10 Must-Pack Items That Aren't Clothing

Essentials For Any Trip

Packing for any trip might stress you out, but it shouldn’t. If you keep some basic things in your travel bag, it makes packing a lot less daunting, but also gives you a jump on being done sooner.

Obviously you’re always going to need the same things for all trips, like your toothbrush and underwear, but what about those other items that make travel easier you may not have on your vacation packing list? Don’t forget these 10 travel must-haves when you pack for all your trips, restocking as needed.

1. Antibacterial Wipes

When you travel, you come in contact with a lot of things a bunch of other people have touched. Even if that doesn’t bother you, there are germs galore present that can make you sick. Getting sick on vacation sucks.

Grab a couple travel-sized packets to keep in your carry-on and day bag and wipe down questionable surfaces and those known to be the germiest: hotel phones, remotes and airplane tray tables. They’re also nice to have on-hand when you need to wash your hands but you aren’t near a sink.

2. Backup Battery Charger

Isn’t it always the way? You pull your phone out of your pocket to take a picture of that cool temple or to text your friend and it’s dead, in the middle of the afternoon. You can’t very well charge it while you’re on the go.

Or can you? There are tons of battery backup chargers on the market, but to get the most power for your money, look for one that claims to be 4000mAh or higher. You will get at least two full charges out of it so you can use your phone for longer.

3. Compass

Phone navigation sometimes fails and it’s not always easy to figure out where you are on a map. Having a good old fashioned compass can save you the agony of getting lost for hours, especially in the middle of a city you aren’t familiar with.

4. Mesh Pop-Up Laundry Basket

If you want to travel carry-on only, chances are you’ll be doing laundry on your trip. A laundry basket is great for keeping your dirty clothes away from your clean ones and makes it easy to take your stuff to the laundry facilities. The mesh ones fold up and fit neatly in your bag.

5. Multi-Adapter

How is it that your chargers go into your bag nice and neat and come out looking like a big jumbled mess?

Eliminate pulling out the “ball of fury” by bringing one adapter that works with all your devices. Generally they will have changeable tips that work for different devices, so you only need one adapter and one cord. They’re easy to keep track of and easy to keep from snarling up like used holiday lights.

6. Packable Rain Jacket

Lots of people will take up space in their bag with a travel umbrella, but they can only use that for one purpose and they need one for everyone in their travel party. While you will also need to bring a rain jacket for each person, it isn’t just for rainy days. You’ll have another layer if the weather gets chilly, plus your hands will be free and you won’t risk poking strangers in the eye on the street.

7. Pen and Paper

Whether you’re taking notes for your travel journal, writing a thank you for room service, or need to get directions from someone, having a pen and paper can be invaluable wherever you are.

8. Small Bills and Change

Toll roads, bus fare, public toilets; there are a lot of things you will need change and small bills for. If you don’t have any cash, or only have large bills when you first arrive in a destination, you might find yourself in a bind because not everyone takes credit cards. Don’t get into a situation that could have been avoided by simple planning.

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9. Sunscreen

Even if your destination is cloudy, you can still get sunburned. In fact, overcast days can be worse than straight sunny days as clouds can magnify the sunshine and give you a worse burn faster.

Slather on the SPF every day before you leave your room and you won’t find yourself scouring the shops for aloe vera or looking back on vacation photos where you look like a lobster.

10. Zip-Top Bags

Bring multiple sizes of plastic bags. They take up almost no room and can be used for so many things: snacks, wet bathing suits, leftovers, liquid toiletries and compressing clothing to make room for souvenirs you’ve bought along the way.

Having necessary items already packed and ready to go with you leaves you free to just worry about what mix and match clothing pieces to take with you. You’ll be surprised by how much easier dealing with your travel bag is.

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