When I traveled internationally for the first time to study abroad, I spent hours researching what I needed to bring. Unfortunately, the following items showed up on few of the lists I found online though I found them completely essential. I spent way too much time worrying about which clothing items to bring and how many but missed many of the most practical items. Pack these six items for stress-free travel.
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- International travel power adapter
Frying your electronics just isn’t worth the risk, especially if you need to bring an expensive item like a laptop. Splurge on this just once and it will serve you well in every country you visit for years. I have the Bestek model pictured here and I will say it makes a light whirring noise when it’s in use. I personally don’t mind—in fact, it creates some nice white noise in shared hostel dorm rooms.
- SIM card tool
You don’t need one until you really need one. After having to ask around at all the shops in the Dublin airport for a paperclip (and then struggling to get that to work either, probably damaging my phone in the process), I vowed to never leave home without one again. Sometimes, they come with your phone. You can also buy them for a dollar at most.
Pro tip: tape the tool to the inside of your phone case or passport so you don’t lose that tiny little piece of metal!
- Buff headband
These headbands are great because you can wear them at least 8 different ways and they come in tons of colors so they will really help you stretch your travel wardrobe. I use mine as a headband most of the time, but it also makes for an awesome sleep mask or face cover during chilly airplane rides.
- Phone wallet
I picked one of these up as a freebie once and never looked back. Your ID, credit cards, hotel key card, and a little cash can all fit in. Be extra careful to protect your phone if you use this method, though, because you could risk losing both at once.
If you’re planning to stay in hostels, you’ll kick yourself if you forget a padlock and have to buy one. If you’re hosteling with a partner, having either a combination padlock or a padlock with two keys can be helpful so you can share a locker and each have access.
- Kindle Paperwhite
I used to bring books, but they were taking up way too much space in my bag. One time, I had so many books that I got stopped in security because of a really “dense area” in my backpack. My Kindle is smaller than a paperback novel and the battery of the Paperwhite can an entire two-week vacation. Downloading books from your local library’s digital collection will quickly make the Kindle worth its upfront cost. Bonus: Read books set in the area you’re traveling in to really further your knowledge and experience.