Travel Essentials: Things To Bring When Traveling

I have been traveling for quite some time now (though this travel blog is relatively new). Through the years of visiting from one place to another, I have proven this one thing to be true: Your vacation can be ruined by that little something “essential” that you forget to bring with you.

When I had my Cebu-Bohol vacation and forgot to bring my camera charger, which I just noticed when my battery had almost drained already, it essentially pulled my vacation spirits down. To cut the story short, I ended up missing to take photos of breathtaking attractions; I was not able to capture ‘precious’ moments. Stupid I was, indeed. But, yeah, I’ve learned my lesson.

So, in this post, I am sharing some travel essentials that might prove useful (too) for your next getaway.


Backpack for Traveler
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“Good” is a relative word, you may say. So what do  I mean when I say to use a good travel bag? Basically, I am referring to bags, specifically backpacks, that are really designed for travel (not the kind of bag you use as if you are just attending a business conference somewhere).

In the early days of my travel, I did not mind so much about having to use a good travel bag. The types of bag I had then were those conventional bags used daily (yes, as if I was just going to school in an ordinary day). Eventually, however, I found using them quite a hassle for a number of reasons: (1) They gave me a hard time putting stuff in my desired arrangement since there were not enough sections available; (2) Securing my belongings was a pain in the ass; and (3) They usually made my shoulder sore since ordinary bags were not designed to optimize your body for weight support.

So, not too long since then, when I was able to borrow a good travel backpack from a friend during my Bangkok travel, I realized that I should invest in a good travel bag. And I did. The rest of my travels that followed were never the same again in terms of level of comfort.

Getting a good travel bag does not need to be expensive; there are quite a number of brands out there that are good and reasonably priced (and I won’t recommend any particular name). But here are some tips:

  • Find a bag that is really designed for travel, specifically a backpack for outdoor
  • Choose one that has a good number of sections; compartmentalization of belongings is quite useful in travel
  • Not to small to be able to put all of your things in, but not too big to take a toll in your back (just pick one that can carry about 20% of your body weight – 25% at most)


Travel Camera
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Of course, you would not want to miss capturing those precious moments of your travel. After all, that is one of the main reasons why you travel. You want to collect good memories and the most ideal way to have such memories frozen in time for later recollection is through the use of camera.

If your next travel is action-packed, then bringing an action cam is ideal as you can use it anywhere – up in the air, over the bridge, under the sea… you name it! Otherwise, using conventional cameras – DSLR, point-and-shoot, mirror-less, etc. – should suffice such need.


Smartphone - essential for travel
Photo credit: Nicholas Wang

There are a number of compelling reasons to bring your smartphone with you during travel. Aside from having the most viable way to easily connect or communicate with others, a smartphone (e.g. iPhone, Android) is also useful when it comes to driving direction, GPS, among other information that can be provided to you through various travel apps.

Smartphones can also provide an avenue for easy sharing of your vacation ‘moments’ in almost real-time – through social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram), email, and other cloud platforms. They provide the easiest way to snap a photo when taking your DSLR camera out is not ideal for a particular situation.


Travel Outdoor Shoes
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They say 70% of travel is spent outdoor. And I have proven that to be true (at least in my own experience).

If you are backpacking and your itinerary requires you a lot of walk, then a good outdoor shoes is a must-have item. This does not only avoid your feet from getting sore but, believe it or not, you from being irritable, which can ruin your day. This is quite important most especially if you are traveling with friends or in a group.

Irritation can cost your travel. Yes, I have experienced it myself in one of my trips when one of my buddies was so irritable as if she was having her period. When she said, “Roy, layo pa? Nagasakit na akong tiil bah!” (Roy, is it still far from here? You know, my feet is getting sore!) Looking at her massaging her foot, I knew the reason why right then  – she did not use a good outdoor shoes.


Flip-flops for travel
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Just like a good outdoor shoes, flip-flops are proven useful when traveling (when the use of shoes is not ideal). Try to walk on a kilometer-long shore with your shoes and you will find your self pretty exhausted after. However, the same does not happen when you use a flip-flop.

When I travel, I always bring flip-flops with me. There are just some areas and occasion when the use of them is more ideal than shoes – be it going just a few distance away out of my hotel or even just inside my room.


Proof of Identity for travel
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Whether you are traveling local or abroad, it is quite important that you bring with you some proof of identity. This is not just useful when doing some processing that requires personal identification, but very important as well for security reason. Proof of identity is even more useful when you are traveling abroad, wherein you can be a subject for a random inspection by authority.

When I travel, I always bring with me at least two identification cards – one is government issued, the other one is from the company where I am privately employed. When I travel out of the country, apart from government issued IDs and other pertinent documents, I make sure that I have my company ID as it is useful particularly when going through the immigration.


First Aid Kit for Travel
Image source: Wikimedia commons

It’s pretty annoying when the pill you need, even if it is cheap, is not available at your vacation destination. Indeed, a first aid kit is another must-bring item in your travel. There is no reason why you can’t; it just takes up a little space inside your bag. Believe my word on it. You will appreciate it particularly when you are in a situation that requires you to take some medicine – a headache can strike anytime most especially when you are in a new environment, right? Your day should not be ruined by some pain that should be manageable by taking some pain reliever.

So, what should be inside your first aid kit? The very basics should be there – pain reliever. In my travel, I usually bring with me some paracetamol tablets, anti-diarrhea capsules, some capsules for my sinusitis, and pain reliever ointment.

Remember, it pays to be ready at all time.


Expense Tracker and Travel Journal
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I know a lot of travelers do not consider this as a necessity. Not anymore, most especially with the advent of user-friendly expense tracker apps. However, I still find using a traditional expense tracker effective. A small pad or notebook where you can jot down all of your expenses in a day can give you a clear picture of how much you have already spent. It will guide you in doing some adjustments accordingly. In other words, it’s an effective way to control the stream of your travel money out of your pocket.

The pad you bring for expense tracking can also double as your travel journal. It is where you can list the things in your travel that you consider worth-noting – be it a name of specific attraction or a particular local cuisine that you really liked and tasted for the first time.


Dry bag -travel essential

Some might not see the value of dry bag until some of their items get wet from an outdoor adventure. Truly, a dry bag is a must-bring item in travel most especially if your itinerary includes mostly outdoor activities – going to beach, inland adventure, etc. With dry bag, you can bring your valuables (phone, camera, money, among others) with you every time you go out for an adventure without having to worry about getting wet.


Here at meant to go, we advocate light packing. And we understand the fact that travelers have needs that are unique to them. So, if you think that some of the items above are not needed or impractical for your travel, feel free to cross them out of your checklist.

Have a great time in your next adventure, guys! 😀


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