Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a seasoned traveler, it is always helpful to run across your Travel Checklist. When I traveled to Muscat for the first time, a couple years ago, I realized that my baggage didn’t have enough essentials that were required. Yes, you get everything in Oman, but when you’re trying to soak in a new place for the first time, where’s the time to stop or shop?
When traveling, packing light isn’t as important as packing smart. And we’re all prone to making mistakes. And the best way to avoid mistakes is to keep a list of essentials things that may come in handy.
So, in that spirit of traveling to places we love, I’ve listed a couple of essentials that are A MUST for any trip you go for.
1. Passport/ Travel Document
Can you imagine forgetting the most important thing required to travel? These documents need to be packed first when planning a trip. Make sure to carry any internationally-related identity card (like your drivers’ license) or your passport wherever you go. They really come in handy.
2. First Aid Kit
This is the most important thing ever that you just can’t miss out. As an NRI, I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying Band-Aids, bandages, Dettol, antidiarrheal medicines, anti-histamine tablets, and panadol wherever I go. And honestly, it hasn’t only helped me, but a lot of people I met on the way and a lot of those I’ve traveled with.
3. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is imperative especially during travel. Many of us depend on buying a bottle of water and sometimes that takes time if you’re traveling to an isolated city. So carry an empty bottle and refill them whenever you need.
4. Zip-lock Bags
They may not seem important now, but during a trip, it comes in handy. They are great for holding teeny tiny things like medications, chargers, toiletries to wet clothes and phones. Ziplock bags can also make it easier to stay organized and find things quickly. A thing I learned from being organized is to have them in color-coordinated plastic bags to help you identify what you actually need.
5. Wet Wipes
Whether it’s humid, sunny or cold, always carry wet wipes during travel. They help get you clean fast and can also be a good disinfectant at uncompromising times. You could also switch to baby wipes as they have less alcohol content to prevent your skin from drying out completely.
6. Petroleum Jelly
The first time I moved to Bangalore was during the summers, and the heat literally messed up my skin. My lips got flaky, skin started to look dry and the sole would get dry. It’s normal and happens to everyone, but if you can prevent it with just a tub of Vaseline, why not, right?
But if you don’t like petroleum jelly for some reason, you could also use baby oil. They are the best alternative during traveling and can help your skin be hydrated and glowing in seconds.
This goes unsaid. Whether you’re traveling to Dubai or Norway, a sunscreen is a must. They shield your skin from the harmful sun making sure your skin doesn’t look dull. You could also apply sunscreen under your makeup as they help moisturize and protect your skin from the sun.
8. Convert Cash
I remember popping into a tiny street shop at Muscat and finding a gorgeous Arabian Lantern. But the shopkeeper there wouldn’t accept Dollars or Dirhams for the Lantern so I had to make sure to exchange them before rushing back to buying the gorgeous piece of art. So, the dollar may be the universally accepted cash. But carrying money that is local to a place may help save you a lot on conversion as well as last-minute souvenir shopping.
The reason I clubbed this into one big group is probably because there are a couple of essentials that are a big must! Toothbrush, razors, tweezers, facewash, and all what is your personal item can be a big help during the most unexpected time. The first time I went solo trekking, I unknowingly packed in a tweezer. A couple rounds after trekking, I had a twig stuck into the sole of my feet and my only saving grace was the tweezer.
Also, civilization was hours away from where I was, so I was glad I didn’t depend on buying toiletries, locally. So pack a good kit of toiletries. You never know when’ll need it.
10. Snack Bars
While traveling, always load up on snack bars. They help you feel lighter and you’ll be able to store in more energy through these bars than anything. And especially while trekking, you can’t really fill up on carbs and fat, so might as well invest on these protein bars.
11. Headlamp / Torch
If you’re decked up in NY or Amsterdam, you definitely do not need this. But if you’re camping or even trekking, then DON’T even forget them. The sun fall may make you question your surroundings and you can’t really carry your phone lit up everywhere especially if you’re trying to save the battery. You get tiny torches at stores, so invest in them and they’ll help you through the night.
12. Google translate
If you’re a seasoned nomad, you know what I’m talking about. But if you aren’t, then you need to brace yourself that not many people understand your language or you, of theirs. Gone are days when you could carry a dictionary to pick each word separately and connect the dots. Now, you can just switch on Google translate and communicate with someone with a completely different language. You can also use other translating Apps that you may prefer.
But nonetheless, traveling is divine. So, don’t forget to soak in the wine & dine experience and just enjoy.
If you have an amazing travel story, you’d want us to know about, send them over!