1. Noise cancelling head phones – Boarding a plane is like Russian roulette – you never know who you are going to sit next to. If you are next to a screaming baby or a heavy snorer, these will become your best friends.
2. Notepad & pen - Technology is great, but nothing beats pen and paper to write down tips you hear along the way, exchanging details or drawing diagrams for those large language barriers.
3. A printed itinerary – Customs is becoming more and more strict and many places require you to have printed itineraries and hotel bookings. I have learnt that lesson the hard way and trying to find an internet cafe with a printer after a long haul flight is not a great way to start or end a trip. Don’t think showing them your iphone will work!
4. A camera – this one might be obvious but with smartphones becoming more popular, people are becoming less inclined to pack a quality camera. Good luck trying to make that ‘totz amazeballs’ instragram photo look good blown up in the pool room.
5. Extra memory cards – don’t be left with no memory on your camera, better too many photos than not enough
6. Paw paw ointment – this little red tube is full of goodness – a lip balm as well a an insect bite, burn and rash cure all in one. It even cures nappy rash… hey, you never know.
7. Multi vitamins – there is one thing worse than being sick, and that is being sick while travelling. Berroca is a good way to start the day as it is packed with vitamins so you can get on the front foot to avoid getting sick and it even helps with self-inflict illnesses (hangovers).
8. A book – ipads and kindles might be convenient, but when your battery is flat or your stuck on the tarmac, you’ll regret not packing a good old fashioned paper back.
9. A rain coat – Good weather is never a sure thing, so be prepared and don’t use rain as an excuse sit around complaining that it rain ruined your holiday.
10. Warm socks – Even if it is the Middle East in summer you’re travelling to, you don’t want to be caught on a plane unable to sleep because you’re so cold. They can also double up as a good camera bag or to put delicate new purchases in.
11. Travel money cards – Credit card fees suck as do currency conversion fees and they can add up quickly. Save yourself the money and hassle and get some prepaid travel cards that act like credit cards without the ATM withdrawal fees, try and buy them then the exchange rate is in your favour.
12. iPad – long lay overs or planes without entertainment can become bearable with an iPad loaded up with TV series and movies.
13. Snacks – plane food sucks and I have a theory that is clogs your digestive system. Do you think airlines want 200+ people all needing to go to the bathroom on a 14 hour flight? I think not…
14. Small bag – a long day of exploring a city can be a drag with a huge handbag, pack a small one so you can travel as light as a feather. For the mean reading ñ all normal rules about the man bag go out the window when travelling, embrace it.
15. A Turkish towel or sarong - These are the perfect travel companion as they are light, take up minimal room and can become everything from a scarf, pillow, towel, sheet, or something to wrap yourself in when you’re going to temples or mosques.
16. Hand sanitizer – to sanitize your hands, obviously..
17. Face wipes or wet ones – hand cleaners, face cleaners, toilet seat cleaners, everything cleaners.
18. Tissues – Sad goodbyes to emergency toilet stops, tissues always come in handy.
19. A watch – Travel is one time that punctuality is completely necessary, don’t miss a flight because your phone died.
20. A large lightweight bag – make sure it can be folded into a tiny ball. It is always unrealistic to think you won’t go shopping at least once on a holiday. Save yourself the hassle of the last day rush around trying to buy an extra bag to carry all your new purchases home.
P.S. I am assuming you are all smart enough to remember a passport and tooth brush!