Take it from someone who has spent quite a bit of time traipsing about the world: you will always forget to pack SOMETHING. However, if you can avoid leaving the following items behind, your trip might go a little bit smoother.
5) Plastic Bag
You probably have a dozen of these crammed in a closet right at this very moment. Though it may seem strange to bring one along on your international journey, the uses for a plastic bag are endless. Wrap it around your lotions and mini shampoo bottles to prevent spills. Use it to keep that wet swimsuit away from the rest of your dry clothing. Can’t remember which socks need washing? Segregate them to the bag. Unexpected downpour? This is the perfect way to protect your electronics! Take one along, you won’t regret it.
4) Pen & Paper
It doesn’t matter if you take a nicely bound notebook or a few sheets of loose leaf, paper and a pen to write with are hugely useful. (Also, very old school) Does that helpful man giving you directions want to draw a map? No problem! Do you need a way to remember the name of the restaurant your hostel buddies recommended? Got it! No smartphone service overseas? Thank goodness you wrote your friend’s contact info down! And, should the urge to sketch the beauty around you strike, you’re prepared for that as well.
We realize this seems pretty self-evident, but we’re not talking prescription drugs. The medicines every wary traveler should pack are the ones you hope you don’t need, but will be glad to have. Painkillers (headaches, sunburn), anti-itch cream (bug bites), antibiotic ointment (cuts, burns, blisters), anti-diarrhea pills (you can extrapolate the meaning on this one, right?). All of these are items you’d rather have with you than attempt to find while you’re suffering.
2) Band aids
This follows very closely on the theme of number 3 (you read it, right? If not, WHY ARE YOU SKIPPING NUMBERS?) Even if you do manage to avoid cutting or scraping yourself up, everyone has run into the problem of their chosen pair of travel shoes becoming suddenly, intensely uncomfortable halfway through the trip. Rather than rub your heels raw, you can take preventative steps with this must-pack item.
If you’ve chosen to ignore all of our advice up until this point, pack this one. Tissues are the single most useful thing you can take with you. Whether you’ve caught a cold, need to mop up a spill, dry your eyes, or the public restroom isn’t supplied with toilet paper, tissues will come to your rescue again and again. They’re also probably the item the people you’re traveling with will ask for, so go ahead, be the hero.