10 Must Pack Tiny Essentials
Words by Emilee Morehouse
So you want to see the world? Great! Backpacking can be one of the most empowering and enchanting experiences, but as a solo traveler, ex-expat and travel blogger I can confidently say that venturing out into the unknown, without fully preparing, can be one of the most self destructive ways to start your journey.
While, of course, it’s important to check off all the essentials - there are little things that you learn along the way that make traveling so much easier. Knowing which pack to buy and where to get the cheapest plane ticket is great, but when you’re stuck in an airport at 4am in the morning, it hardly matters which REI bag you checked in. It really is the little things that can take your trip from good to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Here are the top 10 little things I never travel without:
Eye Mask: This is my absolute do or die. Especially if you’re going to be staying at hostels, you’ll want to bring along a eye mask that you can slip over your dreaming eyelids, so that you aren’t disturbed by the sorority girls stumbling into their beds at 4am. You also never know how light and bright rooms, buses and planes will be. I also love using my own eye mask, while flying, rather than the disposable ones given on international flights.
Earplugs: Again, a must have for planes and hostels, I never travel without having three - five pairs of earplugs (because they’re tiny and so easy to lose!). When you find yourself sleeping in shared spaces (think snoring), earplugs can be an invaluable addition to your packing list for getting those 40 winks.
Rechargeable Phone Battery: This one I learned the hard way. There’s nothing worse than watching your phone battery die, and knowing you can’t connect to any of the outlets in a country. Since then, I always take a rechargeable phone charger with me. Not only is it peace of mind, it allows you to feel prepared for whatever travel throws at you, and let’s be honest, that can be anything. I personally travel with a Duracell Portable Power Battery, 4000 mAh® which retails for about $30 and has saved my life on my multiple occasions, but there are lots of affordable options out there!
Adaptors: This is something to definitely think about BEFORE you land in an airport that will charge you three times the price because you’ve forgotten to pack one. This also gets chalked up to doing a lot of research before you go to a location. Check what devices you can plug in, what kind of adapter you’ll need and make sure you grab it before you leave for your trip!
Change: You may be thinking about getting some bills exchanged before you head to a new country, but you may also want to get a little change to go with it. Change can be important for going into public restrooms, getting snacks from vending machines and it also never hurts to have smaller forms of payments for shops where you don’t want to throw down large bills.
Glasses: Whether you regularly wear them or not, it’s always a good idea to bring day glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses in case you lose your contacts, or just have a sleepy day when you need to have the relief. Oh! And be sure to grab a travel case, as well! I usually try to fit a couple pairs in a hard case with a protective sheet in between the two pairs.
Neck Pillow: For so long I travelled without one and that was such a mistake. Don’t make the same mistake - invest in a neck pillow (no matter how “weird” they look). Oh! And the best part of grabbing this item? You can get super cute ones! My personal favorite neck pillows come in the shape of animals, such as squirrels and cats but there are a variety - grab one to match your personality.
Reusable Canvas Bag: This is something I’ve started stuffing into my pack, lately. It’s so nice to have a cute canvas bag when you’re traveling. Not only does it double as a shopping bag and purse, but it also is great if you just need a little more room for souvenirs on your way around. Plus, it takes barely any room in your luggage!
Refreshment Pack: I always bring along a little pouch filled with a few things essentials that help me feel refreshed when traveling. Here’s what’s in my little pouch:
Basic makeup (blush, mascara and some eye liner)
A pair of clean panties (you may laugh, but this is some of the best travel advice I’ve ever followed)
A small bit of chocolate
This pouch can be a great lift me up when I’m tired and wandering. I always make sure to keep with me in my purse, rather than in my overhead pack, or any checked in luggage. I can’t say how much value I’ve found in just being able to freshen up, especially after an 8 hour flight or right before meeting people at the airport.
A Pen And A Small Notebook: Sometimes you just need a pen. Whether I’m signing into a hostel, taking notes or writing out directions, I always keep one on me, and a small Moleskin notebook, as well. Time and time again this has proved so helpful, and especially if you’re in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable whipping out your smartphone, you’ll be thankful you’ve brought one along.