Quick Guide: Travel Essentials

When travelling, everyone has their own list of things they find essential to take along. Whether travelling by car, bus, aeroplane or train, make your journey as comfortable as possible by remembering your travel essentials.

I may not be a seasoned traveller, but I have had extensive travelling experience nonetheless. I have vacationed all over South Africa and its neighbouring countries throughout my life, and I’ve been fortunate enough to spread my wings and travel overseas three times. I would love to share my basic travel essentials and must-haves with you.

A bottle of water

It is important to drink as much water as possible during your journey. Our bodies tend to lose a lot of water when travelling. For example, on a 10-hour flight, men can lose around two litres of water and women around 1,6 litres.

Moreover, drinking enough water has many benefits. It helps you stay awake (which helps if you’re driving), it prevents annoying headaches, it keeps your skin hydrated, and it helps you to stay full (so that you can avoid snacking on too much junk food).


Even if you have your card with you, it’s always safer to have cash on you too. There can be many unforeseen expenses for which you can’t pay using your card. For instance, you might find a great souvenir at a stall on your trip, or you could come across a toll gate you didn’t know about beforehand.

Hand sanitizer

Hand Washing, using sanitizing gel

I always have a small bottle of waterless hand sanitizer in my handbag. This can be a lifesaver when you want to wash your hands before eating or after picking up something you dropped on the (dirty) floor – public trains can be quite unhygienic, especially in South Africa.

Additionally, keeping wet wipes in your handbag is also a good idea. It could be especially useful if you tend to worry about germs in places like public restrooms or hotel rooms.

A pen

When you are at home or in the office you never think twice about a pen, because there’s always one available. That’s probably not the case when you’re travelling, however. So take along a pen or two on your travels, as I do, if only for filling out forms like your customs and arrival forms. Plus, you can doodle or fill out crossword or Sudoku puzzles you find in magazines or newspapers.

A good book

I am a big reader, so I usually take a good book along wherever I travel. Reading helps to pass the time; it immerses you in an exciting new world. It also improves your language use and general knowledge.

Currently, I’m reading The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. So this will be the book I’m taking along on my next road trip!

If you’re not into reading books, however, pack your favourite magazine to help you pass the time.

Universal adapter plug

This is only relevant if you travel outside national borders, though. Save yourself the annoyance of not being able to charge your cell phone or using your blowdryer by investing in a reliable all-in-one universal travel adapter. And remember to take it along on your next international trip.

I hope that by sharing this, you all learned some useful tips or tricks. But most important of all, remember that wherever you are going, there will most likely be someone who can help or a shop you can buy something from. So when you are stressed because you forgot to pack something, don’t panic. Everything will be fine.

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