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7 Essentials of Travel

Plenty of times my passengers have stopped me on the way to the airport to ask if they could return home because they’ve forgotten something essential, like a wallet, a passport, or their airline tickets. For this reason, when I go traveling, I’ve come up with a list of seven essential items never to leave home without.

  1. Passport/Identification: These days I can’t board train, plane, or bus tour without showing my identity card. Whether trying to catch a flight to Dublin or attempting to buy a pint in the United States, lack of identity can leave a traveler stranded and parched.
  2. Money: Actual cash isn’t necessary anymore, but having a few paper notes never hurts. In addition, some type of credit card is vital to traveling, whether I want to buy the odd duty free bottle of scotch, a locally crafted antimacassar, or a simple cup of coffee.
  3. Comfortable shoes: When I trekked up the slopes of Machu Picchu, I brought along sturdy, weatherproof hiking shoes to wear. If I’m in Brussels for a conference, walking shoes may not be de rigueur, but a comfortable pair of slippers will come in handy at the end of a long day. Something to look forward to while subjugating split infinitives with the client.
  4. Phone: Unless I’ve purposely planned one of those “Castaway” vacations, its requisite for me to have a means of communicating with someone in civilization, whether its the boss, the family, or the stubborn customer service people when something goes awry. Inevitably, something always manages to fall outside the plan and at these times a phone is not optional.
  5. Camera: Whether I’m spending a weekend at Dover or seeing the beaches of Ipanema, I’m never without a means of taking a photo. That’s just me, of course, but I also hear plenty of my passengers complaining that their trip was ruined when they discovered they’d left the camera at home.
  6. Hand Sanitizer: It’s a dirty, dirty world and something has to keep me clean on the go. Wipes or gel, the sanitizer is my best friend in airplane seats, at motel rooms, and public restrooms that ignore soap. Since I’m not always sure I can find sanitizer while riding a tuk-tuk or gazing at baobab trees, I bring some on every travel.
  7. Water bottle: When I’m not drinking from glass or paper cups, I take advantage of the world’s free water to fill up my aluminum water bottle. Yes, I’m helping the environment by not wasting plastic bottles, but the empty bottle is also providing me with the perfect receptacle for ticket stubs, loose buttons, and other tidbits I acquire on travel.

What is in your essential travel bag?

10 replies »

  1. I do a ton of outside work, and hiking so I always have a extra pack of AA batteries and my trusty Rhino GPS (complete with weather radio, two way radio, etc..), but getting a topo view of my surrounds, (and a trusty bread crumb trail to get me back to my start point or destination) always make me feel better about heading out on those wide open hikes and drives. And it also offers limited communications in case of an emergecy. I know that does not go for “world wide” use, but the GPS has helped me lots on several of my outings. So, it always get’s brought along. And lastly, I also have a pocho or a couple of large plastic bags tucked away, for trash, rain, wind and dust.

  2. Spare batteries for the camera… unless you’re still using film (in which case you need spare film). Can’t imagine going anywhere without a camera.

    • Batteries or chargers for all your electronic gadgets is a must. You wouldn’t want to be carrying a device that ran out of power. As for the camera, 100% agree. I have a digital kit these days, but there’s still something I enjoy about recording snaps with my 35mm camera. Nostalgia I guess.

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