Travel Essentials - What I’d Never Leave Home Without


Anyone who has travelled long enough and often enough will tell you they have a ‘list’. Essentials that are perfectly suited to just their needs when on the go.

Mine is just this. It’s distilled from years of figuring out just what kind of traveller I am and what makes any trip as stress-free as possible for me. Most importantly, it’s a list that makes the amount of time spent travelling almost an after-thought.


As someone who is prone to forgetting to stay hydrated, the number one thing I need is a water bottle. Preferably light-weight and foldable. The Vapur Eclipse is all this and more to me. Delightfully named, the ‘anti-bottle' it folds down to fit into your pocket, is lightweight, BPA free and has a carabiner to secure it onto most backpacks or bags. The most fun feature — the leak proof flip-top, which can be opened conveniently even if just using one hand.

Make Up

No. Not my whole arsenal of face paint, just enough to help me look put together irrespective of how long I've been travelling. This usually includes mascara, a lip/cheek tint and perhaps a bright lipstick to cheer me up.


Sure airlines will usually give you a set of disposable toiletries, but I still prefer my using my own. Why? Because I know exactly why each of these work for me and exactly what goes into each of the products in my selection.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, mint and wet wipes (usually ones that remove make-up as well). The list is basic, purposeful and has not failed me yet.

A small addition I’d make to this when flying anywhere, is a power trio of chapstick, hand cream and a hydrating face mist. Business or coach, aircraft don’t discriminate when sucking all the moisture out of your skin. So, in addition to sipping enough water, these three form the final shield in my fight against dry, leathery skin.
This one is a no-brainer. Yet, you’d be surprised to know how many people travel without a basic first-aid kit. Mine includes a basic cocktail of the usual suspects - pain relievers and anti-motion sickness, anti-diarrheal, antihistamines, paracetamol and a few vitamins that make up my daily quota. In addition, there’s always a few adhesive bandages of different shapes and sizes thrown in for good measure.

I’m loath to lug around a whole shopping cart full of snacks and drinks anywhere, but, all medium to long haul travel merits at least a few individual zip lock baggies filled with trail mix and some tea/infusion. It doesn’t weigh a ton and is perfect for all those times I could use a little extra energy in between meals or am faced with disastrous menu options. Bonus points for being super healthy without trying too hard!

Woolen Scarf
Irrespective of what I’m wearing, whether I’m seated in front of an air conditioning vent or not, I feel cold.

While Uniqlo has a perfectly competent range of Ultralight Down Jackets that I often carry, few pieces are as versatile as a wool scarf or shemagh. Mine has doubled up as a blanket, eye shade, head wrap and even a make-shift neck pillow in a jiffy. I’m a sucker for most multi-purpose options and this one is a personal favourite.

Another thing I’ve realised in the course of my travels is that one cannot escape the occasional run in with crappy entertainment systems or ones that fail you entirely. Though, technology offers the best chance at beating dear old Murphy at his own game. If I’m not travelling with my 11-inch Macbook Air, I mostly have a combination of my iPad, Kindle Paperwhite and my iPhone — all prepped for travel.

What this means is that I clear my 15GB phone of pictures, videos and unnecessary apps before every trip. My iPad or laptop is stocked with movies, TV series and electronic versions of periodicals I’d like to catch up on. And finally, my trusty Kindle has enough books on it to last me a few years and enough of battery juice to make sure I can read virtually anywhere.

So, fully functioning entertainment systems or not, I’m never left starved for something to keep myself suitably entertained.

Combination lock

I've found that a combination lock provides just enough security to keep pilfering hands at bay irrespective of the mode of transport. Plus, no keys, means all I need to do is pick a code I'll remember easily and it gives me enough security on the go.

And with that, my line up of travel essentials comes to an end. Think I missed something or have a better idea that works for you? Leave me a comment. 

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