I’m currently on a travel project and that’s possibly what inspired this post but I thought I’d share what I learned over the many, many travel projects that I have been on to hopefully help you in your travels.
Carry ear plugs and a sleeping mask with you (keep spares in your luggage)
You never know what’s going to go on at night at the hotel, outside your window, etc. and quite frankly, you do not want to be bothered at night if something does happen. That’s why I always travel with at least ear plugs and a sleeping mask. Don’t have a sleeping mask? You can use a dark t-shirt draped over your eyes as a makeshift sleeping mask. I cannot necessarily control what happens outside of my room but at the very least, I can try to block out extraneous noise or light that might otherwise disturb my beauty rest.
I haven’t tried using a portable noise machine but I know that Tim Ferriss recommends travelling with one as that can also help to block out any noise (such as that coming from the AC or vents).
If you do work on your laptop, try to carry a CAT5 cable
I find that most hotels will have free wifi so it’s not a big issue but a lot of the hotels these days have an extra CAT5 port where you can connect through a wired connection but they often do not supply a cable (or at least I have not asked for one). I also think that carrying an extension cord can be useful though not absolutely necessary – I find that this is hit or miss at hotels – some have great ‘workstations’ where there are lots of plugs available for your laptop and other electronic devices, other hotels you have to move the desk away and unplug several lamps to make room to charge your devices
Pro tip – don’t have enough USB ports to charge your devices? The TV often has some extra ports that you can use to charge your devices though some TVs you do need them on before they will start charging.
Have a portable toiletry kit ready to go
Although I don’t travel as much anymore, I did travel quite a bit and I always kept a portable toiletry kit ready to go at a moment’s notice. What’s inside the toiletry kit? Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, bandaids, sunscreen, moisturizer, electronic shaver, nail clipper, mouth wash and a small package of napkins (absolutely essential if you are traveling to some places in China where there is no toilet paper). Although not in my toiletry kit, I also keep some allergy meds in my backpack which can also go into your toiletry kit along with some aspirin.
A ready to go package of workout clothing – shorts, t-shirt, socks, footwear
Working out is key to traveling and I almost never travel anywhere without some sort of work out clothing. Most hotels these days have fitness centres and there are even some hotels that will provide work out clothing for you (Fairmont I think has this service).
Extra pair of briefs and socks
No matter how light you travel, I try to always carry an extra pair of briefs and socks – they’re light weight, don’t take up a lot of room but can become super handy when you stay an extra night unexpectedly.
A good book
People often scold me for carrying too many good books but that’s another topic. Just the fact that you are traveling means that you are going to have time for reading and that’s the perfect time to really dig into a book without worrying about constant notifications, e-mails or pings from others.
A portable charger
You probably don’t have the same problems (or phone) that I do, but my phone is quite bad – power drains so quickly that I barely have any power left after an hour. Keeping a charger is essential if you need to keep in touch with someone or just need a map to get you home in a foreign country. I really like the Anker chargers but any small charger works just great.
A small notebook
I use the notebook to write down ideas but I also use it sometimes to write down some of my thoughts on the places that I travel to and the things that I saw, did or ate there. Time passes us by so quickly and the way to slow down time, I think, is to write down what happened and reflect on it in the future.
Absolutely essential given that a lot of hotels these days don’t give out bottled water (although some do). If you can’t find a place to fill up your water bottle, check the fitness centre. Heck some fitness centres even have apples or fruit in baskets for you so that’s a convenient way of getting some fruit without having to go out and buy it yourself.
Tide to go
Mostly for those that travel for business but a tide to go can be really useful when you accidentally spill or stain something while on the go. It won’t magically fix every stain but it does enough until you can wash it later.
I think I read somewhere that when you go to a foreign country, you get sick not because of the food, but because you are not used to the local water there. Tums won’t help you solve that problem completely but I find that it helps with consuming food that you have not grown accustomed to yet.
That’s it from me! I scoured my luggage, backpack and toiletry kit to find all the things that I normally carry around with me. What are your tips for travel? What do you carry around with you all the time whenever you travel?