10 essentials I always pack when traveling abroad

Packing for a trip abroad can be STRESSSSSFUL. However, I’ve gotten a system down and don’t even think twice about what to bring/not to bring anymore – well for the most part. Luckily, I own hardly any clothes so have my “airplane outfit,” “I might go to a fancy rooftop bar outfit,” and my “I will wear this every day” outfit. Packing for a trip abroad of course depends on the weather and area of the world you are going off to. But no matter where I am heading – be it Iceland or the Philippines, these are the essentials that I will have with me when packing for any trip abroad.

1. Passport/documents/money holder. Ew, no this is not a “money belt.” I have a bag (see image above) that holds my important items like various currencies, extra credit/debit cards, electric power converters, locks and keys, my passport, extra passport photos, and booking tickets (if I was old school and printed them out). I keep pens in here to fill out my immigration forms and extra cash that I may not want to carry with me in my wallet. This comes with me every time I travel and can fit in my purse or the top of my backpack.

2. REI water bottle. I cannot travel without a full water bottle on me. I bring my own to fill up at water stations or the airport.

3. Leggings. I live in leggings – even living in Thailand they are essential. In cold weather you will love them for keeping you warm and cozy and in hot weather they keep the mosquitoes away(ish). Leggings are the BEST.

4. Huge purse (or backpack). I typically pack carry on only when flying. I only have checked bags when lugging items back home or moving abroad. However, for most flights you can bring a carry on and a personal item. As long as that personal item fits under the seat in front of you, then you are set. I have a “travel purse” for this situation that carries my scarf, books/kindle, documents, water bottle, phone, and earbuds. Big purses are a must. This is also essential for day trips when you are traveling in which you need to carry a camera, book, towel to the beach, or water bottle.

5. Chargers. Phone charger, power adapters, and sometimes a backup battery powered charger (oops I lost mine). 

6. Toothbrush. Duh. Because you need to brush your teeth and may have long flights or layovers where brushing your teeth will literally make you feel like a new human. 

7. Book/kindle. I finally bought my first kindle (upgraded from my nook from 2010). I cannot leave the house for a big trip without a book. Even if it’s taken me ages to get through I feel that I need to have a book when traveling abroad. You never know if you’re flights may be delayed, if you’ll sleep on the plane or not, if the airplane movie selection sucks, or if you just have an entire free day at the beach. You will be happy that you brought a book!

8. Good shoes. One pair of running or hiking shoes and one pair of sandals or flats. Don’t bring your heels unless there is actually a real reason to do so (doubt there is). Make sure you’ve got comfy shoes for walking. Recently I went to Ukraine wearing brand new street shoes and I got awful shin splints three days in. Make sure that your shoes are broken in before you decide to walk 10-20 miles per day!

9. Swim suit. You never know if you’ll find access to a spa or pool party. Also, the beach. Bring a swim suit even if you are heading somewhere cold. It’s a good idea and takes up no space.

10. Sarang. A sarang can be used for everything. A blanket, a towel, a scarf, a skirt, a background if you teach abroad. Even if you head somewhere tropical, you may be sitting in some freezing buses where you need to wrap up. I love my sarang and it’s part of my essential travel items.

There ya have it! Lauren’s list of essential travel items. 

Did I miss something crucial? Let me know!

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