Top 10 Travel Essentials for Travelling the World
Top 10 Travel Essentials
My favourite subject / topic in the world has to be travelling. I like talking about it; reading about it; watching programmes about it; and I like doing it. I like nothing more than to leave everything behind and to go off exploring: seeing new places; trying new activities; new foods; new cultures; new modes of transportation; new languages…the list goes on.
Although I like to travel as light as possible and leave all my ‘possessions’ at home where they can’t distract me, there are some essential items that a traveller needs to have in the bag for when travelling around the world. I’ve set out what I consider to be the top 10 items here. You might need more than 10 or you might not want everything on the list. Ultimately all you need is a passport and some money, but I think the other items might just come in handy. Enjoy my travelling around the world tips. Happy travels people!
To Travel Essentials #1: A valid passport
If you're not sure what a valid passport is then let me start right there. A valid passport is a passport with at least 6 months left before the expiry date. This item is the very definition of an essential travel item and hence its position at the top of the list. After all you can’t even get out of your own country if you don’t have this. Every country demands to see a valid passport for travel.
If you’re planning on going to lots of different continents and countries you’re going to be getting a lot of entry / exit stamps in your passport as well as one or two full-page visas along the way. Be sure to have plenty of blank pages for this. Some border officials seem to love the idea of taking up a whole page for their one little stamp. This is fine until you have no blank pages left and you want to get into Vietnam but there’s no space for their full page visa. If this happens then you no longer have a valid passport. Also, many countries will insist that you have a passport valid for 6 months at the very least before letting you in. Even if you only intend to stay for a week, they don’t want to risk having your passport expire whilst in their country and then not being able to get back out.
Find a Credit Card with no International Transaction Fees
This is very important if you don’t want to be handing over loads of your hard-earned money to the banks for trivial things such as conversion fees, transaction fees, and withdrawal fees. If you’re away for any great period of time then these fees really add up. Speak to your bank to let them know you're going around the world travelling so that they can advise you about the international usage fees you may be charged. Check out what some credit card providers are offering or look into getting a pre-pay card. I don’t want to advertise any particular provider but I used a Halifax Clarity credit card (UK) and a Caxton FX pre-pay card when I went around the world travelling. The Halifax card had no fees and low interest and I was very happy with it. Make sure you shop around well in advance of your around the world travelling trip as getting the card can take some time.
Travel with at a Least a 65 Litre Rucksack
You don’t want a suitcase when you go around the world travelling, you want a Rucksack / backpack. If travelling around the world for a year then I would recommend getting an 85litre rucksack. For trips of a few weeks I’d say a 65litre bag is adequate. Check out how many compartments it has; ease of access; how easy it is to attach other items to it like water bottles, sleeping bags etc. Check the weight of it too. Some of the bigger bags can actually weigh several kilos when empty. This reduces the available weight which can be a factor when flying (especially on budget airlines where the weight limit is often less than 20kg). Rucksacks are cheaper online. Seek one out in a shop so that you can feel it and try it on for comfort and then order the bag online for a lower price.
Travel with Appropriate Clothing and Footwear
Think about where you intend to go on your around the world travelling trip and consider the climate and the activities you’re going to be doing. If you’re going to be on the beach take some flip flops and a swim suit; if you’re going to be trekking in the mountains take some hiking shoes and some hiking pants (the ones that zip off at the knee are most ideal).
Wherever you go on your travelling around the world trip you’ll likely need a lightweight rain jacket and a micro fleece for the occasional chilly evening or a venture up to higher altitudes where the climate is much cooler. When choosing your clothing try to consider how much room you have in your backpack. Some speciality hiking clothing can be packed very compactly. Likewise, consider buying a travel towel. It’s not as good as a regular towel but it folds up incredibly small.
Keep your bags Secure with a PacSafe
A good lock will come in handy in many situations when travelling around the world. Some of the cheaper hostels and guesthouses may require you to use your own padlock on your door. In some places you may feel safer by adding your padlock to the door. Often times there’ll be lockers available in the hostel but you’ll need to use your own lock. One of the other common uses is for when you need to leave your luggage in a luggage storeroom at a train station or bus station.
When travelling around the world you will often find these facilities useful when you have an evening train or bus but you have to check out of your accommodation in the morning. In some countries and cities these luggage storage facilities will only accept your luggage if it is securely locked. Consider investing in a PacSafe to carry with you when travelling around the world. It’s a very safe way of locking your bag. If travelling by train in India a guard will come round and insist that you lock your bag for your own good. Using a PacSafe is an excellent way of doing this.
Travel With a Guidebook
Without doubt one of the most liberating ways of around the world travelling is to just go with the flow and etch out your own way. It can be so much more rewarding than staying where everyone else stays or eating at a place just because the Lonely Planet says it has great coffee. It can be much nicer to talk to the local people and hear what they have to say and follow their advice, determining your own way around the world. With that said, there are many good reasons to carry a guidebook with you when travelling around the world. It can be a good way of learning about places that you’d previously never heard of but may like to visit. It’s good for maps, local directory information and as a consistent source of information.
Around the World Travelling Poll
Would you like to travel world?
Buy Backpacker Travel Insurance
We would all like to believe that nothing bad will happen to us when we go around the world travelling, and touch wood, nothing will. However, it is pretty much essential in this day and age to get travel insurance cover before you go - especially on a long trip such as when travelling around the world. Petty theft is always going to be a problem and you might just think that anything taken can be replaced: after all what could you have of value in your back pack besides a point and shoot camera and basic cell phone right?
But the main reason for travel insurance is so that you’re covered in case you fall ill. And this could happen to the healthiest person around who never missed a day of school and has 100% attendance certificates from work coming out of his ears. If you get sick whilst in a different country when travelling around the world and you need to be re-patriated the costs can be absolutely staggering. This is why you need travel insurance.
If you're travelling for a long period ie longer than 28 days you will not generally be covered by standard travel insurance policies. You will need to buy a specific Backpacker Travel Insurance policy. Most insurance companies offer these. They cost a little more but there are varying levels of cover. Make sure you get covered for what YOU need.
A Good Laptop with SSD and 8GB RAM
Some people may not agree to this being an essential travel item but this is my list and I think it is. There are many reasons why: it’s a good way of backing up your photos; you can use it to upload your photo’s to Facebook without messing about with a USB stick and sitting in a sweltering internet café using a prehistoric PC that barely functions; using Skype to talk with friends and family; you can write an around the world travel blog or a private journal, you can watch movies and TV shows in those quieter moments where you need you normal comforts.
Many people will use the internet as an important trip planner before leaving but this trip planner that is the internet is always around us, you don't have to leave it at home when you travel. You can still use the internet as a trip planner whilst you travel if you have a tablet and can also download a trip planner application. Free wifi is practically everywhere these days. From a $1 a night bed in a hostel in Siem Reap to a McDonalds restaurant in Santiago to a public bus in Malaysia, wifi is free, fast and plentiful.
I would advise taking a laptop with SSD so that the machine boots up instantly and I would suggest you take one with at least 8GB of RAM. This way you can use photo-editing software to edit all those amazing pictures you'll be taking. I recommend the Sony A6000 camera and Adobe Lightroom editing software.
Get a First-aid Kit and Essential Medicines
Not the most exciting item on the world tour list but just as essential as the rest. Think band aids, painkillers, medical tape, bandages, antiseptic cream etc.. You may never need to use it but it’s reassuring to know that you have it if you need it.
Buy a Good Camera
What kind of camera you take on your world your is entirely up to you. As you’ll no doubt be aware, there’s all types of cameras out there. You may be happy to settle for a modest digital point and shoot camera.
If you’re a bit more into the art of photography and have a little extra money then you may want to go for something a little more on the fancy side. When I look back on my travel photos from several years ago, I'm slightly disappointed that I didn't use a better camera. These days, I take my Sony a6000 camera with me on all my travels. The picture quality is incredible and I use Adobe Lightroom for post-production.
Whether you choose a basic model or something a bit more professional, you simply can’t go travelling around the world without a camera. When I went around the world I took over 4000 photos. I shared them anyone and everyone who wanted to see them and I regularly look at them to remind myself of those adventures. Some of them have even become wall art in the homes of friends and family.
This is a Truly Awesome Camera
So there you have it. Now you know what you need, plan a travel trip around the world, get out there and buy up all these items and off you go! Have yourself the trip of a lifetime and discover amazing places around the world. Bon voyage!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Matt Doran