As you can probably tell, this week has a bit of a travel theme. On Monday I’ll be headed on a school trip to Israel for 2 weeks, followed by a week long visit to France to visit family. Now, I’m going to tell you about the 5 things you absolutely must have when in a foreign country. Let me know if I’m missing something, I only have 2 more days to stuff everything I own into one bag under 50 pounds!
1. A long skirt and a cardigan. Churches and religious sites throughout Europe (especially France and Italy) and The Middle East often require women to have their knees and shoulders covered to enter. However, I usually trek around during the day in shorts and a tank top. Keeping these items in my day pack allows me to throw them on when necessary, and remove them when I’m in metropolitan areas. Bonus: fancy restaurants and hotel dining rooms are always cold, good thing you brought a cardigan.
2. A set of sturdy adapter plugs. Many countries each use a different type of voltage, and in most places in Europe they’re on direct current. (Us Americans are on alternating current.) So don’t plug your curling iron directly into the wall socket or you’ll short a circuit and cause a black out throughout the entire hostel. (I may or may not know this fact from experience. Shhhhhh!) TJ Maxx, Steinmart, or Marshalls, especially, has stuff like this really cheap.
3. Photo copies of your passport, itinerary, ticket receipts, maps, and other important documents. Losing your passport is not something you want to have happen. But, in a worst case scenario, you’ll be glad you put a copy in your carry on, your checked bag, and gave a copy to your travel buddy to hang on to. Make your way to the nearest relevant embassy and they’ll help you out as best they can. (Thankfully I would like to say I’ve never personally experienced this scenario. But I do always travel with copies.)
4. A travel diary and a pen. You’ll definitely want to remember that amazing coffee shop with the best iced coffee, or patisserie with delicious macarons. You’ll also want to remember the metro shortcut a passerby told you about, and that one day when your favorite museum is free. These are all instances when having a travel diary comes in handy. Make sure to write down where you went, when, the people you met, where you ate, shops and other nearby points of interest, special purchases, and where you stayed. You’ll love looking back on this in the future, and it’ll probably even help you out on trips to come! Bonus tip: Some have special folders and pockets inside for storing tickets, receipts, and other memories :)
5. A hat. Depending on when and where you’re traveling, you have some options here. If you’re going on an outdoorsy adventure, or backpacking (like me) you need something of the baseball variety. Not terribly fashionable, I know, but practical. The sun is intense, protect yourself! If you’re going on more of a tropical vacation, or something that includes a beach, I would go with something straw- floppy or fedora, take your pick. If it’s winter, your options are essentially trapper hat or knit skull cap. Am I missing anything? I don’t think so.
Bonus items: camera (duh), sunscreen (double duh), extra plastic baggies and ziploc bags (so your toiletries don’t explode and in case you have anything that won’t dry), and travel sized bottles for your personal care products.
What else do you always forget when traveling? What are your essentials when abroad? I can’t believe I’m taking off so soon!