For some, packing for an upcoming trip brings a rush of excitement. Hours away, you’ll be off jet-setting across the world, discovering uncharted lands, eating exotic food, and most importantly, not working.
For others, it can actually induce a bit of stress. What should I bring? Am I going to be too hot or too cold? Do I need to pack nice clothes on the off chance I go somewhere fancy?
Over the years, I’ve refined my packing list down to a routine. All my gear fits into a small, minimalist backpack; the benefits of sone-bag travel are extensive. And as a self-proclaimed (or diagnosed?) minimalist packer, there’s really not much room for variation, regardless of the type of trip I’m taking.
But regardless if you’re an obsessive minimalist backpacker like me or a chronic over-packer, there are a few pieces of travel kit that you should always bring.
Let’s face it, everything we own is battery-powered nowadays. As much as the Neo-Luddite in me wants to go back to the days of paper maps and flip-phones, it’s probably not going to happen. There are too many conveniences of a smartphone, especially when traveling, that are tough to ignore. And for those of us that run a business remotely, it’s even more compelling.
Inevitably, after all those picture/video taking and Google Map directions, your phone will need some juice. Since boarding passes, IDs, credit cards, and other important info is stored on our smartphones, it can be a bit stressful.
Keeping a power bank with you basically means I never have to worry about that. The ones from Anker are pretty solid, but there are plenty of other options out there as well. Some can even power your laptop!
Admittedly I’m pretty new to Turkish towels. I was using some microfiber towels I got off Amazon a few years ago for the longest time. The thing with microfiber, though, is that since it’s a synthetic fabric, it can start to retain smells pretty quickly. And when you’re traveling, it’s not always easy to get the towel completely dry before packing it away. So after only a couple of uses, my towel started to consistently smell pretty bad.
Insert the Turkish towel. Made from luxuriously soft and fast-drying Turkish cotton, these are infinitely better than that microfiber towel you’re using. And because of some of the cotton’s qualities, they get softer, more absorbent, and fluffier over time. Even better, they actually look pretty nice too. I’ve even used mine as a scarf in a pinch, and it worked out pretty well.
So ditch the microfiber and keep a Turkish towel in your travel kit instead.
Often, travel can take a toll. Especially for those of us plebeians, sitting in basic economy seats and crashing in hostels. Eventually, you’re going to end up with a knot in your neck or need to stretch out those legs.
A lacrosse ball is such an underutilized tool. Easy to throw in a backpack somewhere and is one of the most effective recovery tools out there.
Once you get to your hostel, don’t be afraid to be that weird person who just rolls out their calf muscles. You’ll thank yourself later.
Sleep Mask & Ear Plugs
If you haven’t been woken up in the middle of the night by some hostel mates fucking in the bed next to you, you aren’t a veteran traveler yet.
But that did happen to me! And it wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever gone through in my life. Though, I mean, kudos to them.
And maybe it won’t be that extreme, perhaps just some people arriving late or coming back from the bar late and you have an early flight to catch. Travel can be exhausting; every little bit of sleep counts.
So the moral of the story is to always have your sleep mask and earplugs.
This one is huge. I always bring a packable backpack with me. Sometimes, a little day pack is crucial when you get to your destination – even for one-bag travelers…does this make me a two-bag traveler?
I use the Minaal 2.0 as my minimalist backpack. Still, once I’m at my destination, it’s a touch too big to walk around the city with. And without all my stuff, it can look a little floppy.
I absolutely love the ones from Matador; they fit in the palm of your hand, are water-proof/resistant, and can take a severe beating. I’ve had mine for a few years now, and it’s still going strong.
So there you have it. If you pack these 5 items in your travel kit, you’ll get be ready for just about everything.