. Stands for Just In Case You’re (in trouble) money. This is a couple crisp $100 bills and an emergency credit card that I keep hidden somewhere (either in my toiletries kit, inside backpack pocket, etc) that is kept separately from my travel wallet that has my passport. Luckily, I’ve never had to use it (and the hope is I NEVER have to use it) but if something were to happen, the cash should hopefully get me somewhere safe immediately and the card would buy me a ticket out. I also try to keep new bills because it’s amazing how many places won’t accept a bill if it has the slightest wrinkle in it but are more than happy to give you paper currency that looks like it was stuck to the bottom of their shoe.
Paper copies of my itinerary. I know we keep all our info digitally on our phone or elsewhere. But have you ever been in a situation where your phone died? Now imagine you’re trying to explain where you’re going to a taxi driver who doesn’t understand a word you’re saying. Have a paper copy, point to the address, and then throw that portion of your itinerary away once you’re there.
Flashlight. Just a small LED flashlight. One of the things we take for granted here is streetlights. When you’re in less developed countries, streetlights are a luxury you’ll miss and a flashlight is pretty much a necessity.
Compressed Towels. I’ve talked about these before but I really do love these things. I eat a lot of street food and a lot of times, I’m stuck trying to clean my hands on my pants. These are individually wrapped and by just adding water, you’ll have a fairly durable paper towel that is easy to clean your hands. It’s also useful if you’re trying to wipe down a dirty table, wiping your face on a hot day, etc. And if you’re travelling with kids, you’re going to fall in love with these things.
Portable fan. I don’t sleep particularly well on planes to begin and when I do, I like slightly cooler conditions with some air movement. Unfortunately, not all seats have individual air nozzles. This small USB power fan is my favorite thing on flights. It’s quiet, lightweight, and the neck is long enough to position just perfectly.
All these things take up very little room and doesn’t really add to any clutter in your luggage. Hopefully the next time you travel, you’ll have a couple of these things handy to make your travel experience a little easier.