For many of us, travelling can be as stressful as it is exciting. For me, its getting myself, and all my things, wherever I need to be on time. I can frequently be found at the airport 5+ hours before my flight, because travel Maggie is certain she’ll miss the flight otherwise.
To take some of the stress out of travelling, I’ve made up a list of some of my favourite items to travel with. I’ve left out and obvious or basic items that are guaranteed to be on everyone’s list already, and stuck more with the things that make up my own travel style. I go for comfort, function, and minimalism when I travel, so this definitely isn’t a list for fashionistas who can’t leave their style behind.
American Apparel Infinity Scarf
The American Apparel infinity scarf is the only clothing item on this list, and for good reason. This scarf is so versatile it can replace many clothing items, including shirts, skirts, dresses, and hoods. I usually stick to the basics, using it as a scarf, hood, or shawl. I bring this along even in the summer as plane rides can be quite chill, and it doubles as a pillow when folded up!
As you read on, most of this post seems to be able things to pack items in, rather than actual items to bring. In my travels, I’ve found that the way I carry my things can be just as important as the things I carry. Being the fashionista that I am, carrying a fanny pack is the only way to go when I travel. A fanny pack is particularly useful when travelling in places where pick-pocketing is common. In Vietnam, I felt much more secure having my phone and cash strapped right to my front with my hands resting on. Not to mention that its a lot more comfortable having the weight resting on our hips rather than shoulders.
On the topic of pick-pocketing, a travel belt can be an essential item for travelling to certain places. In Japan and Korea, there’s not a whole lot to worry about. But even travelling through certain airports bears a risk of losing hard-earned cash that isn’t directly on your body. The trick is not being too conspicuous with the fact that you have a travel belt. I like to keep the majority of my cash and my passport in it with a small amount of cash in my wallet. When I need to top up, I go to a washroom or somewhere else private to take more out.
Now you see me, now you don’t!
Packing cubes aren’t just useful for organizing suitcases. They’re the perfect way to keep backpacks organized too! One of the major drawbacks of taking a backpack rather than a suitcase is the pain of pulling everything out before reaching a pair of socks or your toiletries bag. With packing cubes, I keep my items organized and easy to find. Typically, I use a medium-size for my clothes, small size for my knickers and socks, one for toiletries, and one for knick-knacks like chargers, pens, hand-sanitizer, etc.
Carrying a fanny pack is the way to go for me, but it can be a bit small if I pick up goodies along the way. I often keep a really lightweight drawstring bag inside my fanny pack in case I need to expand my carrying ability. I’d rather carry any purchases on my back than in shopping bags that get in the way of taking photos or carrying a drink.
Purell & TP
In many parts of the world, toilet paper, soap, and water at public toilets are luxuries. I’ve experienced the panic of realizing I have no toilet paper too late in every country I’ve traveled to outside Canada and the US.
Some things are just easier to access when they’re strapped to the outside of your bag. I like to use carabiners to attach things like my waterbottle, or my sunhat which is awkward to stuff inside my bag.
I also like to travel light and typically leave space in my bags to accomodate any goodies I might buy along the way. You never know when the goodies might be a bit too much though, and then you’re stuck with too much stuff and not enough room. Having a carabiner or two attached to your bag means you can attach some things to the outside when there’s not enough room inside.
This may seem obvious or silly to add, but fighting over the stewardess’s two pens when your trying to fill out your arrival card and customs forms is never fun. Or maybe your lost and don’t understand a map, but you find a local who can show you the way by marking the route. I always keep a pen on hand (an a small notebook) everywhere I go.
It seemed that the craze for Pokemon Go and the widespread appearance of portable phone chargers were synonymous. I remember CBC reporting that the chargers were flying off shelves faster than stock could be replenished. It turns out that these chargers are useful for more. Having a back-up charge is incredibly reassuring when your out and about for a day, draining your battery with maps and photos. In Taiwan, we went away for an overnight trip only to find that the plugs in our hostel were American style rather than Korean style everywhere else in the country. Luckily I had an extra charge on my portable battery to keep me going until we got back to the city!