Whether you’re going away for a few days or a few weeks, there are some travel essentials you need with you in every situation and at every location.
You might be embarking on a long haul flight to play tourist overseas, or taking a well planned road trip around the country, either way, both of these scenarios call for a similar set of items.
First of all, there are the obvious things, such as your phone and wallet (and passport if necessary), chargers, a toiletry bag, pyjamas and warm weather and cool weather / waterproof clothing. Aside from those, however, you need to have accessories on you that will keep you safe, make day-to-day tasks run more efficiently and help elevate your overall experience.
So, if you’re looking for the ultimate travel essentials list to check off against your own or to bookmark for later, keep reading – you’ve come to the right place…
1. First Aid Kit
Although travels are mostly exciting, there’s always the possibility of having an accident and sustaining an injury. Unless it’s severe, if you have a handy first aid kit on you, you or someone you’re with can patch you up in no time.
You can buy fully equipped personal kits from organisations such as the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance, or get travel sized versions from the likes of Chemist Warehouse and Officeworks. Common varieties contain bandaids, bandages, gauze swabs and dressings, surgical tape, wet wipes, bug spray, sanitiser, saline, gloves, an emergency foil blanket, tweezers, scissors and more. With COVID-19 still around, pack face masks and rapid antigen tests too just in case.
If you’ve already got most of these medical supplies at home, you can easily make your own kit with a spare zipper bag.
2. Reusable Drink Bottle
It’s a no-brainer that keeping hydrated when out and about is important, but the way you keep your fluids up is rather important too.
Plastic, disposable drink bottles might be lightweight and convenient, but once you’ve thrown them away, they almost always end up in our waterways – becoming choking hazards for marine life – and take hundreds of years to break down. Not to mention the chemicals often contained within the plastic, which can leach into the water.
Reusable is the way to go! They’re safe, stylish and actually more affordable, as you won’t need to replace them for a while.
There are lots of non-toxic and anti-bacterial bottles out there, in whatever size and style you want. Some Aussie brands to consider are Frank Green, Keep Cup, Memobottle, SoL Cups and Beysis. And if they’re well insulated, you can use them for hot drinks too.
When it comes to packing travel essentials, sunscreen should be near the top of your list. It doesn’t matter if you’re not going on a summer beach holiday, either the sun or wind will be around, so you always need protection when out hiking or sightseeing.
This one’s self-explanatory – if it rains, you’ll want an umbrella. Even if wet weather isn’t on the forecast, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The climate can be very difficult to predict.
As mentioned earlier, whether it’s very sunny or not, a hat is a great way to protect your face from the elements.
Depending on the conditions you’re travelling in and what you’re wearing, you can take a variety of styles to suit, from wide brim floppy hats and peak caps, to bucket hats and beanies if it turns chilly.
Another item to tick off your travel essentials list is a pair (or two) of sunglasses.
Like sunscreen and a hat, it’s the perfect addition to your sun safety regime – plus, you don’t want to squint your way around a beautiful place!
And if you need them, be sure to pack reading glasses too.
Even though we’ve all got cameras on our smartphones these days, nothing beats using your imagination and a proper camera to capture the perfect shot.
Digital, disposable, film and polaroid cameras have all come back in fashion in recent years. Sure you might take a few duds and make a few mistakes, but it’s all part of the process, and it makes it all the more rewarding when they turn out. It also saves you some storage space on your phone.
Then when you come home, you can get your favourite photos professionally printed and put in an album to look back on in years to come.
You may be thinking, surely pen and paper is a redundant travel essential these days? Unless you prefer to do things old school, it’s true, there’s no real need to carry around maps anymore as it’s just so much easier to follow directions to your desired destination via your phone.
A physical journal, however, is a great way to really take in and document your feelings and surroundings. You can use it like a diary to jot down where you went and to plan where you’re going next. You can record your observations, words and phrases in other languages and review things you liked and didn’t like about an area.
It’s also just a great way to wind down at the end of the day and take in everything you did. A journal can be something you hold on to to recall fond memories and experiences, or it can be something you can pass onto others as a guide.
We all try to travel light, but there’s nothing worse than heading out and realising you don’t have everything you need.
A backpack really is an essential. Firstly, it has straps that go over your shoulders (usually padded) and it sits against your back (designed to evenly distribute weight), so your hands are free to carry other items. Secondly, it has a large number of pockets and slots to store drink bottles, cameras, cords, coins and more.
You can easily secure your valuables with a combination lock or buy a backpack that comes with extra safety features such as being made out of anti-slash materials or with zippers concealed by flaps.
10. Walking Shoes
You might not be planning a hiking trip, but it’s unwise to underestimate the amount of walking you’ll end up doing on holidays. And when it comes to walking, comfort is key.
Sure, you can pack travel essentials like thongs for lazy days or fancy shoes if you dress up and go out, but on your day-to-day adventures, you’ll want to be wearing something that won’t leave your feet achy or blistered.
A pair of runners or hiking boots with good rubber soles will do the trick and give you traction – and laces are preferable so you can adjust them to the thickness of your socks. Don’t use a trip to break in a new pair either. You’ll want something that you can just slip straight into and get going.