When you’re going on a trip, there are the obvious items that you never want to leave home without. You’ll take your backpack, camera, sunglasses, passport, etc. but this list is intended to provide 10 creative items to make your trip a little smarter and a little less stressful.

1Tupperware

I ALWAYS travel with a sandwich-sized Tupperware container. If I’m budget traveling, staying in hostels and such, they almost always provide a basic breakfast that includes bread, cereal, and eggs, if you’re lucky. I got into the habit of snagging a couple extra pieces of bread then I’d head to the market around lunchtime and pick up peanut better, or if I felt like splurging, cheese and/or lunch meat. Since bread isn’t sold by the slice, this makes for a really helpful and cost saving option. If you’re not traveling on a super tight budget, there are always leftovers when you’re finished at a restaurant so it’s always nice to slide them into your own Tupperware container and put them in the fridge when you get back to where you’re staying. I buy the glass versions at home so I can heat food up cancer free but those do not make sense while traveling. I recommend the plastic types but make sure you splurge for the lids with a locking mechanism so you don’t have food all over your bag if the lid pops off.

2Wet Wipes

NEVER underestimate the power of wet wipes :). At some point, I began traveling with these and it changed my life. There are so many instances where you desperately need a shower but the stars have not aligned and unfortunately, that option is not in the cards that particular evening. A few of these can get the dust off your face before you crash for the night. They are excellent to wash your hands with if you do not have access to water and of course, without getting into too much detail, they are terrific for bathroom time, especially when the region you’re in does not use toilet paper and you’re unsure of how the water bucket cleanse works. I’d also recommend the types with aloe, just in case you’re peer pressured into eating really hot food the night before. These simple yet effective wipes can be the difference between a really good day and a really bad day.

3Multi-Tool

The list of possibilities and binds this multi-tool will get you out of are endless. I purchased a Leatherman Wave, which may be overkill for some folks but a good multi-tool is definitely worth the money spent. I’ve replaced cabinet doors, sawed through branches, filleted fish, tightened knots, undone tightened knots, trimmed hangnails, opened cans, etc. with this thing. This is one of those items that you’ll never know you needed it until you’ve purchased one, then you’ll never be able to live without it. A word to the wise – when traveling with this item, make sure you bury it deep, deep in your luggage because I’ve found they tend to go missing between the time you check your bag to the time you pick it up from the conveyor belt.

4Reusable Water Bottle

Always travel with a reusable water bottle, not only does it help the environment, you’ll always stay hydrated, which is incredibly important while exploring other countries. There are many options but I use this collapsible bottle from Platypus when I’m traveling. It’s cheap and you can roll it up and put it in your pocket! I’m not sure why you would but it’s definitely an option if need be. It’s definitely preferable to a clunky metal or plastic bottle while traveling.

5Energy Snacks

I typically opt for Kind Bars or Clif Bars while traveling. Kind Bars definitely taste better but Clif Bars are dense and packed with energy if you need a pick me up while on the road. Now, I recommend these not as snacks when you’re bored or lazy, I recommend these to have on hand in your bag if you’re in a situation where you’re super hungry and there is no way to get food for the foreseeable future. This could happen on extended bus rides, al a carte flights or if you’re lost in the woods. As I’m writing this and harping on the fact that these are for emergencies only, maybe go with the Clif Bars because they’re kinda gross and you’re less likely to snack on them :).

6Small Notebook/Pen

I get an incredible amount of use out of my notebook while I’m traveling and never leave for a trip without one. I fill this with ideas, stories, notes and budgets. As I meet other travelers and they make suggestions, I add it to my nifty notebook. Make sure you bring a pen and a pencil so you can make notes as you travel.

7Power Bank

If you prefer to jot everything I mentioned above down on your phone or tablet, you’ll be needing one of these. I love the power bank I have from Anker, it’s inexpensive and gives my phone a quick charge when I don’t have access to a power terminal. Access is becoming better in many countries but it’s always a safe bet to have one of these with you. This size works great for my purposes but they make a large variety of other sizes that may better accommodate your particular needs.

8Flashlight

For the most part, almost everyone has a flashlight on their phone but I wouldn’t forgo purchasing a small, handy light like the Fenix LED flashlight. It’s about the size of a AA battery but packs a lot of power. It can shine 45 meters on the high setting but also has a medium and low light setting for reading. When it’s dark and you’re trying to find the bathroom or pack your things while others are sleeping, this light is perfect!

9Earplugs

These small, nifty devices can easily determine the fate of your night and the following day. I forgot them once and swore I’d never do so again. People snore, travel is loud and people are rude (“What’s that? Pointing to the earplugs, I’m sorry, I cannot hear you.”) – these provide a solution for all the above! I’ve tried the fancy, silicone versions but didn’t feel they were as effective as the tried and true cheaper models. I don’t believe the brand matters, so just grab the most cost-effective version off the shelf. I always carry extras because people will love you if they’ve forgotten their own. Also, if you’re traveling with said individual, you don’t want to deal with their crankiness the next day.

10Ziplock Bags

Ziploc bags may seem like a strange item to make the list, especially when I have already mentioned Tupperware at the top but bear with me. The trick with these is to buy the better brand to ensure the tight seal. I ALWAYS pack my electronics, medicine and important documents in Ziploc bags because they’ll always be protected from the elements. I also bring a handful of extras in each size in the event that one of the originals gets a hole or the seal breaks. These little bags provide peace of mind when you’re caught in the rain or go on a tubing trip with a non-waterproof camera.

This concludes my short list of 10 items to NEVER travel without! Of course, there are always other items that can help to make your trip more comfortable but those listed above have never failed me. What do you bring on your trips that you find helpful? Please let me know in the comments below.

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