1. Travel Alarm Clock-Talk about a bummer if you oversleep for an important event. A lot of you may use your cell phones as alarm clocks, but when traveling abroad, this may not be so reliable. Spend a few bucks to have an alarm clock to get you where you need to be on time.
2. Poster Tube-Souvenirs can be expensive and take up too much space. Posters are an easy solution to capturing moments without spending too much or taking up empty space in your bag. I constantly look at my posters and I am instantly reminded of past adventures.
3. Audio Recorder-This item is not only good for people considering an audio journal, but also for anyone wanting to capture the audio memories. Maybe you hear a band playing on the street or have an opportunity to talk to someone that you’d like to record. Sometimes I feel a stronger connection listening to the tone of my voice as I describe memorable moments than any photo or journal entry. I love looking back at my perspective during that snapshot of time. This small, handy device can be useful in multiple situations.
4. Copy of Important Documents-Make copies of your passport, credit cards, license, and anything else that would be important to have if it was lost. Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with losing a passport or credit card, but being prepared for it is smart.
5. Ziploc Bags-I collect odd things sometimes. Rocks, sand, and other little trinkets. Ziplocs take up little to no space, are cheap, and they may be useful in the future.
6. Friend/Family Addresses-Postcards mean more than you might know. I am a teacher and anytime I travel I ask students to jot down their info if they want a postcard. A few minutes can make a big impact.
7. Band aids-Blisters, cuts, broken nails, and more can put a little damper on your comfort. You will probably need a band aid, so take some with you.
8. Back-up Bag-Carry-on is the way to go, but sometimes you find cool stuff along the way. Go with just carry-on, but have a backup bag for souvenirs on the trip home. I typically check my original carry-on bag and use a new bag for the plane ride. Some bags only take up about one cubic inch of space.
9. Packing Cubes-If you are traveling to multiple destinations, this can be very time-saving. I went on a 21-day trip that involved no more than two nights in each location. I ended up repacking each time we went somewhere new. With packing cubes, you can pack strategically and avoid repacking each time you visit a new place.
10. Swiss Army Knife (Checked Luggage)-Corkscrew, scissors, knife, nail file, the options are endless.
What do you take with you that is an essential packing element?
Want more packing advice? Check out my packing 101 video or packing secrets post.