I am pretty much a last minute packer and enjoy the rush of it. However, regardless of the destination or the season, there are certain things that I never travel without. In fact, I don’t even take most of these things out of my suitcase after a trip so that I never forget to pack them for my next one.
Here are some of my packing essentials and things I never travel without.
A travel adapter is at the top of my list because I will not survive without this! While an adapter like the one shown in the first picture works well in some places, there are lots of other countries that don’t use this type of prong. My recommendation is to get one like in the second picture. These are great because they pretty much cover all outlet types in the entire world!
Packing cubes come in several sizes and help to keep my suitcase organized. I have a cube for each type of clothing (tops, bottoms etc) and usually roll my clothes and place them inside the cubes. These are great space savers as so much can be compressed in to them. Some even come with a laundry bag and the best part is that you can throw them in to the washing machine for easy cleaning.
Below I have shown how I packed 5 tops (including 3 thick sweaters), 3 pairs of jeans, 4 dresses, 3 thick scarves and 3 winter socks in to my packing cube.
Pro tip – Roll don’t fold!
External Battery Packs
I love to walk around and explore all day and since I take all my picture on my phone and also use it for google maps, I find that my phone battery dies very quickly. To counter this, I pack a couple of external battery packs and carry one with me everyday. The best part about these battery packs is that you can even get solar powered ones. Not only do you get to charge your phone on the go, the battery itself is also charging on its own! Double win!
Pro tip – Don’t pack these in your checked luggage
Neck Wallet for Money and Passport
During my month long trip to Europe a couple of years ago, I used a money belt to keep my money, credit cards and passport secure. The belt lasted one day around my waist as it was a little uncomfortable and bulky. I switched to a neck wallet after this and haven’t looked back since. Although not glamorous it definitely helps to keep your valuables secure and can be discreet if worn under a jacket. That being said, a lot of people love their money belts so either of these might work for you! My money belt also came with RFID pockets for credit cards and a passport.
I never let rain spoil my travel plans. One way I ensure this is by packing a few rain ponchos. These are super cheap, really light weight and don’t take up any space at all (unlike an umbrella or bulky rain jacket). Although disposable, they can be worn over and over again like a regular rain jacket.
I always pack my own water bottle when I travel. Up until recently, I used to clip my water bottle to my satchel using a carabiner (I know!!) but recently found a water bottle that has a build-in clasp that can be hooked on to my satchel. My previous bottle was metal but the bottom got warped when I filled it with hot water so I’ve switched to this instead. This bottle also has a lock (see right side) that makes the bottle completely spill proof.
My general rule of thumb is that I carry a neck pillow with me if a flight is over 4 hours long. These are also great for train rides as well. I have an inflatable type that takes no time to inflate or deflate and is super easy to carry. This is also great because you get to decide how hard or soft you want the pillow to be.
Quick Drying Towel
These towels are great if there is any water related activity involved in a trip (pool, beach, lake, thermal bath etc.) but I always have one or two in my suitcase regardless. These work like magic, dry so fast and virtually fold in to a tiny square.
Waterproof Phone Case
This never leaves my suitcase either because I never know when it might come in handy. The right case can really protect your phone from any water damage. How do you know it is the right case? Test it out! Place some tissue inside the case, close it up, fill up your sink and completely submerge the case in water for a couple of hours. You know you have a good case if the tissue is bone dry when you take it out of the water. HERE is a link to the case I have.
Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes
Travel toilet paper is much smaller and compact than regular paper and is easy to carry around for when the need comes.
Admittedly this is an odd one and while not essential, these do help to keep everything in your suitcase smelling nice and fresh. (especially if your used and unused clothes come in close proximity in a closed suitcase)
My packing cubes come with a laundry bag but if you don’t have this, definitely have some bags to bring back your laundry home.
Regardless of the type of vacation, I always pack flip flops for walking around a hotel room or bathroom.
I always get sick on my holidays (mostly because I live in a bubble when I’m not traveling), so I carry basic medication like Emergen-C (1000mg of vitamin C), pain relievers like advil and sore throat medication.
The next few things are not so much things to pack in a suitcase but definitely should be considered as a part of your packing ritual.
Credit Card Without Foreign Transaction Fees
The last thing I need when I travel is to get slapped on with foreign transaction fees and so have a couple of great cards that help me avoid this. I always make sure to inform the card issuing company that I am traveling so that my card doesn’t get rejected. Another tip is to get a pin for your card beforehand as some places require you to insert a pin even when using a credit card.
Since I solo travel very often than not, I never leave the country without travel insurance . Travel insurance is extremely affordable and offers that peace of mind! Best part is that you can even get it online while sitting at the airport waiting for your flight!
Photocopies of Passport and Other Important Documentation
I usually pack a few copies of my passport in a couple of places like my suitcase, backpack and satchel. Having your passport picture page can expedite getting a new passport if you lose yours abroad.
In addition to all this, I pack my absolute essentials and one outfit change in my carry on bag in case my main luggage doesn’t make it to my destination. (Learned this the hard way in Porto, Portugal)
As always let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or send me a message on instagram or facebook @shortgirlontour
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If you are heading to Iceland, check out my Iceland specific packing list HERE