10 Essential Items You Must Pack When Traveling Abroad

You’ve booked your flight for a visit to another country, made arrangements at a hotel, and saved enough cash to spend at all of the coolest attractions around. While you may think that you’re all ready to explore new lands, you may be missing some traveling essentials. The country you’re visiting may have a different currency than yours, inclement weather that you aren’t expecting, or a whole lot more walking than you’re anticipating, so you’ll need to pack accordingly. Here are 10 non-negotiable essentials you’ll want to have when traveling abroad.

1. Copies of your travel documents

Travel documents| Source: iStock

Travel documents | Source: iStock

You know you’ll need your passport and boarding passes, but you don’t want to be sunk if you lose those, either. USA Today suggests making multiple copies of all of your travel documents when going abroad, including your passport, driver’s license, or any travel visas. You should print these copies out and keep one for yourself in a separate area as your original travel documents. And you should also give these, along with an itinerary and emergency contact information, to friends or family at home. Don’t forget the power of your smartphone, either — take a picture of your documents and email them to yourself for easy access to your passport number.

2. Travel health kit

first-aid kit in a suitcase

Health kit in a suitcase | Source: iStock

It’s likely you’ll remember to bring your prescription medications when you’re traveling abroad, but having a mini travel health kit full of emergency essentials is useful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to pack prescription medications, antibiotics (depending on the country you’re visiting and as prescribed by a medical professional), antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, hydrocortisone cream, and basic first-aid supplies. You can tailor your personal travel health kit to fit your destination as well.

3. Baby wipes

Whether you’re traveling with kids or not, baby wipes can be surprisingly handy when traveling abroad. Calculated Traveler suggests bringing a travel-sized package along with you so you can use them in case there’s no soap in the bathroom, wiping down toilet seats in public places, or using them as a quick refresher when showers are not readily available. You can even refrigerate them or throw them in the cooler when the weather is warm to make them even more refreshing.

4. Adapter and surge protector

Your cell phone charger, your camera battery, and bathroom appliances all need an outlet, so you can’t forget the necessary adapters to make sure that you can plug them all in. REI shows the shape of the adapter you’ll need when traveling to a different country, which allows your appliances to work in other outlets without a problem. A travel adapter is only the first step, too. You’ll need a surge protector to make sure you don’t fry your electronics in case the electrical currents are different strengths.

5. Appropriate footwear

Source: iStock

Men standing in striped socks and sneakers | Source: iStock

Depending on the climate of your destination, you’ll want the perfect shoes, but this doesn’t mean you should pack every type of shoe you own. You’ll absolutely need great closed-toe shoes that are ideal for walking — these are a non-negotiable item. Travel + Leisure recommends these Reebok’s Skyscape sneakers. TOMS are also great for travel because they are light and comfy slip-ons, and they come in styles that suit both men and women.

6. Daypack

You don’t want to find yourself stuck abroad with only your suitcase. When you’re out exploring your new country, you’ll need access to your phone, wallet, and other small essentials. A traveling daypack is the perfect solution, as some come with clips, lockable zippers, padded carrying handles, and covers for the shoulder straps, explains OutdoorGearLab. They’re better than a backpack because you can easily fit one in your suitcase, and if you’re going on a larger excursion, they come in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs.

7. Plastic grocery bags

The next time you visit the grocery store, don’t throw away your bags — they’re surprisingly handy. Whether you’re trekking through a snowy mountain or staying at a beach resort, you’ll need somewhere to put those wet winter clothes or bathing suits. Plastic grocery bags allow you to separate these grungy items from everything else without taking up room in your suitcase.

8. Protein bars

Source: iStock

A half-eaten protein bar | Source: iStock

Walking around all day can make you work up an appetite, and depending on what country you’re visiting, you might not have access to protein-fueled meals as easily as you would at home. Protein bars are easy to carry around, so you should have a few handy in case hunger strikes. Breaking Muscle suggests Rise Bar as an ideal option to carry with you, as it has enough calories and protein to make it a full meal. The GoodOnYa Bar is great as well. It has a wealth of healthy fats from hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and flax, and it’s high in iron and protein.

9. Travel towel

Even if you’re staying in a hotel, having a travel towel on hand is never a bad idea. If you’re out in the wilderness, then it’s absolutely essential. Travel towels are lightweight and compact, so they’re perfect to bring with you when you have limited space in a suitcase. They’re typically made with microfibers that dry much faster than your average bath towel, with just as much absorbency. This Youphoria Sport Towel is a great example. It’s lightweight, effective, and great for those on the go.

10. Waterproof/windproof jacket

No one wants to be stuck in the rain, especially when you’re traveling, so make sure to get a great waterproof and windproof jacket to ensure maximum comfort when facing the elements. You’ll want something lightweight and easy to pack that won’t take up much room in your luggage, but also material that’s waterproof, breathable, and comfortable. And don’t forget the importance of pockets — you’ll need to keep your belongings safe from the rain as well. Smarter Traveler suggests the SeV Revolution jacket because of its 26 pockets, removable hood, and removable sleeves for maximum comfort and coverage.

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