Be sure to bring a color copy of your passport. If your actual passport is lost, it is beneficial to have a second color copy to take to the nearest embassy or consulate. We’ve been lucky enough to not have this happen yet, but we hear that having a color copy can save you a huge headache. In fact, you should also leave a color copy back home with someone you know and trust as well.
Have all the technology that you need. Check to make sure that your phone, camera, etc. can be used in the type of plug in the country in which you are traveling. For any travel, and plane flight, be sure to have your plug and cord, as most planes come equipped with outlets to charge your phone. That way you can hit the ground running, fully charged, when you land. Also, many planes have headphone jacks and personal televisions to watch, so be sure to bring your headphones and any converters you may need for that.
Carry all medicine with you at all times. Do not pack your medicine in your checked luggage; always have it in your carry on. We had a friend whose flight was delayed 36 hours and she had to go without the medication that she needed. This could include anything like Advil, Imodium (always bring with you, especially if you like street food like us!), sleeping pills for the plane, or contact solution.
Always carry a reusable water bottle. Plastic bottles are a huge problem, not to mention water at airports can cost up to $5 just for a bottle. Most airports are now equipped with water-filling stations, and having a reusable bottle can be a plus not only for the environment but also for your wallet.
Bring an eye mask and ear plugs. You’ll need this. For the plane. For the hostel. For the hotel. For the beach. You never know when these two key items may come into play. You may not ever use them, but when situation calls for them, you’ll definitely wish you had them. We can’t recommend both enough.
Wear clothing that has zippers and pockets. Or, better yet, zipper pockets! It’s great to have a place to store your valuables like your wallet, passport, or cell phone. We’ve had situations where cell phones have fallen out of pockets, too. So having clothes that have zippable pockets are the way to travel.
Sun protection is a must. Even if you’re not going to a place you think you’ll need it, bring it. Travel sized sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are almost always on our list.
Baby wipes! Need we say more? These are easy to pack and so incredibly useful. They are versatile, and can be used in many situations. And, when pinch comes to shove, a baby wipe “shower” is better than nothing.
Our lives were transformed when we purchased packing cubes. Can’t afford them? Ziplock plastic bags also do the trick. But, if you can spring for the real deal, do. If you have to live out of suitcase for a few days, a week, or even a month, it is really nice to have your bag organized just as you would your dresser at home. It makes things easy to find. If you’re staying at a hostel or any other shared room and have to quietly get up in the morning by the glow of your flashlight, it makes digging around in your bag much easier to cope with.
Pack an extra bag, or a plastic bag, for dirty or wet clothes. We like to use reusable grocery bags, especially the ones that fold down into about the size of your palm. At the end of a trip, it’s nice to have an extra bag to throw your muddy sneakers in, or a way to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes for the duration of the vacation.
A lock is always a good idea. It’s nice to leave for the day and have the peace-of-mind that your belongings back at the hotel or hostel are safe for the day. Having a way to lock your bag can prevent thieves from wanting to choose your luggage to search through. It’s just a nice added security that we usually travel with on the road, especially if we are in a shared room or apartment.
Goggles make a great snorkeling alternative and are much easier to pack than a mask, snorkel and fins. If you are headed anywhere that has water, throw in a pair of googles. We have also found that it can save you a lot of money. Instead of booking a snorkeling trip off a boat or with a company, you can find your way to that same swim spot and have your own adventure.