Top 12 Travel Essentials: The Ultimate Travel Packing List

Top 12 Travel Essentials: The Ultimate Travel Packing List

We travel to different places, for different reasons, and in different ways. Everybody has their own travel needs and top tips and tricks. However, there are some travel essentials that are necessary for everyone - no matter their destination or travelling style. 


In this article, we cover the top 12 travel essentials that must make it onto every traveller’s packing list. We skipped the obvious ones such as a phone, charger, or comfortable shoes, and focused on the less obvious items people sometimes forget.


Lucky for you, at Europe Language Jobs, we are seasoned travellers and know just what to pack for a stress-free travel experience!



Top 12 travel essentials


  1. Reusable water bottle
  2. Luggage tags
  3. Travel insurance
  4. Inner pockets
  5. Copies of documents
  6. Cash
  7. Tote bag
  8. Laundry bag
  9. Power bank
  10. Adapter
  11. Local SIM card
  12. Whistle 



  1. Reusable water bottle


Perhaps you wouldn’t consider it the number one necessary travel item, but reusable water bottles really save lives.


For starters, they are eco-friendly. If you care about sustainable travel, a reusable water bottle should become your best friend. 


It should also become one of your must-have travel essentials if you want to save money when travelling. The prices of water bottles at airports and tourist hotspots are one of the biggest frauds in human history.


Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when you travel, so you could save a considerable amount of money by avoiding buying 2 or 3 bottles a day for exorbitant prices. 


Many popular travel destinations provide water fountains, where you can fill up your bottle with cool, fresh water for free. For example, Rome is famous for its water fountains at every corner called nasoni. 


Pro tip: don’t worry about the liquid limits for security checks at the airport. You can find water fountains at most airports and refill your bottle for free after passing all the controls. Look for them near the bathrooms. 


  1. Luggage tags


We didn’t blow your minds here, we know. But from observation, we noticed travel tags are slowly becoming a thing of the past. You don’t see them attached to backpacks and suitcases as often as you used to these days.


That’s a common travel mistake! Luggage tags are one of the top travel essentials.


This is especially true for backpacks and any hands-on luggage you bring with you. Putting your address is perhaps a bit outdated when you can simply include your phone number and email to get in touch in case your luggage gets lost and discuss the return details in person.


Instead, include other important information such as your blood type or allergies. In case of an emergency, when you’re abroad in a country where nobody knows you, this kind of medical information could be crucial for helping you. 


Write down an emergency contact below your own contact details as well. Explain the person’s relationship to you - parent, friend, partner, sibling, roommate. Lastly, state whether they speak English or include any other languages they know, so that the person calling would know how to communicate with them. 


Attach luggage tags with your blood type, allergies, other essential medical information, and emergency contact to every bag you will carry around with you during your travel. Make sure it’s easily accessible and opt for bright colours to make it easy to find if necessary.


Here is an example of what such a luggage tag can look like:



  1. Travel insurance


So many people forget about this must-have travel essential. Others decide it’s simply not worth it.


But you never know what might happen. And travel insurance isn’t really that expensive.


Of course, it depends on the package you choose and the purpose of your trip. But the basic package for leisure travel costs pocket money, compared to the benefits - and the peace of mind - it brings.


We recommend purchasing extra travel insurance for travelling within Europe even if you’re a lucky owner of the EHIC card. It doesn’t cover all medical emergencies and doesn’t include other benefits such as property damage or luggage loss. 


  1. Inner pockets


No matter where and how you travel, you need inner pockets. Be it your coat, your backpack, or a fanny pack - at least one of those must have pockets on the inside that only you will be able to access.


The reasoning behind this travel essential is self-explanatory. Use inner pockets for safekeeping your documents, cash, phone, and any other precious items. 


Pack the least significant objects on the outer layers of your bag and place the important items on the inside. Remember that thieves can use a knife to tear open your backpack, gaining access to the outer layers, so packing from top to bottom isn’t a reliable method, either. 


Your valuables will be a nightmare to retrieve when you need them, but they will also be hard to access by someone who has no business getting their hands on them. 

  1. Copies of documents


We repeat this like a broken record in probably every single travel-related article on our blog. 


Bring originals and copies of all the documents. Your passport, ID, driving license, travel insurance confirmation, EHIC card - everything. 


When leaving your accommodation to sightsee, take only one original you think might be the most useful. The ID is usually enough if you don’t plan to cross any borders. Leave all the other original documents in a safe, discreet place at your accommodation and only bring the copies with you. 


This way, in case you lose your bag or get robbed, you will only lose the copies and one original document instead of all of them. You will be able to go back home without having to go through the frenzy of organising temporary documents to be let on the flight. 


Remember to report a lost or stolen document as soon as possible to prevent identity theft! You should be able to do it via phone or online in most countries.


Pro tip: print your flight tickets, and any other transportation tickets you booked ahead, if possible. You never know when your phone might die or refuse to cooperate, which will get you into trouble if your only confirmation is saved on the device. It happened to me once, and trust me when I say I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. 


  1. Cash


We’re striving towards a cash-free world, but some places are ahead of others in this area. You never know how many shops will accept credit cards in your target destination. Not to mention, you will be left in a pickle if you rely fully on your credit card and it gets lost or stolen. 


Bring part of your travel budget in the form of cash. Do research and exchange it in advance in your home town - the rates at airports and popular tourist destinations are usually much less cost-effective. 


You will be grateful when you come across a cute little stand with homemade things that only accepts cash payments. Besides, paying in cash will also help you avoid steep exchange rate charges your bank might impose on you for using your credit card for paying in different currencies. 


  1. Tote bag


We know what you’re thinking. “How is a tote back one of the top travel essentials?”.


But bear with us. A tote bag can be a real lifesaver when you travel.


First of all, it folds easily and doesn’t take up much space in your luggage. You can bring a whole other bag in your main bag without sacrificing precious packing space. It can also fit in a small backpack you will carry around with you for sightseeing and trips. 


It will come in handy in case you go crazy with souvenir shopping and don’t have anywhere to store your newest acquisitions. You can also use it to go shopping for food if you plan on preparing your own meals while you travel. 


This way, you won’t have to remove everything from your backpack just to go shopping - you will be able to use the extra tote bag. It is also a more eco-friendly option than getting a single-use plastic bag at the shop. 


Pro tip: don’t use a tote bag as your main carry-around bag. Keep your valuables in a sturdy bag with inner pockets, and only use a tote bag as an extra option for carrying new purchases or extra items, eg. a coat. 


  1. Laundry bag


A tote bag and a laundry bag don’t make it to most travel packing lists. But we’re not here to repeat what everyone else is saying. 


At home, you don’t throw your dirty clothes back into your wardrobe. You put them in a hamper.


That’s why when you travel, you shouldn’t place the clothes you’ve already worn back with the clean ones in your suitcase or backpack. A simple tote bag or a reused plastic bag is a simple solution for storing dirty clothes while travelling - yet so many people forget to bring one!


Another perk of remembering to bring a laundry bag for your travels is that if your luggage is subjected to a random security check at the airport on your way back, you won’t have to be worried about dirty clothes spilling all over the place. They will be neatly organised in a designated bag, ready to be thrown straight into the washing machine when you return. 


  1. Power bank


We won’t lose precious word count on reminding you to bring your phone. But there are too many people out there who forget to keep it charged. 


Not every phone can make it through the entire day, even if it has been charging all night. It is especially true if it has to deal with increased activity during travel - maps, camera, and other apps for travellers exhaust the battery really quickly.


You can’t always go back to your accommodation or find a seat next to an outlet to charge your phone halfway through the day. This is why a power bank is one of the top travel essentials. 


Invest in a good power bank. If we compare a dead phone to a broken bone, a cheap power bank is like a band-aid, and a solid one is like a plaster cast. 


  1. Adapter


This is perhaps a smaller issue when it comes to travel within Europe, where sockets in most countries are more-less the same. Denmark and Switzerland are exceptions, but a standard European plug should work in both cases. It changes in the case of the UK, where an adapter is necessary.


And in the rest of the world, travel adapters are one of the must-have travel essentials. Always, always check what kind of sockets to expect in your target destination. 


Another thing you should pay attention to is the standard voltage. Sometimes, the shape of the outlet itself might look like it could work, but the differences in voltage between countries could damage your charger or device.


Get more than one adapter so that you don’t have to fight for it in case you travel with someone, or if you need to charge a couple of devices at the same time. The most efficient adapter is the kind with multiple USB ports. That way, you only need to bring the cables without the space-consuming cubes. 


  1. Local SIM card


“It’s not worth it”. “It’s too much hassle”. “I’m only here for a few days”.


Famous last words.


Anyone who has ever experienced a minor heart attack upon receiving their phone bill after doing some travelling will agree that a local SIM card is an absolute travel essential.


You may think that you won’t be using the Internet a lot, but the truth is, you will need it more than ever in a foreign place. You won’t always be able to access public wifi to check directions on maps, look for recommended eating spots near you, or book tickets online to avoid waiting in long lines. 


At the end of the day, those little searches pile up, generating extra costs. The rates for using data abroad can be exorbitant in some countries and providers. Buying a local SIM card, even if only for a few days, is often the more cost-effective option in the long run. 


You don’t want to be left without access to the Internet, either. Sometimes, data roaming can be tricky and refuse to cooperate at the worst possible time. Not only is it inconvenient, but it is also dangerous to be left offline in a foreign country - especially if you travel solo.


Pro tip: check if your phone supports e-sims. There are multiple e-sim providers, and you can purchase cost-friendly packages tailored for the duration of your stay. An e-sim helps you avoid the costs of buying a physical SIM card, which is usually more expensive than the data package itself. 


  1. Whistle


Last but not least - a whistle is your best friend. Not only when you travel, but in life in general.


Solo travellers might already know this safety travel trick. But even when travelling with company, at least one whistle per group is an absolute travel essential.


It’s all about your safety. The sound produced by a whistle is much louder than any cry even a person with the most powerful voice can manage. 


A whistle is small and easy to carry. Always have it on you, in an easily-accessible spot. In case something bad happens, you should be able to grab it and use it in seconds. 


These are the top travel essentials we never leave the house without. We recommend bringing them for your safety, comfort, and well-being. If you have them with you, you will be able to achieve peace of mind and enjoy your travels to the fullest.


Are there any must-have travel essentials you would add to our ultimate travel packing list? Let us know in the comments!


Feeling inspired? Visit our blog for more career advice! How can you be sure the information we provide is top-notch? We are a group of professionals working with recruiters, career coaches, and HR specialists from all over the world! 

Trust our experience and let us help you find a new job in Europe!

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