Don’t forget to pack: 12 travel essentials

Tips & guides

20 March 2018

Every person will have a unique travel checklist of their most treasured and important possessions, but there are some practical essentials that we all have in common.

These essential travel items cover everything from medical supplies and emergency provisions to simply getting a good night's sleep. Although it can be tempting to ignore the "what-ifs" that come with packing for your holiday, preparing for unforeseen events is the best way to ensure that even if something does go wrong, your trip can carry on regardless. With these travel essentials in your luggage, you'll be ready for (almost) anything that comes your way.

1. Identification.

Your passport should be at the top of every travel checklist: in many cases, you can't travel without it.

2. Copies of important documents.

In the worst-case scenario that your passport is stolen, having a photocopy stored separately can help to speed up the process of getting a replacement. You should also make copies of travel insurance papers, any pre-bought tickets or rental papers and your visa, if applicable.

3. Antihistamines.

Tablets or creams can alleviate hay fever symptoms and allergic reactions, making them valuable additions to your hand luggage. Make sure you have non-drowsy pills if you anticipate taking them during the day.

4. Nighttime mosquito spray.

Anyone who's forgotten to pack this once is unlikely to do so again. In hot countries, mosquito repellents are possibly the most useful investment you can make, while in the northern hemisphere, anti-midge sprays will be equally valuable.

5. Hand sanitiser.

If you don't have access to soap and water, this is the next-best thing, capable of killing germs and protecting your skin. You can also put some on a wipe and use it to disinfect your phone or camera.

6. First-aid kit.

This doesn't have to be extensive, but plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes and antiseptic cream are all sensible inclusions. Lip balm, painkillers and throat sweets can also be useful, as they ensure you won't have to interrupt your holiday to search for a pharmacy.

Travel Essentials First Aid

7. Chargers.

Laptops, phones, MP3 players and e-readers have all become travel essentials in their own right, so don't forget their accessories. You may wish to invest in a portable charger if your phone is prone to losing battery suddenly.

8. International adapters.

Your phone's GPS, translation apps and custom-made travel soundtrack can all be undermined by a flat battery, so pack enough adapters for all your electrics. Some hotels and hostels have limited sockets, so if you have a lot of travel gadgets, packing a power strip will also be advisable.

9. Sunglasses.

The winter sun shines as brightly as the summer sun, so ensure your vision is protected. If you wear contact lenses, you'll need to bring spare replacements and liquid, and taking your prescription glasses along as well provides a sensible backup.

10. Ear plugs.

Even if you don't think you'll need them where you're going, it's quite literally not worth losing sleep over. Long-haul flights can also be greatly improved by neck pillows, soft blankets, warm socks and an eye mask.

11. Safety pins.

From pulling together hotel curtains that won't quite close to securing a bandage, safety pins are too easily portable and clearly practical to leave behind.

12. Emergency snacks.

If your plane or transfer is delayed, you might find that restaurants and food shops are shut by the time you arrive at your destination. Bottled water and simple snacks like fruit, crisps or granola bars will help to keep you going until the next day.

Passport and other travel essentials