Trevel, treveller, trevellers. Having trevelled a fair share now, plus the fortunate to meet with many inspiring trevellers, here are 15 things that are a must have for every treveller. To me, the ideal trevel life is to have a trevel bag with essentials and a pouch for each country. In this pouch, you will find a SIM card for the specific country, currency, public transportation cards and other must have. So, I could simply grab my trevel essential bag and my “country pouch” and be well on my way to the next destination!
Warning, this is going to be a very long post!
The “country pouch” is really subjective to whatever country the destination is. But the essential trevel bag is very important. It contains the basic trevel items that is needed everywhere in the world. I have listed the 15 items that I have with me. Of course, to make this a budget friendly bag, every item is under $100.
15 items may be too much for a treveller. So I have also added 3 stars to the items that I definitely and absolutely must have. They are the 3 most important thing to have, if 15 items are too much.
1. External Hard Disk*
My hard disk is my everything. Even if I travel without my laptop (which is almost never), I cannot live without my hard disk. I cannot emphasize how important it is to back up all the important documents, files and your laptop every 10 days. This saved my life so many times. My laptop is my life and twice, my laptop went mad and could not be switched on. Thankfully I had my items backed up, so when I had the issues in Hong Kong, Portugal and Singapore, my items were not lost.
Insurance is the most cliché item to have for a frequent treveller. I have heard so many stories of people getting their fancy camera equipment stole, laptop and hard disk robbed, injured during their trips and everything. And without the travel insurance, that’s it. Everything is lost. You could be very careful when you travel, but sometimes, you really never know. I just met with this treveller that went to Peru and he was robbed and beaten up! An insurance is always good.
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3. First Aid Kit
It is always good to have some Band-Aid in your pockets. But not only so, if you special allergies and medication, you should prepare your own first aid kit. When I was in Paris for the first time, I was down with some food poisoning and I did not have any medication. I spent the entire night running to the toilet to vomit and shivered under the sheets as my temperature shot up. I went to the pharmacy in the morning, but they could not understand my pain (even though my friend was French) and gave me menstrual pills instead. It’s useful to have your own medication too, especially if you are in some rural place like when I was in India.
4. Good Pair of Walking Shoes*
Initially, I was thinking how important a good pair of shoes is. Then I realized it is impossible to do anything I have done during my trevels without a good pair of shoes! I have 2 pairs of shoes that I am always trevelling with: my Nike Flyknit and Geox shoes.
My Nike Flyknit is basically my most trustworthy shoes. It is great for sports, hiking and long walks. It also pairs well with denim shorts and lots of casual clothes cause they also look like sneakers. It is also very light, so weight is not a problem.
My Geox shoes are more for walking in the city. They are really comfortable, and I can walk in them for miles. I walked 60km in them in London and my feet were alright. They are also really nice to pair with casual clothes.
Occasionally, I do bring my Salvatore Ferragamo foldable shoes for more formal events. It also helps that they require very little space, so it is easy to trevel with them. They’re also really comfortable and made with extremely good quality. I have more than 5 pairs at home, so you know how much I love them.
Another good pair of shoes I have are winter hiking boots. My Timberland are the world’s best winter shoes. They are so warm and perfect for any snowy mountain hikes. They also look great with my winter outfits. Be it hiking the Black Forest, exploring the cities of Switzerland in winter or even on the snowy mountains of Switzerland, they are my to-go shoes for winter. They’re not the lightest shoes ever, but that’s all I need in winter.
This is probably the main thing I cannot trevel without, especially now that I am living in Vietnam. A light, compact, warm, waterproof windbreaker is really something I have in my bag at all times. An umbrella is bulky and may not fit into your tiny bag. A good and light windbreaker should be able to be folded into a tiny bag, yet warm enough so you can use them on plane rides and when it gets late at night. It should also be waterproof to keep you dry during the rainy days.
I have 2 windbreakers: 1 from Burberry and the other from Uniqulo. The one from Burberry is really great, warm, pairs so well with my casual outfits, warm, light and waterproof. However, I also rarely bring it out because, well it is not the cheapest clothes I own.
So I went to Uniqulo and bought a cheaper one for my travels. It cost just under S$40 and it serves the same purpose of my Burberry windbreaker. It is just less fashionable, but who cares. I need to be warm.
6. External Power Bank/Charging Cable
External power bank is like the ultimate hack that every treveller will tell you. It is so easy, light and you are constantly connected. This is even more important when you have all your items in your phone and you need your phone to have battery.
However, after a while, I stopped carrying power banks around. I learn that the best way to connect with the real world while trevelling is to disconnect from the Internet. Of course, I do have my 3G all the time. But I also remind myself that I only have 100% for the entire day and have to use them wisely. I try to use my phone only for texting and maps.
I do bring my wire everywhere I go though, and charge when I am in a café or something. The point is not to be over-reliant on my phone and gadgets. To deal with boredom, I bring a book with me. (Then again, you can argue that an ebook means that I need my phone at 100%.)
A good backpack is like a good cup of coffee to start your day. With the right backpack, everything is a lot easier and more manageable. I experimented with many ways of travel: luggage, duffle bag and backpacks. Backpacks are still the best and easiest. You learn to live with less items and it makes moving around very easy. A duffle bag is nice if you are going to somewhere for a short trip, but a backpack splits the weight evenly on your shoulders. A luggage is, of course, the easiest. But I tend to over-pack when I travel with a luggage.
8. Travel Pack
There is a travel pack that I have with me. Inside includes:
- US$ 100 (optional, depending on destination)
- Identity card + student card (if any)
- Soundproof headphones
- Eye mask
- Comfy clothes (optional)
- Some candies and chocolates
- 50ml soap
- Contact lens items (optional)
- Coconut oil (optional, but so useful)
It is my mandatory toiletries bag with some other items that I need for travel. They are always ready for me to grab it and throw it in my travel bag. I will always have my essentials and it is always travel ready.
9. Empty Water Bottle
You have to bring a water bottle. I carry an empty one with me and fill up the bottle before I get on the plane. It is also important to bring it when you travel, because you never know when you need water and can’t find it. In Angkor Wat, it is difficult to find bottled water. It is also so damn hot! Luckily we had our bottles with us and hydrated ourselves under the hot summer sun.
10. Ziplock Bag
I have to thank the creator of Ziplock bags. Especially when I am going on rougher terrains like camping and forest trails, a ziplock is all I wish for. Keep your items in Ziplock and it keeps them waterproof. Not only so, a ziplock bag is also a vacuum bag. You can squeeze out all the air and it makes packing so much easier!
11. Travel Pillow
I am not a fan of presents because I believe that presents have to be really useful. And this is one of the best birthday presents ever. My little brother bought me this travel pillow that I bring everywhere I go. It makes sleeping so easy and it also a sentimental present. A travel pillow during plane rides makes a real difference!
12. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes is so useful! Use it to clean your hands when the place has no toilets. Use it when it gets so hot in summer and use the wipes to cool down. Or just use it when you need a quick cleaning up because it is really humid and sticky. Baby wipes, they are so important and useful! Get those that are unscented.
13. Good international SIM card or card with Internet
SIM Cards are now so cheap wherever you go, especially in Asia. Depending on how long you stay, you can either use roaming or get a card. In Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam, you should get their cards cause it’s cheap and useful. But if you are in places like Singapore for a day for work, it is better to roam, because the internet card is not cheap. It is cheaper to roam than to get the card.
14. Bring a Pen
This is the simplest thing that is really useful. Filling in immigration forms on the plane, signing receipts or whatever. A pen is useful and it is also an easy way to make friends! Another way to make friends is to bring a lighter with you, even if you are not a smoker. It is really easy to make friends that way.
15. Microfiber Towel
Microfiber towel is small, light and dries so easily. It is one of the best item to bring when you travel. Sometimes your accommodation doesn’t provide towel, or you need a towel after a hike or to put over the pillow to rest your head on. This small and light towel is handy and great for travel.
Bring these 15 items with you when you travel. It will save you so much time and trouble! Note the 3 starred items, because they are the most important of them all: external hard disk, good shoes & windbreaker.
Comment and share what other items you can’t travel without!