Pack That: The Packing Must-Haves

Welcome to our Pack That series on WalkAbout365! We love traveling, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to bring on your adventures. Matt and I have made many a packing blunder during our trips, but we’ve also found some packing gold mines! Whether you’re going camping, to the beach, or into the jungle – let us help you get everything you need to PACK THAT!

Packing can be a stressor for a lot of travelers, especially those who may be traveling for the first time. What should I bring? How much stuff is too much? Do I need to buy new items just for this one trip? While that may differ from person to person, we’ve found that there are a couple items that we use on every trip. So whether it’s your first trip or your hundredth, make sure you have these packing essentials in your suitcase!

  • Walking Shoes
  • Portable Battery
  • Cellphone Case
  • Day Pack
  • Water Bottle
  • Universal Adaptor
  • Sarong
  • Rain Gear
  • First Aid Kit
  • Padlock

Good walking shoes: Whether your are exploring a city or hiking in the mountains, you need a comfortable, sturdy pair of walking shoes. Make comfort a priority with memory foam or gel insoles, and soft fabric lining to avoid rubbing. Look for neutral tons that will match every outfit and find a shoe with functionality that can be worn in various settings (city, forest, beach, etc.) And if you plan to pack your shoes inside your suitcase or backpack, grab a shoe bag to keep the grim off your clothes.

I like my Sketchers Go Walk boat shoes and Matt prefers his all black Nike sneakers.

Portable Battery: You’re in a this beautiful city, taking photos, finding the best eats on TripAdvisor, navigating the cute cobblestone streets with Google Maps…and then your phone dies! Avoid this catastrophe by always packing a portable battery. They range in size and charge capacity, so you can find the one that fits your needs.

I use my Anker compact portable battery that fits nicely in a small purse, while Matt likes the Ekrist power bank with 2 USB connectors to charge multiple devices at once!

Cellphone Case: When you’re cellphone becomes your camera, computer, and phone on your trip, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected. A solid cellphone case will protect one of your most valuable packing items, and might even add to its numerous uses! Find one with rubber bumpers on the front and sides, scratch protection on the screen, and for ultra protection, look for enclosed cases that are waterproof.

I fell in love with my Lifeproof FRē phone case that survived waterslides and rocky hillsides. Matt likes his Otterbox Communter series case for its strength without the bulk.

Day Pack: Wherever you head out to explore, don’t forget a day pack! A small bag is nice to have with you when you have stuff to bring, but don’t want to bring the whole suitcase. Something easily packable, with compartments for all your items, and waterproof are great qualities to have in your day pack.

We love the day packs on our Osprey Farpoint backpacks and packable Quecha bags from Decathlon. But the Venture Pal and 4Monster daypacks look pretty slick too!

Water Bottle: Stay hydrated, bring along a reusable water bottle! But, let’s be honest, you can use them for more than just water. Look for an insulated bottle that’s good for both hot and cold beverages, durable and that has a clip/hoop to connect to your backpack.

I used a metal Bobble for our major trip, and Matt likes his Under Armour flip lid bottle thats perfect for traveling and working out.

Universal Adaptor: Plugs around the world are different, but don’t buy 5 separate plugs. A universal adapter allows you to use your USA products in over 100 countries around the world! You can find ones now with USB plugs that allow for 5 devices to charge at once!

We’ve just bought random brands from the travel section of Walmart, but check out this Unidapt for a great example!

Sarong: If you read our gear reviews, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of my sarong. For ladies, it’s an absolute MUST but they’re handy for guys too! Towel, blanket, cover up for the beach and churches, pillow, picnic blanket, sun cover – the possibilities are endless!

There’s a ton of great options, like this cute options from Back from Bali.

Rain Gear: A little drizzle isn’t a bit deal, but being soaked on vacay isn’t the best look unless you’re at the beach. Proper rain gear will come in clutch when there’s unexpected weather. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s compact, easily packable and of course, waterproof!

Matt likes his packable raincoat from Columbia and I have one from North Face, but I always have my trusty emergency rain poncho that fits slim and cozy in my day pack!

First Aid Kit: No one wants to get hurt or sick while traveling, but sometimes it happens. Upset stomach, headache, hiking blisters, or a rash from unfamiliar towels. That’s why it’s always a good idea to bring a First Aid kit, full of medicines you trust and products you might need in a pinch. The last thing you want to be doing is feeling sick and trying to read medicine labels in Thai…you definitely won’t regret bringing it!

I used this base First Aid kit, and then added to make it fit our needs!

Padlock: Unless you plan on taking all your luggage with you, a lock can come in handy. Use on your suitcase, backpack, hostel locker, or even your tent to keep unwanted visitors from getting your stuff. Find one that is TSA approved for airplanes, a flexible cable and one that has a number lock so you aren’t carrying around small keys.

Check out these locks from Master Lock, and for larger equipment, try the Lewis & Clark padlock.

Still looking for advice? Go to our Travel Gear section where we review products we’ve ACTUALLY used on our adventures.

Happy Packing!

Matthew & Stephanie

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