Packing for your next vacation can sometimes be a hassle. Everyone has their standard for essentials and bare minimums. Whether you're an active backpacker or on holidays to relax, it's always good to plan ahead and create a checklist of must-have items. Our suggestion would be to keep it light, but think of unforeseen circumstances no matter the budget. So here's a list of 7 essentials to pack on your next trip abroad:

1. Map of Destination



via Pixabay

It may seem silly to even mention because we live in a technological age where Google interactive maps are at our fingertips pretty much everywhere. But even in this age and time, there are some restrictions when travelling, a difficult concept for those who are Wifi dependent. Not many people purchase international data plans and even when they do, they are limited- and don't forget expensive! A map will cost you less than the potential headache that can occur. But if you happen to forget to take a map along, don't fret! Pick one up for free with HostelCulture in any of the locations we cover free walking tours in like Dublin, Barcelona, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague!

2. Power Converter



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If you're travelling to Europe from North America- or vice versa- you will definitely need an adapter/converter for charging your phone, camera, and all other gadgets and gizmos. Pick one up from your local electronics store and never worry about charging your devices on the road...just don't forget your chargers. There are many different types of voltages used in various countries around the world. If you're not 100% sure about your destination's voltage, ask a sales rep for assistance or invest in a world adapter that has all the voltages for when you're ready to make that round the world trip. Another handy tip: if you have many electronics, charge them all at once by taking along a power bar with multiple outlets.

3. Entertainment



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Taking entertainment with you is definitely something you need to consider! If you're someone who gets bored quite easy, bring reading material and create a music playlist to make the road a little more enjoyable. Also consider killing time with a travel journal whether it's to write about your wild adventures, jot down phone numbers of your new travel friends, or just doodle. If you're travelling with buddies or want to make new friends, a pack of cards will also do the trick! Don't overpack, though - only take things you know you'll need and use! You'll have plenty of things to see and explore otherwise. Things to bring:

  • phone, with killer travel playlist and earphones

  • camera, with extra batteries and charger

  • magazine or download an app for e-magazines

  • one book or an e-reader ( just one, bookworms, or you risk packing on more luggage weight than needed)

  • travel journal and pen

  • deck of cards

4. Toiletries



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Keyword: SMALL! Keep bottles to a minimum, bring the basic toiletries in travel size (you can buy more on the road), and buy the rest once you've arrived at your destination. Especially if you're carrying one bag thorughout your journey, you'll need to keep in mind the rules for taking liquids onto the plane. Liquids must be stored in containers no bigger than 100ml, and you can bring as many of these containers as long as they all fit into a single 1L Ziploc bag. Packing tip: keep the liquids bag accessible for efficient and timely security checks.

List of bare minimums:

  • toothbrush

  • mini toothpaste

  • mini shower gel

  • mini shampoo and conditioner

  • wet sanitary napkins - these can be a godsend, especially if you'll spend a lot of time in the wilderness or travel a lot from one destination to the next

  • cotton ear swabs

  • hairbrush

  • deoderant

Things you can save space on and buy on the go:

  • shaving gel

  • razors

  • moisturizer

  • more toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, etc...

5. Basic First Aid Kit


Lauren Friedman via Flickr

You never know what you'll need for an unsettled stomach or nausea. The time change alone affects people in different ways. Grab an empty box or bag and fill it up with necessary items that will come in handy in emergency situations:

  • A few tablets of anti-inflammatories: this can be paracetamol, Tylenol, ibuprofen or aspirin (whatever works for you)

  • Activated charcoal

  • Anti-acids (Tums) or a small bottle of Pepto-Bismol

  • Band-aids: Yes. they especially come in handy when you've been on your feet all day and have to do a repeat the next day.

  • Gravol (Dimenhydrinate): great for people who hate flying, but love travelling. For a long flight, it calms nausea and helps you sleep for a good few hours.

  • Sunscreen: for all seasons! Never underestimate the winter sun

6. Travel Documents



Global Panorama via Flickr

Keep all your travel documents together. Your travel tickets and passport and travel tickets are the obvious papers you need, but don't overlook:

  • Insurance policy

  • Credit card

  • Emergency cash, to be used in emergencies only.

  • Vaccination certificates

  • Backup photocopies of these just in case they're misplaced

7. Weather-Appropriate Clothing and Accessories



via Pixabay

Never underestimate the weather and always plan ahead.

  • Is it is summer? Pack light, but think about the possibility of rain. It may be worth buying an umbrella when you reach your destination or take along a compact travel umbrella. If it's sunny don't forget you sunglasses and a hat. Even spending a little bit of time in the sun can take a toll on you at the end of the day. If you'll be near water, grab swimming gear (hey, why not).

  • Is it cold? Pack plenty of socks, a warm sweater/light jacket, hat, gloves, leggings, warm AND comfortable shoes. Bundle up and remember, layers are your friend.

  • Finally, don't underestimate a compact shoulder bag or daypack to carry your essentials like a bottle of water, map, your phone, camera, and a snack.

Is there anything on our packing list that is essential to you?


Aleksandra Koplik