Over the years, we seemed to have reduced the amount of stuff we take with us on our trips. When we first met and started travelling together, we seemed to pack everything but the kitchen sink. I even used to check in luggage for a long weekend break. Maybe because we travel so often now, we have learnt what is pointless packing, what we need and what essentials for any trip we have to take. Even though neither of us particularly like packing, we now have the process down to a tee. My personal record from unzipping my carry on to rezipping it currently stands at 15 minutes.
There are loads of stories about people who have upped and left with just their passport and travelled around the world for 6 months. That sounds all well and good, but in reality, I imagine extremely difficult to do. Plus I think it would trigger a whole new level of travel anxiety in me. Even after we have packed we always double check that we have at least the very essential essentials. You know the stuff you have to travel with – passport, purse, phone and pants (usually more pair than actually needed, if we’re honest!) So if we just assume these four things as givens. Here are our (other) 5 essentials that we travel with on every trip.
Even though it’s the year 2018 the majority of trips we take still require us to have paper copies of bookings, confirmations etc. On the most recent trip, we took to Germany, the Eurowings (great airline, by the way, you should check them out) online check-in system was down so we couldn’t download our boarding passes to our phones. Instead, we were issued with old-school boarding passes to use. We also had to take printouts for some of the trips we had booked via Viator. Together with our bus tickets for our journey between Munich and Salzburg. Therefore, we had to ensure that they were kept safely and neatly until we needed them. Things like this normally end up in the front pocket of my rucksack in a crumpled mess.
However, thanks to the British Belt Company, we had a beautiful leather document holder to keep everything, including our passports in. The Whiteford Travel Document Holder* (£60.00) is stunning. We love the vintage effect and just how soft the leather it is made from is. It was perfect on our recent trip and it is already primed and ready to go for our trip to Italy later this week. Also, we love the fact that it is monogrammed with ESLT, making it very special, personal and something we can and will use for years to come.
World Plug Adapter
We’d always had the little shoddy travel adapters which we had a habit of leaving places or having them break on us when we pulled them out of the wall. On more than one occasion we had packed the wrong one and not realised until we had arrived at our destination. Even with all the will in the world, a European travel adapter is not going to fit in a US socket. That was until my friend bought me a world travel adapter for my birthday a couple of years ago. Seriously, how did I live without one for so long – it had every connection for every country and a couple of USB ports too, meaning I could charge my phone while something was plugged in at the same time.
Unfortunately, I lost that one but loved it so much, I instantly replaced it. Mr ESLT also loved it so much, he bought one for himself too. It makes packing that little bit easier too as you don’t have to worry about which adapter to pack. We only have to pack the world adapters and we know we’ll be covered, regardless of where we are heading. In fact, I keep mine in my carry on at all times, when I’m not using it, of course, to reduce the risk even more of forgetting it.
As Mr ESLT and I both have terrible eyesight, essentials for us have to include glasses/contact lenses. Also, I have light-sensitive eyes and Mr ESLT has just been told his eyes have UV damage, meaning we both have to wear sunglasses more frequently even when others aren’t. We promise we’re not posers who wear their sunglasses inside – we’re not at that stage just yet. So travelling with glasses/contact lenses and at least one pair of sunglasses, although more often than not it is at least a couple of pairs each are essentials for any trip for us.
Mr ESLT is great at looking after his glasses and sunglasses, I, on the other hand, am not. I’ve lost count of how many pairs I have broken or damaged from simply just chucking them in my handbag when I’ve finished wearing them. Needless, to say arms have fallen off and lenses have fallen out. However, I don’t have an excuse not to protect them now the British Belt Company have sent me yet another fantastic gift – an Italian leather glasses case* (£40.00). I, of course, opted for pink, although they are available in 9 different colours. And once again it was monogrammed especially for me. It is beautiful and the leather is so soft and smells fantastic. Needless, to say my new Ray Bans stayed looking perfect throughout our recent trip to Germany and I have already packed them in their new case for our upcoming trip to Italy.
As a self-confessed social media addict, you are more than likely to find me with my phone in my hand – Tweeting, FBing and ‘Gramming (tut tut – I know). Because of this, my phone’s battery drains quite, OK very, quickly. Therefore a power bank is essential for me on a daily basis, let alone when travelling. You can pick them up now for very reasonable prices. However, I remember the first one I ever bought was about £80 and massive. Now they are a lot more discreet and fit easily into my bag.
I of course use, my phone for a lot more than just social media. The most important, of course, is having the ability to call or at least contact someone should I need to. Whether it be Mr ESLT if we have been split up or the relevant authority should we get in trouble. I’m heading back to Germany on my own on a press trip next week. Therefore, having a working phone is essential, especially as I am flying solo. Also, having the ability to keep on top of emails. As a blogger, the next big opportunity could come in at any time. Therefore I need to be able to pick up the email and respond as soon as possible.
Debit & Credit Card
Of course, cash, or at least access to cash is essential. Unless you are a freegan who is happy to sleep on the beach if there is a beach at your destination. Even if you are on the strictest budget, you’ll need money for certain things during your trip. We would always recommend taking at least two different cards – one debit and one credit. On more than one occasion we have been stung by the ‘hold on your card for incidentals’ that many hotels insist on. As the money is not taken just held we have learnt, the hard way, that this should always be done on a credit card now. If it’s held on your debit card, it can take up to 10 days to be released and added back to your available balance again.
Having passed our pearls of wisdom onto my cousin who recently came to Germany and Austria with us, I forgot to explain to her that she should keep them in separate places. We often take one each, to reduce the likelihood of losing them both. Unfortunately, she had them both in her purse, which she lost on our first night in Munich. Beware the strong beer folks. Luckily she was able to transfer cash to my account online which I could then withdraw for her. Otherwise, she would have most definitely gone hungry until her bank could get replacement cards too here.
Even when we’ve forgotten the camera, or left the laptop at home, we find that by having at least these 5 things, makes our trip completely doable. You’d think it would be quite difficult as travel bloggers, however, we are still able to do our job to an acceptable level. Even though we could get by with just the essentials, I’ll be honest we have never tested the theory. Maybe we should?
What essentials can you not live without when travelling? Let us know.
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