Top 10 Things I Never Travel Without

Udiapur at Sunset (Rajasthan, India)

Having to been to 40+ countries, you start to accumulate packing philosophies. Always bring warm socks and an eye mask on long haul flights, wear your biggest shoes on travel days, and bring enough toiletries for a week and buy local thereafter. I have road tested many everyday items and know what works for my style of travel (layers/utility/monochromatic colors) and what doesn’t (beauty aids/hair dryer/bulk).

Despite your standard packing fare of clothing and electronics, there are many items that have matriculated themselves into my travel bag over the years and they are things I never travel without. Here is my top 10 list:

  1. Airborne – In case you are unaware, this is an immune booster. It is a godsend to me as of late. The 1st 5 years that I would travel, I would always get sick the entire week of my vacation. Culprit? The airplanes. You are confined in a metal tube for 7+ hours with people wheezing and sneezing, it’s no wonder. I started taking Airborne and those Vitamin C packets before flights and have not been sick since.
  2. Big Ass Scarf – I never understood how versatile this was until I visited more modest countries i.e. India and Qatar. I just whip out the scarf and I am covered to enter temples, use as a pillow or blanket or provide more privacy on Indian trains. It also helps to put the lust back in the muslim bottle, where most Western women are viewed as having questionable virtues.
  3. Baby Wipes – This are terrific little guys for a quick bath, using the toilet, cleaning gunk off your stuff or your dirty hostel. Buy the big pack and a carry-on size and refill as needed.
  4. Passport Photos – The great thing about traveling is, you never know where it will lead you. I once flew to meet a friend in Thailand and on a whim we decided to go to India. Having those photos handy will save you $5-10 per visa application.
  5. Xanax – Despite the highly addictive nature (my doctor will only give me 10) of this stuff, it is great for long haul flights. A glass of wine and 1 tablet and I can quite literally sleep 10+ hours. It’s also great for jet lag when you are trying to get on local hours.
  6. Air Mattress – Despite the cumbersome nature of a mattress, these things can save your poor back in less than luxurious accommodations. Mine is from Thermarest.
  7. Swimmers Towel – This is a simple microfiber towel that is small and absorbent. Dries quickly too.
  8. Pair Thick Wool Socks – Too many times I have gone to sleep with cold feet, freezing in fact. They never seem to warm up. Even in certain regions in SE Asia, the climates will change it you go high enough and having warm feet for me is paramount.
  9. Language Cheat Sheet – This seems obvious but knowing 10 words in the local language despite it’s difficulty goes a very long way. I loved haggling in Istanbul with my limited Turkish, knowing how to say ‘too expensive’ always brought a smile to the shop keepers faces.
  10. Sunscreen – I bring lots of this stuff. I always find it to be very expensive overseas and the SPF is never high enough(for me). I prefer Coppertone Sport because it is sweat proof and isn’t oily.

Top 10 Things I Never Travel Without

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