We have all made the mistake of over packing, and at the same time being completely and totally unprepared. While I brought many items with me that I didn’t need, there were so many more that I wish I had brought instead. There are some I was incredibly thankful I brought as well. Thus, I created my list of the top ten items you should bring with you to make your next journey easier. From personal hygiene to fantastic sleep to entertainment, these top travel items are must haves wherever your journey takes you.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #10: Extra Phone Battery or Portable Charger
First up on my list of top travel items you never you needed is an extra phone battery, or portable charger. Your phone is probably the item you always have on you, no matter where you go. Whether you take a ton of pictures, write in your phone notes, read books, or spend your time on Google Maps because you are lost, it is a good idea to carry an extra (charged) battery or portable charger.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #9: A Poncho
Next on my list of top travel items is a ponco. It sounds rather silly. I am sure nearly everyone this post is thinking they wouldn’t be caught dead in poncho. And that may be true. I certainly thought I would much rather look like a drowned rat than ever wear a poncho; however, a poncho makes for an excellent rain cover for your backpack along your travels.
It keeps your backpack from getting too drenched. Which then keeps it from starting to give off a rather unpleasant odor. More importantly, it keeps your expensive electronics and priceless souvenirs from meeting their end. It also, if you are in a sticky situation, can provide as a good cover or blanket. Hopefully you never make it that far though.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #8: A Journal (And A Pen)
Coming up next at number eight for the top travel items I recommend, is a jounral and pen. A journal was one of my favorite items that I brought with me on my travels. It helped me remember dates and times of the places I’d been. Likewise, I used it to keep track of the people I met along the way. While I wouldn’t recommend using one quite this big, it was still nice to be able to write down all my adventures. I highly encourage using even bullet points to describe your trip, as it makes it easier to remember all the amazing sites you say and all the fantastic experiences you had along the way.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #7: First Aid, Manicure, and Sewing Kit
The next top travel item you never knew you needed is a first aid/manicure/sewing kit. I am including these all together as they combine to make a nice, whatever you need at the moment kit. My sewing kit didn’t do me much use, as I am horrible at sewing, but it makes for a quick patch if say, you got a hole in your only pants. Due to how much walking you do, mole skin was my number one favorite item in this kit. You will eventually get horrible blisters and moleskin will be your lifesaver, simply cut it off (using your handy scissors from your manicure kit) and stick it on top of your blisters. You’ll be set to walk another twenty miles the next day.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #6: Laundry Soap
After the kits, I am listing top travel item number six as laundry soap. This was one of the top things I was incredibly happy I decided to buy on a whim. It is Treks and Travel Laundry Wash, and happens to be TSA compliant. It’s also perfect for washing your four week old clothes in the hostel sink. It saved me quite a bit of money, as hostels usually charge a nice fee to wash clothing. While it is a pain to hang dry them, I usually hung them in the morning before I left. By the time I returned, they were dry.
Because this doesn’t clean your clothes are well as you might be used to, I recommend throwing them in the washer once in a while. I used this for almost eight weeks though and never had a problem. It is also environementally friendly. So for those of you who like to camp in the backcountry, try it out. (Note: No, I don’t get paid for writing this. I just really, really liked the product.)
Item You Never Knew You Needed #5: Moist Towelettes
Ew. I know we all hate the word ‘moist’, but these really came in handy. At number five, I really do recommend buying moist towelettes. When you are constantly on the move, you don’t always have the time to clean yourself up well. It was nice to have the face towelettes for when you got off an eight hour bus ride with no air conditioning. I didn’t have regular body ones, which was one thing I wish I had brought. Perhaps then we wouldn’t have had to be gross humans as, yes, we showered in a bidet in Milan. (This was one of the lower points of our trip in Italy. If you don’t know what a bidet, don’t look it up. I am already moderately embarrassed at revealing that bit of information.)
Item You Never Knew You Needed #4: Shower Shoes
Next on my top travel items are shower shoes! Out of everything on this list, this is one of the few items you really don’t need to spend any money on. If you can’t afford a $1 pair of flip flops from you neighbourhood Walmart (or wherever you like to shop), you probably shouldn’t be traveling. These will be you best friend as you brave the hostel showers. They are deplorable. I can honestly say I have seen frat houses with cleaner showers than some of those in hostels, a feat in and of itself. If you don’t want some form of athlete’s foot, I would invest in a cheap pair of these. They are lightweight and truly worth their extra weight. You will spend most of your trip walking; your feet are your friends. Treat them nicely.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #3: Eyemask and Earplug set
Now, topping out at number three of my top travel item list is an eyemask and eaplug set. These were a couple things I really wish I had invested in before my trip. If your adventures have you planning on sleeping in a public setting, these will become your best friends. Whether it is a hostel, bus, ferry, or park bench, these are nice as you are able to get some better quality shut-eye. make you able to ignore your fellow hostel mates, whose snoring make them sound
Item You Never Knew You Needed #2: Sleeping Bag Liner
Now for number two, the next on my top travel list is a sleeping bag liner. I cannot even count how many times this small, portable liner saved my life, or at least my comfort. This one was the lightest they had, but you can get thicker one if you would prefer. While not incredibly warm, it served many purposes: a blanket for chilly bus rides, a bug cover for nights spent sleeping on ferry decks, and a sheet replacement for disgusting, bed bug, ridden hostel matresses. I even wore it as a toga for a hostel toga party in Corfu. The possiblities are endless.
As a side note, you should know an easy way to check for bed bugs. Enter the room when it is dark and keep your eyes peeled around the bed and walls. Quickly flip on the lights. If you see bugs quickly scattering up the walls and in the sheets, you have bed bugs. You should probably use your handy sheet liner, or the better option, switch rooms.
Item You Never Knew You Needed #1: Hand Soap
Finally, topping the list and coming in at number one, is hand soap. Yes, this seems ridiculous to anyone who is not afraid of germs; having your own hand soap is more handy than you might think. While hostels provide bars of soap to wash your hands, this is one of the most prominent causes for travler’s diarrhea. Think about it, every single person in that hostel is touching the soap. As a result, you won’t be able to travel for a couple days if you catch it, putting your plans on hold. The last thing you want to be is on a bus with no bathroom at that moment. Do yourself, and everyone else a favor, and use your own soap if the hostel is providing communal bars.
Item You Never Knew You Needed Runner Up: Fleece Pullover
Okay, so this item is completely unrelated but I thought it was one of my favorite items I had brought on the trip. Pullovers are cute and can be pulled off on a chilly night as casual wear. Any sporting goods store, and sometimes department stores, will carry flecce pullovers/jackets. They also work as a good pillow or a small blanket.
What did you think about the items? Are there any that you think I missed? What will you be bringing with you on your next trip, now that you’ve read this article? Comment below and be sure to subscribe to the blog as well as follow us on all social media to be the first to get updates on the best gear, travel advice, and adventure spots.