Every traveler’s must-bring checklist is slightly different, but some items are never worth forgetting. What tops our list of getaway essentials? Here are a few of the most crucial things.
1. An open mind
It may not be a tangible item, but believe us: An open mind is just as important as your favorite piece of luggage. Travel requires a certain suspension of preconceived notions, and walking into a vacation with mismanaged expectations is a surefire way to have a less-than-relaxing trip. Bring your most positive attitude, and always be prepared to go with the flow.
2. An authentic phrasebook
Ditch the high-school texts; a phrasebook filled with translations that incorporate the regional dialect will go a long way toward earning you respect from the locals. Look for the most detailed option you can find, and then do a quick online search for any specific variations.
3. An affordable tablet or media player
Who wants to lug a laptop on every journey? Grab an inexpensive tablet, and you’ll be able to access all of your files, games, videos and music without the added bulk. What’s more, traveling with one of these tech wonders can be a major boon when you need to hop online but don’t want to risk roaming charges on your phone.
4. Travel insurance
Don’t make the mistake of considering trip insurance to be anything less than essential. You never know when something unexpected will happen, and the fees associated with canceling a vacation can put a serious dent in your savings. Purchase travel insurance from American Express at the same time that you book your flights, and you’ll be able to jet off with the ultimate peace of mind.
5. Copies of your passport
It seems like common sense, but too many travelers leave the house without photocopying their passports. More often than not, you’ll never need the copies, but they’re crucial to have on hand if the original is lost or stolen.
6. Layers, layers and more layers
Weather forecasts are anything but perfect. To avoid being dressed inappropriately for the current climate, pack loads of light layers that can be piled on at a moment’s notice. Big scarves are especially good bets; not only can you wrap them around your neck to stave off a chill, but they also double as blankets on a cold flight.
7. Instant coffee
If you can’t get through the morning without a strong cup of java, tuck a box of instant coffee into your bag before you hit the road. Depending on where you’re traveling, a cafe might not be easily accessible, and you don’t want to be stuck with a caffeine headache — or grumpy attitude — while you’re exploring.
8. An extra tote bag
How many times have you gone shopping on vacation only to discover that you don’t have room in your bags for the goodies? Avoid this problem by rolling up a large tote bag into your luggage. You might never use it, but at least you’ll know it’s there.