Traveling is awesome. Packing is not awesome. Seeing new things is great. Forgetting your toothbrush at home is not great. If you’re wondering how I know that, it’s because the last time I went on a camping trip in California I forgot my toothbrush. I had to clean my teeth with sticks and pinecones for the whole trip.
You would think that, as a seasoned listicle writer, I’d be good at making a thorough and all-encompassing packing list. One might be led to believe that my experience listing things out multiple times every week would result in me helping myself out with my finely tuned, list-based skillset to never forget anything in my travel bag ever. Au contraire.
That’s why I’m going to do all of us a favor and list out the 10 most important things you’ll need on any trip you take. Keep this list handy, and you won’t have to be like me, forgetting things at home like a dunce.
- Toothbrush - Don’t be like me. Remember your dang toothbrush. Do we need any further explanation why it’s important to keep your pearly whites pearly and white?
- Underwear - I’m going to get real with you for a second; nobody likes a funky undercarriage. A fresh pair of undies isn’t just good for your olfactory senses. It’s also good for general hygiene and feelings of wellbeing.
- Headphones - Whether you’re hopping on a plane or sitting in a car for a few hours, headphones are a lifesaver. These should be one of the first things that go in your bag.
- Cell phone - I’m a huge fan of disconnecting during my vacations. However, just because you’re on a technology detox doesn’t mean you should leave your phone at home. Emergencies can happen anywhere, and having a lifeline to the outside world might save your life.
- Itinerary - If you simply must leave your cell phone behind, an itinerary might save your life. Make one copy for yourself and one copy for someone that you trust to keep an eye out for you. Being able to better pinpointing your location, whether in a city or wilderness, might mean the difference between life and death if you get lost.
- Rain jacket - Getting caught in the rain isn’t cool. Getting soaked to the bone is the perfect way to ruin whatever fun you were planning on having during your excursion. Bring a rain jacket and you don’t have to worry about what mother nature has planned for the sky.
- Warm Outerwear - I might be wrong about this, but usually, nighttime is colder than daytime. If you get stuck somewhere cold and need warmth, it’s way faster to put on a sweatshirt than to build a fire. Plus, if you’re in the middle of a city, you can’t really just start up a campfire in the middle of the sidewalk.
- ID - If you’re traveling internationally, your passport should never leave your side. Even in the shower. OK, maybe not that extreme, but make sure you keep it close. Likewise, keep your ID close-by if you’re traveling domestically.
- Extra Socks - Soggy feet are really unhealthy, really uncomfortable, and really smelly. Bring a pair of extra socks, especially if you’re going to be walking a bunch. You’ll be surprised how much better a fresh pair will make you feel after a long day of exploring.
- Water Bottle - Really, water bottle should be number 1 on this list. Everything else you can live without. Water, if you’re stuck without it, you die after 3 days or so. That’s dead, dead. Not like, “Oh, I’m dying of thirst,” after you haven’t had a margarita in a couple of hours dead. Actual dead. Don’t die. Bring a water bottle wherever you’re going.
If you’re wondering what else to bring on your vacation, most everything else is just periphery. These essentials will keep you safe, clean, and happy on whatever kind of vacation you’re taking. Whether it’s a week of urban exploring in Europe or a 5 day wilderness excursion in the Appalachians, you’ll probably at least make it back alive if you pack these 10 must-haves.
Make some new memories, and be sure you don't forget to capture them. They're likely on digital media, but don't forget about those old home movies and pictures from past vacations. Send them in to get them digitized!