At this point, I've become a pretty savvy traveler, some months spending more time on the road than in my own house. However, it's always a good idea to take a step back and put together a list of what you need to pack to travel smart this year. There are so many things that you COULD take that sometimes it becomes confusing or worse ... you overpack and get a costly overweight surcharge at the airport. That sucks, so let's take a look at the critical gear you need to pack!
Documents and Identity
This is always at top of mind when it comes to traveling. In fact, I have a scan of my passport that I keep online and in my email but I also make sure to have my passport book and passport card in two different areas. It might be overkill but even when traveling domestically, make sure you always have at least two different forms of secure ID in case you run into issues.
Medication And Health Items
This is something you shouldn’t miss out, though; if you are on a particular medication, then you must take it with you. As mentioned, you can buy other things there, but if you have a particular prescription, then make sure you have enough to keep you going while you are away.
This one won’t come as any surprise. Still, if you’re going traveling for a few months, if you’re going to be going to different places or even in the one place for an extended period of time, then it’s a good idea to go to the doctors, the dentist and the optician before you go to check that you are healthy enough to go on your trip. This will save you from finding out that you are suffering from something a few weeks into it when you’re stuck on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Book yourself in with plenty of time so that the doctors can do any tests they need to and you’ll have the results back before you leave, do it so that the optician has enough time to order your new eyeglasses lenses or the dentist can fit you in for a treatment before you go.
Travel insurance is a must, and while you might feel like it’s a waste of money because you’ve never had to use it before if anything does happen, you’ll be very grateful that you have it. Obviously, if you’re doing any activities while you’re away, you’ll want to be covered by insurance. However, even if you’re not, it still gives you peace of mind that should anything happen, even just a trip or fall, you won’t be having to pay a fortune in medical bills that could totally ruin your trip.
Get Travel Vaccinations
You will have hopefully done your research about where you’re going, and even if you’re going to be spontaneous, you should check if you need to have any vaccinations or if you have had them then you need to make sure that they are up to date and you don’t need new ones before you travel. Again make sure you leave plenty of time for this as if you are going somewhere where you need vaccinations, then a full vaccination schedule should be started at least eight weeks before you go. Also, be aware that some travel vaccinations can expire, so it's best to keep a logbook with you at all times to keep track of when you last had your jabs.
To be honest, the rest of it probably doesn’t even need to be mentioned; you could go with pretty much the clothes on your back and your tech, and you would be okay because, as mentioned, you can get anything else you need out there. However, when it comes to the tech there is a lot. This is what has changed in recent years, and this is what has changed the way we live our lives. So, you’re going to need your phone, tablet, or laptop, or all three, and more importantly, you’re going to need to charge them. Get yourself a portable charger, so you don’t need to worry about losing your battery while you’re out and about. Then you need to decide if you take your camera or you use the one on your phone, do you also need a selfie stick? And don’t forget that for charging everything you’re going to need adapters for the sockets depending on which country you’re in. Finally, though, what good are all your devices if you have no data. If you rely on the internet and need to work while you’re away or need to be contactable as much as possible, then check out getting yourself a portable wireless router so that you have your own little Wi-Fi hotspot everywhere you go
Okay, you might want to look good in all your photos for Instagram, but realistically, you need to be practical when it comes to what clothes you take with you. Keep it to as little as possible, and that way you can buy more things while you’re away if you want to.
Look after your eyes, if you’re not used to being in the sun all the time, then you will really notice the brightness and it’s essential that you protect your eyes with decent sunglasses.
Make sure you’ve got whatever music saved in the cloud or downloaded to your phone so that you can access it for when you’re walking around taking in your surroundings or when you are waiting in queues or spending a whole day on a bus or boat.
While you can fit a load of books onto your phone, tablet, e-reader – whatever and this saves loads of space, if you love books then taking one or two can be fun because after you’ve read and enjoyed them you can pass them onto other travelers and they can give you theirs to read too.
There are lots of must-haves that you do need on your list, but you can get them while you’re out there. For example, don’t forget to buy things like sunscreen and bug spray while you are away, they are essentials, but you don’t have to take them with you when you can just buy them there. The most important thing is that you stay healthy, stay safe, and someone knows where you are.