Pack right: Top 5 things to pack for your trip

With many airlines imposing stricter luggage weight limitations and charging extra fees for additional baggage, it’s becoming more vital than ever to ensure that you travel as light as possible and pack smartly. Don’t bring along anything that’s non-essential. With that in mind, here are the top 5 things to pack for your trip.

Water bottle

Always bring your own eco-friendly bottle with you when you travel. And if you’re travelling to a place with questionable water quality, consider investing in a purification method such as drops, filters or tablets. You never want to be without water. Just don’t fill it before you go on an international flight, or you may draw extra attention from customs inspectors.

Notebook and pen

The best way to remember your trip is to write it down as you go. And even with smartphones, there’s no more reliable way than pen and paper. Your days might be so filled that by the end you have forgotten a small detail that you found particularly interesting. Carrying a notebook allows you to jot down notes. It can also come in handy if you need directions or have learned an important tip.

Chargers and adapters

You get to the end of a day exploring a new place when the most picturesque sunset comes into view. You pull out your camera only to discover the battery has died. You never want to miss out on the perfect photo, so don’t forget to pack chargers for your electronic devices. Remember, certain areas of the world use different plugs and voltages than you’re used to, so do a bit of research before you leave and bring an adapter if need be. Also, remember that most places you stay will have limited outlets. So, if you have room, try packing a power bar for all your electronic devices.

ID copies

No one goes on vacation expecting to lose anything. But it does happen, so be prepared. Make photocopies of all your important documents, such as your passport, driver’s license and insurance forms, and pack them in different places than the originals. In case of an emergency, it’s always good to have a back-up.

A towel

In Douglas Adams’s 1979 cult favourite novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a universe-traversing alien advises his human friend about the single most important travel item to have with you at all times:

“A towel… is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors… use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

While you may not plan to spend much time on interplanetary beaches or deserts, a towel is still a useful and versatile item to bring with you on all of your adventures. If you’re going on daytrips, backpacking or any other type of excursion where you may not have hotel-supplied towels, be sure to pack your own. They can be used as an added layer of warmth in a cool or breezy room; they can act as a headscarf if it gets a little too windy; and rolled up, they can also make for a comfortable, adjustable pillow.

What did we miss? Share what’s on your list of travel must-haves.