Although I have been virtually on the road for the last two decades, I always get jittery when I have to pack for a trip. In fact, as I write this post, I have a trip coming up tomorrow and am yet to even start packing. Many people think that I always have a bag packed, ready to hit the road. To be honest, I get very anxious when I have to pack. I try to travel as light as possible but I end up angsting all the time. I decided to create templates to simplify my packing. I do have a list for summer travel, for winter travel, for domestic and international travels, for personal trips, for official tips, be it Asia or Europe and for short and long trips and this just ended up complicating matters. Finally, I ended up creating this master list – which is my list of travel essentials. Irrespective of where I am headed, the travel essentials list always find a place in my bag. So whether you are travelling abroad or in your own country, in summer or in monsoon, for a vacation or on work, here is my travel packing checklist along with some travel packing tips as well.
1.Medicines and prescriptions
My friends usually joke that I virtually carry a mobile pharmacy along with me. I always have a bag that has a set of medicines along with prescriptions for emergencies. Be it vitamin supplements or medicines for allergies, fever, pain relief or even antibiotics and antacids, these medicines are absolutely a priority. I also take some ayurvedic medicines and they are in my handbag. When we are travelling abroad, it is difficult to buy medicines in a pharmacy without a prescription. And so, if you are prone to any specific ailment then it’s better to carry a prescription with you. I once had a bout of insomnia when I was travelling to Australia and I had four sleepless nights. I had forgotten my prescription and I finally managed to get some sleep after asking my family to email the prescription to me.
2. Travel Adapter and Power Bank
I don’t carry too many gadgets with me when I travel. But I usually have at least a couple of smartphones and sometimes a tablet. I avoid carrying a laptop unless it’s absolutely important. However, irrespective of the gadgets, there are two things that I always have with me in my hand luggage. A travel adapter and a power bank. These are an integral part of my list of travel essentials and I don’t think I have travelled anywhere without them.
3. Noise Cancellation Headphones
This is one of my recent additions in my travel essentials list and I take them with me especially when I am on long international trips. Be it a long flight or a boring transit, I can switch from the world and listen to music or watch a movie or a show on my phone. I have realized that a pair of noise cancellation headphones are very indispensable. If you cant find one of them, any earphones would do. They are sometimes very important for your own sanity. Ensure that you add them to your travel packing checklist. I recommend them strongly as a part of my travel packing tips.
4.Travel Card – NIYO Global Card
A credit card is mandatory for every traveller, be it in India or abroad. And I would add a forex card too to the list of travel essentials. However, I have found a new travel companion in Niyo Global Card. I travelled with it to Vietnam and Laos in South East Asia and also to Sweden in Europe and realized that it is the ideal travel card. Unlike a forex card, you don’t have to load it with different currencies. You can just load it with INR through a bank transfer as you do to any digital wallet and use it anywhere in the world like a Debit card.
The first step is to download an app on your smartphone where you can see all the transactions. The app is very easy and you get 24 /7 support through Whatsapp. Besides being extremely safe and convenient, there is no additional forex mark-up on the card. You can use it anywhere in the world using the current Visa exchange rate. Believe me, I used it virtually everywhere during my travels – from restaurants in Vietnam to souvenir shopping at Christmas Markets in Sweden. I went on a cruise in Halong Bay, watched a water puppet show in Hanoi, bought tickets for museums in Laos – it was absolutely convenient.
I personally felt that it was more useful in Sweden where everything from a cup of coffee to a bar of chocolate can be bought on the card. However, in South East Asia, I needed cash at the local night markets. While I could withdraw cash from an ATM using the card, the banks do levy charges. I would recommend that you use the ATMs only if necessary. If you run out of money, you can always transfer the same from your bank account at any given point of time and you don’t need any authorisation for the same. The card is a virtual treasure when it comes to travel and I recommend that every traveller should get one! Ensure that you include it to your travel essentials list.
5. Tea Sachets and Dry Fruits
A lot of fellow travellers carry quite a bit of snacks with them including chocolates and protein bars. However, I am addicted to my dry fruits. My travel packing checklist always includes cashews and pistachios. Being a vegetarian, I sometimes feel hungry especially when am on the road and my energies drain away rather quickly. My pick me up are these dry fruit sachets and I have almonds, raisins, apricots and walnuts. I sometimes make my own trail mix as well. Another item on my list of travel essentials is a set of teabags. I am also addicted to tea and I need to have something to energise me when I travel. So I carry herbal teas – usually peppermint, green tea and chamomile and of course, my favourite is Earl Gray.
6. Facial Mist and Red Lipstick
Along with some sunscreen, moisturiser and a small bottle of perfume. I personally do not carry too many cosmetics with me and if I have red lipstick, then that is more than enough. My travel packing checklist also includes a small bottle of facial mist for long journeys, especially flights. Sunscreen is also mandatory in my list of travel essentials as I suffer from UV rays allergies. I am allergic to chemicals and hence I carry natural and ayurvedic products with me if possible. Along with my toiletries, I also carry a set of tissues, wet wipes and a small hand sanitiser as well.
7. Flip Flops and Sports Shoes
This is a no brainer as they form a part of every list of travel essentials. I don’t think I have travelled anywhere in the world without my shoes and flipflops. Every manual of a traveller insists that you carry them and I don’t think I need to elaborate any further.
8. Water Bottle
A water bottle has become mandatory for me and I don’t carry a plastic bottle. In my quest to be a sustainable traveller, I hope to reduce my consumption of plastic as much as I can and eliminate the use of single-use plastic. This is my resolution and to begin with, I have started carrying my own water bottle. It is the least that we can do for our planet right now. I strongly recommend this as one of my travel packing tips and it should be on every travel essentials list.
My husband laughs whenever he sees my photographs, where I pose in my favourite black jacket. He tells me that it looks like a uniform. But my jacket has been my faithful travel companion, especially when I travel abroad and it is always a part of my travel essentials list. It can rain anytime, anywhere and as someone who is not very fond of wet and cold weather, my snug ten-year-old jacket always travels with me. Of late, I do carry an umbrella or a poncho if rains are predicted as well.
A little diary is always my travel companion to record my thoughts and impressions about a new destination. Besides the personal jottings, it also jogs my memory later about places, names, and contacts. I am literally lost without my dear diary. Of late, I have also taken to journaling on a regular basis and I carry the little notebook also with me. Speaking of books, there is always one in my handbag or I read them on my Kindle app.
These are my personal favourites when it comes to planning a travel packing checklist and they form an integral part of my travel essentials list. Please share your travel packing tips as well and would appreciate it if you can leave a comment below.