Apart from the obvious things such as universal plugs and what I call the PMT (paper, money, ticket), there are a few items that I have to bring along for my travels, which will otherwise be partially dysfunctional without them. Whether or not you’re a frequent traveller, these little things will make your travel more seamless and enjoyable.
1. Purse Pen
If you’re in a hurry, this mighty little tool will save you time. It comes in handy when you’re given a landing card during your flights where you can fill up the details in advance instead of scrambling at the arrival hall filling the card while watching the crowd whisk past you, putting you right at the back of the queue at the immigration desks.
2. Coin pouch
This could probably be a personal preference; I always carry my little APC half moon coin pouch on every trip to keep the foreign pennies apart from my local currencies. Not only it’s useful, it actually has a safety aspect in my opinion. Since local debit cards are useless abroad, I tend to carry quite a bit of cash when out travelling just in case of emergencies. However, all we really need most of the time is a few dollars here and there for food, tickets and other little buys. Having a coin pouch with all that change makes it easier and safer to pay in public without having to whip out a purse full of stash.
3. Travel Pouch
And it must hang! A hook on this travel kit makes it a lot more useful than just organising your toiletries. I have one small nylon hanging pouch from Muji and it can surprisingly fit quite a few things, including my Oral B electric toothbrush and charger. This pouch is especially useful when you stay in accommodations where space is limited, you can easily hang this on towel rails or hooks.
4. Water bottle
Catching a bug before your trip even starts will ruin the entire holiday. When it comes to travelling, my number rule is to stay hydrated. It has been advised in general to drink plenty of fluids especially in-flight. It is no surprise if you feel a little thirsty and dry in the throat when in the aircraft. The humidity is much lower than usual and half the cabin air is re-circulated, which also makes catching viruses such as cold a lot easier.
As most airplanes only serve drinks nearly an hour after takeoff, I would always ask the flight attendants to fill up my bottle (the wide mouth Nalgene’s my favourite) as soon as I board. This also saves them from having to go back and forth if you need to refill the tiny cups that are used to serve drinks. You might also want to avoid taking beverages that counter hydration such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks. The added bonus of having a refillable bottle is it saves you from buying and discarding plastic water bottles throughout the entire trip, saving not just money but also our Mother Earth.
With the dry air in aircrafts and cold temperatures, my hands and feet feel drier than usual and would need a good lotion to rub on (Loccitane Fleur Cherie being my recommended choice, the texture isn’t too thick, doesn’t leave your hands feeling greasy nor gives a strong odour). And because I also wash my hands quite often when out and about, without these convenient pocket size hand cream, one would think I’ve aged ten years!
Of course, the camera. As a blogger and active social media user, capturing great photos means so much to me that the iPhone 5 camera alone doesn’t cut it. I usually take photos on both devices; one for live Tweet and Instagram, the other with a larger capacity for taking photos with a much better quality and for editing at a later time. (I use the Fujifilm Finepix X100 with a BWGH camera strap)
7. Power Bank
To have my gadgets up and running while on the go is so vital. A perfect view and moment doesn’t come often so if my camera and phone run out of juice, it’s a missed opportunity forever. I have a spare battery for the camera as well as a lightweight lipstick size portable power bank, the Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh. It does the job, carries just enough juice for nearly two full cycle recharge for my iPhone 5. This has saved me in times of desperation.