Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been on the road a million times, packing for a trip is always a hassle. Sometimes you need to be practical, other times you just want to impress someone with silly gifts. This list is for travel items that are awesome, but not the silly gifts. Check this list before your next trip and I promise that you’ll have more space in your bag for things like souvenirs.

1. Portable Charger

Do you know how many times I’ve forgotten this crucial item? Too many to count. As an avid blogger, my phone battery drains at an alarming rate, but no worries! Just sneak your portable charger into your bag and there you go; hours of additional charge on the go. Be sure it is compact, though; I’ve seen bulky chargers that try to double as a tablet and phone charger. Those aren’t convenient at all.

2. First Aid Kit

This is a big one! No matter where you are going, it’s always smart to have a first aid kit in your bag or backpack just in case of a minor injury. I remember a time when I was biking in Sicily and it started to pour, so a nice a friendly Italian man let me dry off in his apartment before he gave me a ride home. The rain left my skin with strange red patches, but thanks to my first aid kit, I knew exactly what each medicine did. Having this knowledge prevents you from using the wrong medicine and wasting valuable hours waiting for the situation to improve.

3. Universal Plug Adapter

This is another item that I always forget, but it’s so important! Ask any time traveler and they will tell you how annoying it is to be stuck in a foreign country with your electronic devices and no way to recharge them. This travel adapter can be used in 150 countries and has an impressive 4 USB ports for all your charging needs.

4. Spare Set of Clothes & Shoes

The best way to explain why you should bring spare clothes is by telling you a horror story; once upon a time I was traveling in Spain during the winter months. I couldn’t wait to wear my new jeans, but when it got cold enough for me to wear them I discovered that I had forgotten to pack underwear. The rest will remain nameless….

5. Travel Journal & Pen

It doesn’t really matter if you are an aspiring novelist or just someone who wants to keep a diary; bring a travel journal with you on your trips. It’s fun to look back at your travels and see how far you’ve come since your first adventure. Also, writing about each experience immediately after returning home helps reduce the chance of memories mixing up or fading away. On that same note I think it is crucial to bring a pen. You’ll definitely want to take notes while traveling and trust me, you don’t want to be searching for a pen in your bag when inspiration hits!

6. Documents & ID

Traveling with only your phone is convenient, but it isn’t always safe. Did you know that you could lose your phone at any time while traveling? It’s true! Be safe and keep some documents in your bag. They can be copies of your passport, plane tickets, hotel reservations and anything else that has important information. A fun tip for keeping these items organized is to put them in airtight plastic bags which you can write the date on so you can easily access everything.

7. Money Pouch

No matter how expensive or cheap your trip is, you’ll always be carrying cash so it makes sense to store it in something other than your wallet. There are hundreds of different styles out there, but I like ones that can be attached to my belt loop so they’re hard to lose. No one wants to worry about losing their money or even worse, getting it stolen.

8. Food & Water Bottle

What would a travel first aid kit be without food and water? I’m not talking about an entire box of cereal, but rather small snacks like granola bars and nuts that last all day while also filling you up. It’s a lot easier to travel if you can hold off on meals while exploring a new city, but I’ve never been one to skip a meal so these snacks come in handy.

9. Small Backpack

This is an item that I think everyone should have whether or not they are traveling. It’s perfect for bringing things with you on the go, but it’s also versatile enough to use as a pillow. All you have to do is fill it with clothes to turn it into a makeshift neck pillow.

10. Bonus Item: A Scarf or Sarong

This is another item that I think everyone should have, but it’s especially great for newbie travelers. It is always good to have something that can double as a bag and a pillow when needed. In some countries, they even use scarves to cover their heads so the added bonus of having a thin scarf on you isn’t lost.

Well there’s my list! I hope you find the perfect things that you need for your next trip.

By Christine Tang @christinescosetos

Photo by Giselle Koyangi @gkissnga

I’m a law student in my third year at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines with an interest in writing. I write mostly about travel