Traveling is already very hectic: You have to plan when you want to travel, get the right visa, scour the internet for the best prices on tickets, find a hotel or hostel, get traveler’s insurance, and every now and then get vaccinated beforehand.
As the son of an international businessman, I’ve been traveling before I could even walk. I’ve watched the airplane safety video so many times, I can act them out from memory! Throughout the years I’ve picked up a few things on what is absolutely necessary whenever you hop on a plane.
With so much planning, a person’s bound to forget something essential. That is why I have made a list of the top 8 things I always make sure to bring whenever I travel internationally
This is the most important document you will ever own if you travel outside the country. A passport is the ultimate identification document. According to the State Department, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to apply for and receive your passport, but you can choose to expedite the process to 2 to 3 weeks for a $60 fee.
You will obviously use your passport when going through the airport, but when you go out to clubs and other venues where ID is required then a passport will be a lifesaver.
If you’re going to be driving then you can get an international driver’s license from the AAA. If you are a resident in America a green card is essential since you need to show it when you are coming back from going abroad.
It is also important to make sure the visa you have to the host country is up to date. Some countries are “cashless,” most payments being made through electronic transactions, but it is still important to always carry a few banknotes in your pocket in case an error comes up with your card. Speaking of which, be sure to notify your bank of your travel plans! This way they don’t halt any transactions they may find fishy.
Make sure to pack chargers for all of your electronics, because you don’t want to spend your first night in a new country hunting for an electronics store. An important charger to always carry with you is a portable charger, in case you run into any emergencies in an unfamiliar country when your phone dies.
You need something to plug all your electronics into. Unfortunately, not all countries have the same kinds of sockets. That is why a universal adapter is so important.
Whenever you encounter a socket you do not have the plugs for, just pop in the universal adapter and you’re good to go! Amazon offers a variety of low-cost adapters so you can stock up before traveling.
You need something to capture all the moments on your trip to show everyone back home (and possibly Instagram). Whether it’s a phone camera, a small and inexpensive camera, or a professional-grade camera, it is critical to have something you can use to take pictures of everything you want to remember.
This covers any medications or healthcare needs you might have on your trip. It is a good idea to always bring ibuprofen, Vitamin C, band-aids, Neosporin, prescription medications, hand sanitizer, and condoms (even on vacation you gotta be safe!). You also want to make sure to look over common illnesses wherever you are traveling and pack accordingly in the event of Delhi Belly or Montezuma’s Revenge.
Clothes are a no-brainer, hopefully, but this is meant to act as a reminder to pack your clothes smartly. You do not need to pack 20 pairs of underwear. Many nations have laundromats where you can wash your clothes to reuse them again. You should pack enough to cover at least the first week of your trip, so you have enough room to bring back souvenirs or clothes you buy while there.
Bathroom essentials are, well… essential! Make sure to have a good toiletry bag or dopp kit, and pack it with your toothbrush, skincare stuff, toothpaste, cotton swabs, deodorant, perfume, tweezers, hairbrush, and contact lenses and solutions. You should also pack soap and shampoo if your accommodations do not provide them.
Many unexpected things can happen when you’re traveling, so some items may become more important than others. Nevertheless, this packing guide should serve as a great jumping off point and can be used whether you’re hiking the Andes, going to a full moon party in Thailand, swimming in the Persian Gulf or exploring the narrow streets of Amsterdam.