10 Things a Traveler Should Never Forget to Pack

Our European adventure is well under way and we are having a fabulous time! Check back in tomorrow for a recap post on our time in London.

Now on how I prepped for a European adventure!

As I packed for our Europe trip, I spent lots of time reviewing our packing list in my head, and making sure we didn’t miss anything. The Hubby and I love to travel, but we have not really traveled as much as we want to.

I look at vacationing and traveling in two separate ways. Vacationing is when you are going somewhere for a relaxing get away or to visit friends and family. These trips normally involve more down time, and bonding with others.  Traveling to me is about exploring. Visiting new cities/countries and exploring all that it has to offer. Traveling involves trying new foods, seeing new sights, learning about new cultures and experiencing something new.  Traveling to me is much more exhausting than vacationing. Traveling is all about being on the go and taking it all in.

 First Aid Kit

I don’t know how many times I have had a blister from wearing those new shoes {you know the ones I am talking about} I bought to wear on my trip.  Packing a small first aid kit can come in handy with anything from blisters from walking more than normal, treating an unexpected sunburn with aloe, covering a scrap from falling {up} stairs at a castle (never happened to this girl before ;)), or curing a headache after a loooong night out (also never happened to this girl traveling ;)) . Traveling is normally a lot more adventurous than our daily lives, so a first aid kit is normally over looked as a need, but for traveling it is a need.


Reusable Water Bottle

Have you ever paid $3.50 or $4.00 for a bottle of water in an airport? I have, and really hope I never have to do that again. Airports have water fountain located next to almost every bathroom.  Pack an empty reusable water bottle in your carry on, and once through security fill it up. You will stay hydrated while waiting to board your plane, as well as on a dry plane. Also, it saves you from having to keep your tray table down the whole flight to keep the water glass the flight attendant gave you.  Hydrating while traveling is also super critical to staying healthy and keeping from getting sick on planes.

Hand Sanitizer/ Hand Wipes

I have a germaphobe husband who has to wash his hands after touching anything. While traveling I always have both hand wipes and hand sanitizer packed in my bag. When you are visiting high tourist locations, everyone is touching everything. It is great to get up there, touch and experience too, but when it is over, it is nice to clean your hands.



This is my favorite thing to pack!  For the longest time I always went for the junk food. After several trips of coming home with uneaten cookies, and candy, I have changed it up some. Not only will snacks save you during a long flight with bad plane food or no food, it will help when you are traveling on buses and trains during your travels. I have found the best things to pack are; beef jerky– the hubby devours this stuff, nuts– always a great source of protein and filling, granola/energy bars– great for days you are out exploring and walking/hiking for hours, and a trail mix- just because it is delicious. {can you tell where I shop?}


Something to Read

Long stays in airports or long plane rides, one can’t always sleep.  I love to load up my kindle app with books I can flip between. I always pack a hard copy of a book too for when I don’t want to drain the battery on my electrics. One thing I do always buy in an airport before take off, or if I can get one for free from the flight attendant, is the news paper (normally the Financial Times or something local) or the economist magazine.  When I am traveling, I always have a need to be more globally aware. Also, when traveling I feel like I have more down time while in transit to do something I always want to do, but never find the time to do. An airplane where I am disconnected from the world, ie social media, makes the best place to read.


How you are going to power your kindle, camera, smart phone or any other electronic sometimes is the last thing you think about when packing. If you are traveling internationally, you want to make sure you have the right plug for the country you will be visiting. Even if the wall plug looks like it can fit your blow dryers plug in, does not mean is should be plugged in there. Believe me, been there, done that.


Camera or Smart Phone

This one is obvious, but needed. Make sure you are keeping track of memories on your trip.  We all love to take pictures, but most of us forget to take pictures with ourselves in the picture. I will admit, I am terrible at this, but working on it. You all know what I am talking about. You flash your photos to grandma, and she asks, “did you really go on that trip, I don’t see you in any photos.”  Don’t let your photos be something just anyone could take, make sure you are getting in on the action!

Extra Tote Bag

We all love to bring back mementos from our travel, but have you ever tried to zip your suit case on the way home?  Sitting on a suitcase to get it zipped with your new treasures inside is not ideal.  When we are traveling and I know were plan to bring home gifts and souvenirs, I always pack an empty tote bag in our suit case.  A tote bag that doesn’t take up too much room works perfectly to place all your newly acquired trinkets and by carrying them on, you know they will be handled with care.  We also did this when we travel to see family on the holidays. Works perfect for cross country trips! 



This one might seem a bit obvious, but it is something you need to pay attention to when traveling.  Passports in the USA in the last few years have been quicker to get, but do take some paper work, photos, wait time and money to apply.  You also have to pay attention to name changes and expiration dates.  You should always have a passport valid for 6 months post your travel dates, just in case.  Many countries require Visas, but then others do not.  And some offer visas with a one time entry into the country and other offer multi-entry and/or multi-year options.  Then there are countries that you would think you need one for, and don’t.  It is always good to do your homework, so you aren’t caught at the immigration counter in a country that you don’t speak the native language, being refused entry.

Small notebook & Paper

I just read a buzzfeed article about a list of things flight attendants wish you stopped asking, and on the list was “asking for a pen for immigration/customs documents”.  I laughed when I read that because I have been that person more than once in the past.  Packing a pen seems like a small thing, but can come in handy.  If you have a paper and pen with you, writing down directions/addresses in the native language you received from the desk at your hotel to give to a taxi driver, play games like tick-tack-toe or hang man while on a plane, or even getting the email address of a fellow traveler, becomes so much easier.  The age of mobile phones makes some of this reasoning obsolete, but  depending on the area you are traveling, you might not carry your phone at all.  Go back to the tried and true, pen and paper. You will thank yourself later.


Do you have anything you would add to this list? Or do you agree with things on this list? 



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About Rachel

Country girl turned urbanite. Finding ways to mess up my kitchen, keep my country roots and explore all that city living offers!

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