Who doesn’t love to travel? Being on vacation is the highlight of the year, and even being away on a business trip can be a great experience, as you get to visit new locations, try new restaurants, take in new scenery, and sleep in a bed that someone else will make for you.
But as much as being in a new city, town, or exotic location can be a wonderful experience, traveling to get there is generally not the highlight of the trip. Usually, traveling simply the part you must endure to get where you are going.
Before you ever leave your home, it’s essential that your travel bag is packed with some essential must-haves for the trip.
After all, you can never be completely certain that your checked suitcase will arrive with you, so your travel bag needs to contain the basics to hold you over for a day or two, should your larger bag be misplaced. And because a carry-on bag has to be able to fit in the overhead compartment, there are many items that you can’t bring.
So, on top of your wallet with an ID, money, cards, and passport, what are some of the other most vital items?
1. Change of Clothes
It’s important to have a clean change of clothes plus sleepwear in your carry-on bag. One pair of pants or a skirt, a weather-appropriate shirt, underwear, a set of pyjamas or nightgown, and clean socks.
Tightly rolling your clothes will take up less room in your bag than folding. Bringing lightweight leggings, rather than heavy denim jeans is a good idea to save room and weight. If you have a big enough carry-on bag, you can even add an extra clean shirt and a sweater.
These basics will hold you over for 24 hours, which should be enough time for your luggage to arrive. Alternatively, you can do a little shopping for replacements.
2. Phone and accessories
The phone is obvious, but besides your phone, you’ll want to have your phone’s charger and cords with you as well as noise-cancelling headphones.
Always keep your charger with your phone while you travel. If your checked baggage gets misplaced, you don’t want to have to waste time running out to look for a new charger.
With your carry-on, you’ll want to have travel time entertainment material. This includes a book or magazines, and your iPad or Tablet along with some movies and games downloaded to be used in-flight and during layovers.
Crossword puzzles or sudoku are also great to pass time on a plane and to keep your brain from getting travel-weary.
In your carry-on, you should always have a small toiletry bag with the basics. That includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, travel-size deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturizer, and a small bag of basic makeup essentials for women or shaving essentials for men.
Flights have a way of making a traveller sleepy, even if they occur during the daytime.
In order to save yourself a stiff neck upon arrival, it’s a good idea to bring along a travel pillow or a special neck pillow for traveling.
These can make all the difference between a good nap during a flight, or waking up with your head on the shoulder of the stranger seated next to you.
Sleeping during a flight can also help prevent jet lag, and is sometimes advisable if you are traveling to a different time zone to help you adjust to the change in circadian rhythm that results from changing time zones.
6. Sleep essentials
Besides a travel pillow, if you really want a good sleep during travel, you should bring along a sleep mask, earplugs, and melatonin.
Taking a five mg tablet of melatonin will make you fall asleep even if it’s not a time of day that you would normally sleep or nap but will wear off in a few hours. Furthermore, the melatonin tablet allows you to fully awaken and feel sharp with no groggy sleeping pill hangover.
7. Water Bottle
It’s important to either buy or fill a bottle of water once you are through security, so you can remain fully hydrated during your trip.
Air travel exposes you to dry, recycled air that can leave you feeling parched and dry without proper hydration.
8. Notebook and pens
If you are like most of us, the minute you try to go anywhere without a pen and paper, it ends up being the first thing you need.
Whether you need one to make a list, jot down an address, write a reminder, or doodle, a pen will always be a travel essential.
9. Travel pack of wipes, or cleansing towelettes.
These are indispensable during travel. You can use them to wipe your hands after eating, to clean your tray table and armrests, and in a pinch, you can use these as a makeup remover or to freshen up between showers.
They also help you to feel a little cleaner during and after using an in-flight restroom.
Another no-brainer, having some snacks with you can save you from having a miserable trip or from giving in to the temptation to buy overpriced aeroplane food.
Energy or protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and chocolate are all great to bring with you on a plane to keep hunger at bay and pass the time.
Remember, it’s always advisable to pack your travel bag with the heavier things on the bottom. Put anything that could leak in a sealed ziplock bag to prevent disaster.
Moreover, put the things you’ll need during your flight such as a book, tablet, neck pillow, and headphones on the top. This way you don’t have to risk wrinkling your clothes when you rifle through your bag while you travel.
With these essentials in your travel bag, your flight will go smoothly and comfortably, and even if your luggage is lost, you won’t be floundering around a strange city trying to shop for immediate replacements the moment you arrive.