International trips don’t have to be scary when you know how to prepare. Whether you’re going away on business, going on a quick getaway or taking an extended trip for culture-seeking around the world, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need when you’re thousands of miles away from home. Packing truly is an art form, so prepare to tap into your inner-Picasso. Being a smart packer takes creativity, patience, organization and attention to detail. Below are the top 10 items that will make life easy on an international trip.
1. Unlocked Phone
Whatever country/ies you go to, you might want to grab a local sim card with 3 or 4G capabilities. This will make life easier when booking accommodation on the go, using Uber or Lyft, or making a call to your hotel.
An easy and versatile style of footwear, flip-flops or thongs are great for walking from your room to the shared bathroom in a hostel, wearing poolside, or throwing in your day-bag if your other shoes become uncomfortable or broken. They’re light and don’t weigh much, so they won’t make much difference in the weight of your bag.
3. Travel Sleep Items
Many people like to bring a travel pillow (the inflatable ones pack quite small) to make international flights more bearable. Upgrade your rest by bringing an eye mask and earplugs. A large scarf can double as a blanket if you’re tight on space and weight.
Many medications won’t be available abroad so make sure to bring a supply of any medications you are on. Always bring the accompanying prescription, as some medications are restricted in certain countries.
5. Outlet Adapters
Do some research beforehand to know what style of plug is used in the country you’re headed to. A larger multi-adapter is good if you’re visiting several countries, though they do tend to be a little heavy. A small collection of single plug adapters will work just as well. These are my favorite.
6. Extra Headphones
You probably already don’t go anywhere without your headphones, but bringing an extra pair is often overlooked. If you lose or break your original pair, getting a replacement can be a little harder than you’d expect if you don’t know where to look for them. You may only be able to find knockoff brands of low quality, which will make those long train rides unpleasant.
You’ll probably be using your phone a lot on long flights or bus rides, so make sure you have some backup power, especially if there aren’t any sockets available when you need them. Keep a small battery charged for emergencies, even the game-playing kind.
8. External Hard drive
If you take a lot of photos, you may want to bring a spare hard drive for extra storage. You can also pack it with movies or episodes of your favorite TV show to fend off boredom during a long bus or train ride. Even if you don’t carry a laptop, you can still take it to an internet café to move photos from your camera SD card to the hard drive to open up space.
9. Local Phrase Book
Whether you’re going to Morocco or Malaysia, bringing a local phrase book is a good idea. Study it a little before you go to learn the basics like “hello” and “thank you.” When it comes to looking for a sight to see or food to buy, easy to read phrases will help immensely.
10. Wet Wipes
We all know that hours on transportation is less than helpful when it comes to feeling clean. A small pack of wet wipes can be used for a quick “pit shower” or facial refresher in the bathroom. They also work well if they amenities in said bathroom are somewhat lacking.
BONUS!!! 11. Extra Bags
Empty bags for purchases you make on your trip can helps tons for the ride back. You will not need them on the way there but who goes abroad and doesn’t buy anything. Have an extra bag you can store your newly purchased items so you are not stressing on how you will get things back home.
So just remember the cardinal rule of traveling abroad: pack as light as possible. Regardless of where you’re headed, you’ll likely spend a lot of time on your feet in between destinations. You don’t want to be bogged down by heavy luggage filled with stuff you probably could have left back home. You’ll never meet a traveler who, after five trips, brags: “Every year I pack heavier.” You can’t travel heavy, happy, and cheap. Pick two.