Travel aide kit: what should I include?
When you travel, obviously you have limited space. Within these limits, what should you bring? What can be left at home? I’ve compiled here my ten essentials. They’re like American Express; never leave home without them! First, the more obvious basics:
1) Money belt-As a tourist, you’re a more noticeable target, and if you’re in poorer countries, then you’re rich compared to the natives. Reduce your chance of being pickpocketed. I wouldn’t say this is a necessity everywhere; if you’re in an extremely low-street-crime country such as Sweden or Japan, then I’d say it’s optional. I still like to have my passport in a money belt though for peace of mind, regardless of where I am.
2) Passport photo copies-Keep one in each bag, and one in your money belt. It will be much easier to replace it if you find yourself in this terrible situation.
3) Travel insurance/access to emergency cash/small first aid kit. The adventure travel company whom I use recommends $400 (US) as a contingency fund. If you’re in poorer countries, then you might need an emergency airlift in certain situations. This can easily cost over $20K (US).
Next, less obvious items:
4) Sense of humor/flexibility. If you want everything to be exactly the same as home, then there’s an easy solution: stay there! Cultural differences are the key ingredient for fascinating travel. When I was younger, I got upset in Thailand one morning because it was taking so long to get my breakfast. The Thais are more laid back about time. Was it worth it getting aggravated? Definitely not! Admire the scenery or people watch while you’re waiting. Use it as a chance for inner reflection.
5) Common sense-On the other hand, don’t go to the opposite extreme and think everything is fine either. If you’re in a lot of less developed countries, it is likely that you need to brush your teeth with bottled water and avoid salads and unpeeled fruits. I don’t eat the street food in a lot of places. Go with your gut feeling when it comes to food and safety.
6) Hand sanitizer and travel toilet paper. Soap and toilet paper are often unavailable in many public bathrooms in the developing world.
7) Electric converter-You can easily find these on Amazon. My converter can plug into any outlet throughout the world.
8) Maps.me app-This is similar to an offline GPS. You download the maps for places when you have access to wi-fi, and then you can navigate anywhere offline. It uses arrows to help the directionally challenged, such as myself. “Head east” means nothing to me! You might be able to find a paper map in an antique store, but I’d say that the app is far more convenient.
9) Translation app, such as itranslate or google translate. Full disclosure: I’ve never used these before, since I usually travel with an adventure travel company, and I have a local guide. However, if you’re traveling on your own and you don’t speak the language, it is likely that this would be very useful.
10) Plenty of downloaded material that you can access offline, such as music, movies, podcasts, ebooks, dictionaries, etc. As is the case with maps.me, take advantage of any opportunity to use wi-fi. It may be limited in some places. If you have a long train/plane ride, then these offline “files” will help immensely with passing the time.