My must-pack list
I travel probably more than the average person and while I don’t always pack as lightly as I should, there are a few things that I seem to take on every trip that I always find myself making use of. All of these things are small, relatively inexpensive, easy to pack and carry, and are a great addition to any journey.
1. Good (in-ear) headphones & music
A good pair of comfortable headphones and your favourite device loaded with great tunes is essential for a short or long-distance trip. I’ve got a pair of in-earbuds that I take with me everywhere, along with an old MP3 player that’s got a ton of music on it.
Music is the perfect way to pass time while in transit. It’s also a great way to muffle noise if you’re trying to get some rest. It’s key to have a solid pair of headphones that are comfortable, especially if you’re going to be wearing them for a significant period of time and potentially even sleeping with them in. And once you find a good pair, I’d suggest buying a couple of them in case one happens to get lost along the way.
As for your device, consider taking something inconspicuous that you won’t mind losing/breaking while on your trip. If you’ve got an old music player laying around, pack that instead of carrying your brand new fancy one with you everywhere.
Besides all of the practical reasons, having a good pair of earbuds and some great tunes make any trip better. There are certain songs that, when I hear them again, will take me right back to a moment on a train or a plane or a bus and are a vivid reminder of that trip.
2. Writing utensils and pads of paper
A pen and notebook is another must-have for any trip I take. Sometimes I don’t use them as much as I’d like to, but packing some decent writing or drawing instruments and a sketchbook or pad of paper is easy enough that I can’t justify not taking them with me.
Whether I’m writing down an idea or keeping a journal of my adventures or just doodling, I find having something to jot down random thoughts on is useful. It’s also a great way to make note of a restaurant you want to try later on or give a new friend your contact details. I always try to pick small notebooks that can fit in a small bag or purse that I’m taking with me for the day so that I can make sure I always have something to write with on me.
Even if I only use them a few times throughout a trip, my notes or doodles are always a fun, personal reminder of a certain moment or particular day during a trip when I was inspired or moved enough to put pen to paper.
3. Film camera
Probably not what you’d expect to be on a must-pack travel list in 2015. Do these things still even exist? Let me tell you, they do and, while they’re no digital camera, they are definitely worth taking with you on a trip as well.
Having a film camera and taking shots periodically or just taking it with you on your days of exploration while traveling will make a big difference at the end of your trip. It’s nice to have the digital images as well, but let’s be honest, do you ever do anything with them? What’s great about having a film camera is that you have the photos physically printed and ready for framing.
The easiest way to get some great, unique memories of your trip is to get a disposable camera and take it with you on a day that you know you’ll be out exploring your new surroundings. Get a few snaps in a bunch of different locations and wait in anticipation to see how they turned out once you get home.
I’ve been doing this for a few years now with an old film camera from the 70s and, while the shots aren’t always perfect, the imperfections in the photo make them even more precious and authentic. I tend to snap less shots because I have a limited amount, so I save the film for really quintessential shots that represent that trip or city. And, at the end of the trip, I have some printed photos that are ready to be put on the wall as a perfect souvenir.
4. Address book
Speaking of souvenirs, having an address book with you is one of the easiest ways to solve the issue of souvenirs for family and friends. Everyone loves snail mail and it doesn’t get sent much these days. Having the opportunity to send some classic postcards from your travels to your loved ones back home is an easy and inexpensive way to let them know you’re thinking about them while also giving them the joy of receiving something in the mail from a far away land.
I have a small address book that, again, is easy to pack and carry in my purse if I’m out and about. I find that it’s an easy errand to run while adventuring and a postcard is an always-welcomed surprise and a cheap way to make your family and friends happy, even while you’re away.
These four things are always with me when I travel and I’ve found they always get used. At the end of my trip I’m left with lots of little mementos in the form of notes or scribbled drawings, printed photos, and newly-obsessed songs and I’ve even managed to share my trip with some of the dearest people in my life, thanks to my four trusty must-packs.
Written by: Sonia Motisca