My top 10 essential items for travelling

If you’re anything like me, you’ll like to ensure you’re ready for anything when on an adventure. Whether a day hike, a week long stay in Europe, or a longer-than-average trip further afield, I am a stickler for making sure I cover a many bases as possible.

This can often mean packing and unpacking a fair few times to ensure I get all those essentials in, and some would argue that these items are less essential and more…erm, random.

But over the years I have refined my packing process to a ‘T’, and in my fair opinion, the 10 random essential items that should be included in your packing list (putting aside clothes, underwear, and basic bathroom items such as a toothbrush) are the following:

1. A pack of cards

There has been many a time that myself and my husband have come to a point where we are at a loss for what to do. This is usually in the evening, as I no doubt will have planned a full itinerary for the daytime with no room for even considering the words ‘what shall we do?’… HOWEVER there are moments when you’re fed up of reading, don’t want to be a phone bore and simply don’t want to move to find entertainment outside of your current bodily location. Therefore, I recommend card (preferably High School Musical themed ones like mine…).

Here are my favourite games to try:

  • Crazy 8’s (2+player)
  • Gin rummy (2+ player)
  • Spit (2 player)
  • Sevens (2+ player)
  • Solitaire (solo)
  • Clock patience (solo)

2. A bottle-opener

I’m not sure I really need to give any justification for this being on my list…who’s never been in a situation when you’ve seriously wished you had a bottle opener? (Or got the sore jaw/chipped a tooth from trying to open the bottle with your teeth…)


3. A waterproof bag

A very practical inclusion, and a definite for the more adventurous trips you take. We’ve used our Osprey waterproof bag no end of times and has proved invaluable for ensuring we keep those valuables bone-dry. I recommend you go and look at them before you buy, else you’ll make the mistake we did and massively underestimate the size you were envisaging and needed and end up with one barely big enough to fit your phone.

4. Material tote bag

A great way to pack a city/town ‘handbag’ so you don’t need to lug your day pack around with you, without eating into precious packings pace. They also make great beach bags too as they’re so roomy.

5. Pashmina

This is my absolute must-have on my travels. Pashminas are just so versatile and have no end of use whilst travelling. Just look at this list…

  • Scarf
  • Sarong
  • Towel
  • Blanket
  • Seat pad
  • Bag (tie it up like a pouch)
  • Head protector
  • Umbrella (maybe for only those light showers though!)

I never go on my holidays without one. You also don’t need to pack it in your backpack whilst travelling between places, because you can wear it!

6. Safety pins

Just because. Who knows when you’ll need to re-attached/fix/poke something with a sharp pin?

7. Tissues

As above (although make sure you take with you when camping, or ‘popping a squat’ – no litter bugging the outdoors please).

8. Headband

I have a Buff, which is also multipurpose (I like multi-purpose things); it’s a headband, neckerchief, bandana, balaclava and a mini beanie hat all rolled into one.

9. Pencil

There has been SO MANY TIMES that I’ve been on holiday and really wanted to do some spontaneous writing, but had inconveniently forgotten to bring a pencil, or a pen (but preferably a pencil – they don’t leak or randomly stop working for no good reason). So now I remember to always pack a pencil, and my journal of course to write in.

You can’t beat writing in a book rather than on a screen. For long, serious writing, the screen probably does the best job, but for creativity there is nothing better than a piece of paper and a pencil. I often crave to write, to feel that movement in my hand. Weird?

10. Electrolyte sachets

I am super bad at drinking enough water on an average day, let alone if I’m out hiking in the Californian sunshine dripping with sweat (delightful, yes). So I always make sure I take electrolyte sachets with me for those days that I’ve not quite kept up my fluid intake. It also provides that necessarily salt which your body sweats out. Water alone is sometimes not enough.

So there you have it, my top 10 packing essentials for travelling!

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