Welcome Back to Spencer Elizabeth Worldwide
As I prepared to head off on my annual trip to Europe, I thought of all of the helpful things I bring along with me to ensure my trip goes smoothly. I have added to and tweaked my "to bring" list over the years to save money and time while traveling. I now feel that I have a practical essentials list and of course... I wanted to share the wealth with my fellow travelers! So, whether you’re a first-time or returning traveler... this essentials list is for you!
*** NOT in order of importance. they are all important to me :)
1. A Quality Camera
I NEVER travel without my camera! You never know what you'll have the chance to see and sometimes a phone isn't enough to capture that moment. My camera equipment consists of: a Canon T6 Rebel EOS base with an 18-55mm lens, 75-300mm lens, a 36 GB memory card, extra batteries, battery charger, GoPro Hero 7 (for tropical/ water-based trips) and a tripod. I make sure to only pack lenses and camera equipment I will for sure use otherwise it becomes too heavy. I keep all of my camera equipment in my carry-on because if my luggage is lost, I don’t have a camera for my entire trip and it’s expensive. The thought of that is honestly devastating!
2. Portable Charger
We use our phones for so many things, social media, Uber, airline tickets, reservation confirmations, navigation... the list is endless. I find it helpful to always have a portable charger on hand for those long days of traveling or tourism. I’ve learned from personal experiences how draining international data roaming can be on a cell phone battery in just one hour. If you are traveling solo in an unfamiliar place, the last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere with a dead phone. I defiantly recommend investing in a long-lasting portable charger.
3. Noise-canceling Headphones
When I fly, I always score a lucky seat next to someone with a screaming baby or extremely loud talkers. Because of this, I bring my headphones with me while traveling to avoid those major distractions. I’m still able to get school work done, listen to music or watch a movie without having to hear other people in such close quarters. I also like having headphones for when I'm taking public transportation (very common in europe) to make the commute go a lot faster. There are several brands made especially for noise cancelation, I use Beats Solo 3 Wireless in Rose Gold.
4. Snacks & Gum
I know this one seems simple but... airport food/snack are sooooo expensive! It’s not just the airport, the "affordable" airlines hike up the prices of snacks to make up for the money lost in the flight purchase. I prefer to spend my money at my destination. I make sure to pack my carry-on with someone my favorite snacks. It's completely up to you whether you splurge or go the healthy route. Regardless of your choosing, you will save anywhere from $10-40. I also bring chewing gum for my flights for when my ears pop.
5. Chapstick, Lotion & Hand Sanitizer
Moisturizer is essential to have especially when traveling during the colder months. I pack travel size moisturizer in my carry on because airplane air is extremely harsh on skin! I also wash my hands more often because of all the germs roaming around. Even after flying, I like to have familiar moisturizers throughout my trip because it's likely I won’t be able to find products I know and love halfway across the world. If I do find it, it has an up-charge due to the currency exchange. It’s better to just come prepared.
6. Universal Outlet Adapter
Every country has different customs, food, languages... so it's only normal that the outlets would be different as well. I learned that on my first trip out of the country when I had to purchase a very expensive outlet adapter that broke a week later. If you bring a universal adapter, you can charge electronics wherever there’s an outlet. Also, keep in mind that some hotels/hostels charge a borrowing fee to use an outlet adapter so it's always better to just have your own. In addition, you can take it with you on any future trips you have planned!
7. Several Forms of ID
I know what you are thinking… "DUH, of course I’m going to bring my ID and passport". You’d be surprised how often I see tourists freaking out because they have lost their passports. As long as you have several forms of ID and copies of your identification documents, (always keep in a secure area!) there is no need to panic. You can take your documents to the Embassy or Consulate to obtain a temporary ID to make it back home safely and legally. It’s better to be prepared than suck. It saves you the headache of taking more time off work as well You can also visit this website for more information.
8. Small Purse/Extra Bag
For those of you who love to bring home goodies and souvenirs… this essential is defiantly for you! I recommend the extra bag to hold anything and everything you plan to bring back home from your trip. I also like to have a small purse handy for night-life and days I don’t feel like lugging my camera equipment around. I like to make sure the bad is neutral and goes with all of the outfits I pack in my suitcase.
I like to have my laptop when I travel to complete schoolwork, transfer the days worth of photographs and/or watch movies while before going to bed. But, my main reason for having my laptop is because my phone was stolen on one of my previous trips and I would have had the hardest time getting around if I didn't have my laptop with me. I was able to I looked up directions to landmarks and booked online-only last minute tickets. It made losing my phone a little less frustrating. This may not apply to all but now I never go on a trip without my laptop.
No one on the plane wants to smell your stinky breath when you wake up from a long nap or eat foreign cuisine. Just being real lol. I’m sure you don’t want to live with stinky breath either so, you should always bring two-in-one travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste. Although some airlines and hotels are nice enough to provide those items, it’s better to be prepared for the airlines and lodging that aren't so nice or that charge you. You may think this is a given but I’ve come across some smelly-breath.
11. Gel Pen
Going through customs after getting off an 8+ hour flight is a nightmare. Just by having a pen, you can save at least an hour of your time. Always keep a pen so you can fill out your customs sheet before exiting the plane and get right into line. For those who don't bring a pen are waiting around to find or borrow a pen! I have been one of those people and it sucks! Who knew a pen could give allow you to have more time to enjoy rather than wasting your time in line? Now you do! Also, If you lend it to a plane neighbor… get it back! You will also need to fill out a form when you return home.
12. Travel Pillow
When traveling on an international flight, the pillows are practically flat. Although I am grateful for the times I’ve forgotten my travel pillow, it’s always nice to bring your own. Bringing a travel pillow will help you get a bit more comfortable on long and not-so-comfortable flights and train rides. As much as we love saving the planet, the pillows are in fact recycled and exposing yourself directly onto other people's germs is a risk you don't want to take. I promise you'll be thanking me later!
13. Comfy Clothing
Traveling be stressful and lengthy so I like to be as comfortable as possible. I also find planes to be really cold regardless of the time of year. Remember, you can put on what you don't have. I always wear a jacket and socks; even in Florida. I like to have clothing that is comfortable while also easy to put on and take off. My favorite thing to bring is fuzzy socks because my toes are the first thing to get cold on a flight (comment if you can relate).
14. Band-Aids (for ankles and fingers)
I can’t tell you how many times I've gotten blisters from all the walking I do while traveling! I like to pack band-aids and blister specific bandages for those kind days/tours that require me to walk all day. So far, the best brand I've tried is called: Compeed. I also use these blister pads for when I want to wear cute shoes but haven’t had the chance to break them in yet. It prevents me from getting blisters or helps manage the ones I may already have.
15. Makeup Remover
If I am wearing makeup on my flight or in general, I always to make sure I take it off before getting too comfortable. The airplane air is bad enough as it is, so sleeping with makeup isn't helping anyone. It's easy enough to do in my seat, so being too lazy is never an excuse. Keep in mind that airlines and hotels do not provide make-up remover or wipes, so it’s up to you to be prepared and bring what works best for your skin.
Bonus Essential: A Journal
I enjoy keeping a journal with me when I travel so I can document my thoughts as well as things I observe while visiting somewhere new; people, food, scenic descriptions, current emotions, etc. It also helps me to be more accurate when giving travel advice on my blog or in person because I have a reference from the exact moment I observed it. I also just like to look back and see how different I am from one trip to the next. If you're traveling for a specific life-altering purpose or just want to have memories to look back on, I highly highly recommend bringing a journal on your next trips!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about the way I pack for my trips and also bring you some relief while packing for your next trip! If there are any travel essentials that stuck out to you or one you think I should add to my list… comment the item down below!
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and follow along with my travels. Please be sure to like, comment, share and subscribe for more travel, photography and lifestyle content.