8 Things You Should Always Bring With You On A Trip
You may think you’re good to go with your fancy dress, sunblock, and your special-occasion-only lipstick but there’s more to it than that.
As someone who travels quite a bit, I’ve learned there are things you should never leave home without – and I mean besides your credit cards, as what I just wrote sounded like a credit card commercial. Whether you travel near or far, there are certain things that you should always have in your travel arsenal. You may think you’re good to go with your fancy dress, sunblock, and you special-occasion-only lipstick but there’s more to it than that.
1. Tissues or toilet paper.
When you get outside the United States, and especially head to Asia, you’ll find that a lot of cultures don’t use toilet paper the way we do. While some places do have a hose so you can clean yourself, some places have nothing at all. That's why you should never, EVER be without a pack of tissues or a roll of paper. If you've lived your whole life wiping your bottom after you poop and suddenly you can't then, well, things will get weird for you.
2. Antibacterial wipes.
True story: I was recently out in the jungles of Cambodia and we came upon an eatery where the utensils were just kept in a cup of water. What this means is that the last person who used them, just stuck them in the water – no soap mind you—and you were just supposed to use them as if they were “clean.” That is not my idea of clean. So, I pulled out my pack of antibacterial wipes and cleaned them off… under the table and very stealthily, of course, so I wouldn’t insult them.
3. A portable phone charger.
Investing in my portable phone charger, which I think was about $30 if I recall correctly, was literally the smartest thing I’ve ever done. In a society that is so dependent upon their phones, to NOT have a portable phone charger (especially since we all know the battery life on some of our phones totally sucks) is just a dumb idea. There’s nothing worse than being lost in a foreign land, going to check your phone, and realizing it’s dead. Which brings us to…
4. A paper map.
Of course no one wants to be that tourist on the street with their big paper map, but you also don’t want to be so lost that you end up on the wrong side of town because your phone died and you didn’t listen to my advice about the portable phone charger. Sure, you’ll look like a dorky tourist if you need to pull it out, but it’s better than being lost.
5. Really comfortable shoes.
I realize that when you travel, you want to go out and buy the fanciest shoes so when you wander those Parisian streets people will actually mistaken you for being Parisian. Who doesn’t want to be mistaken for being a Parisian? But the problem is, whether you’re in Paris, Amsterdam, or on the streets of Bangkok, you want your old, grungy, broken-in shoes for all those hours spent wandering; save the fancy shoes for dinnertime only.
6. Safety pins.
Personally, I never leave the house without at least a couple safety pins with me. Like what happens if you lose a shirt button or your jeans decide they don’t want to zip up anymore? I’m not saying they don’t have safety pins wherever you’re going, but I am saying it’s just better to have a stash of your own. I don’t think the Mickey Mouse at Disney World has safety pins on hand for everyone who loses a button because they freaked the eff out on Space Mountain.
This one is so important! OK, here’s the thing, other countries have different laws about painkillers. For example, as much as I love my Advil liquid gel pills, I’ve yet to find them anywhere in Europe. Sure, you can easily get a codeine type of pill at the pharmacies in France, but if you’re codeine sensitive, that’s not going to do you any good. Basically, whatever is your favorite form of over-the-counter painkillers, bring it with you. Besides, you’ll probably need it after all that beer you’ll be chugging in Munich.
8. A sense of adventure and a boatload of respect.
As someone who travels quite a bit, nothing infuriates me more than witnessing a fellow American being disrespectful to another country’s culture. Yeah, I get it – dinner in France can last four hours, the Italians have no qualms about telling you how hot they think you are, and in Portugal when you order a fish, most of the time the whole thing comes out on the plate, head and all – but isn't that some of the best parts about going on a trip? (Hint: Yes.) So the most important thing of all to bring on a trip is a sense of adventure and a deep understanding that not all cultures are the same, some things in other countries might gross you out a bit, but just grin and bear it. Consider yourself fortunate enough to go to the these exotic places in the first place – some people never will have such an opportunity.