Packing for a trip is always a bit of a pain in the bum. Deciding on what to take because it’s necessary for your trip and what you can afford to leave behind can be a challenge. I’ve improved a lot over the years when it comes to this but I still catch myself in a ‘panic’ about it.
What if the weather is hot?
I’ll need to take multiple warm weather outfits.
But what if it ends up being cold?
I’ll need to take that jumper/cardigan/appropriate footwear to keep myself warm. And so on. I do tend to make myself lists to be more practical about what I take.
I also tend to go with hand luggage instead of hold luggage, depending on how long I’m going to be away for, where I’m visiting and who I’m with. I find that it’s cheaper because everyone gets a hand luggage allowance on flights (so why pay for hold luggage if you don’t need to?) and it’s easier to manage. When I was in France, I bought myself a nice, solid suitcase that matched the size requirements of hand luggage for EasyJet flights and it’s been so useful ever since. It’s also bright purple… but that’s beside the point.
All of that aside, and excluding the obvious essentials (clothes, money, passport, tickets, etc.), everyone has their essential items for taking on their person that they couldn’t do without, whether they’re travelling by plane, train, bus or even as a passenger in a car. So, here are my top 5 essential travel items:
1. Headphones and iPod
I take my headphones and iPod with me wherever I go. It is my number one must-have and I feel so wrong when I don’t have one or both with me (I can listen to music on my phone but I prefer my iPod). I love listening to my iPod while I’m travelling as it means that I can block out the world around me with my own music, usually enjoying the scenery go by. It helps relax me too.
2. Notepad and pen(cil)
I don’t always use my notepad while I’m actually travelling but it feels strange without it because it always comes in handy at some point. Sometimes I’ll just take notes to look up later (if I don’t have internet access), draw in it if I get bored, or use it as a type of diary to write down what I’ve been doing. I did this when I was interrailing a few years ago – using the time travelling between countries/cities to document what I did in the last city – which was helpful for when I got home and also for identifying pictures I took because you inevitably forget what they are.
3. Comfy shoes and jumper
I always prefer to wear comfy clothes and shoes when I’m travelling. I’ll usually wear my Converse which are easy to slip on and off and a hoodie or jumper of some sort is a must. Not just for warmth, but generally for comfort too. Even when I’m going to events, if I can avoid wearing my ‘formal’ wear as long as possible in favour of comfortable clothes, I will. I travelled to Glasgow for a friend’s wedding a few years ago and I changed into my outfit in Central Station’s bathrooms! Why not allow yourself to be more comfortable while you can?!
Depending on what I’m reading at the time, I’ll take some form of reading material for travelling. I quite often read on my phone but I also enjoy being able to get lost in a good book to pass the time. I’m currently slowly working my way through all the Sherlock Holmes books which is a handy one to dip in and out of, especially when travelling.
5. Deodorant & hairbrush
As I’m sure is the same for other people, I like to be able to freshen up during and/or after travel. I always have a 50-75ml can of deodorant or body spray handy (gotta be able to get it through security at the airport) and a hairbrush to tame my tangled hair that looked great when I left the house but not so much now (Why do I bother doing my hair when it never lasts more than 15 minutes outside). These little things help me feel more presentable and comfortable for the journey ahead.
I’m sure that last one really encouraged you to sit next to me on any form of public transport but c’est la vie. Those are my travel essentials!