10 Random Things I ALWAYS Travel With

I’m not a very particular packer.  I don’t use packing wedges, I don’t obsess about forgetting things and often I don’t even make lists of what to bring.  However, whether I’m backpacking around Southeast Asia, going away for the weekend or heading out on a road trip, there are a handful of random of things I remember and always travel with.

10 Things I always travel with

Notepad & Pen – As more and more people just ‘do everything’ with their smartphones, I think the basics can get easily ignored.  I always have pen and paper on hand for figuring out itinerary details, making quick notes and sharing information.

Baby Powder – Especially when traveling through hot areas, I keep a small bottle of baby powder to use in my hair (it acts like a dry shampoo soaking up oil between washes) and sprinkle onto my skin to help prevent the constant stickiness that comes with being in humid places.  (In many parts of South East Asia you’ll see little kids specked with white powder to keep them dry and comfortable throughout the day.)

Melatonin – While I don’t take any meds to help me sleep on planes or deal with jet lag, I always have Melatonin (a natural hormone that aids your sleep cycle) supplements on hand.  It doesn’t knock you out, but it does help your body feel sleepier and relaxed so sleep comes more easily.

Book – I carry a book or my Kindle almost all the time, whether I’m just out running errands or actually in the middle of traveling.  You never know when you’re going to get caught waiting and can only scroll through your Instagram feed for so long!

Book Light – Usually I don’t purchase items that are good for only one specific thing, but I’m usually irritated if I’m somewhere with a lot of time and it’s too dark to read.  When sharing accommodation with other people, on overnight buses or long flights where you don’t want to disturb your sleeping neighbor it’s a nice little extra to have.

Camera – Obviously.  I have my little point and shoot everywhere I go.

Sharpie – You’d be surprised how often a permanent marker will come in handy.

Swiss Army Knife – Good to have in case, you know, you need to cut something…or whatever.  (But mainly for a bottle opener and corkscrew!)

Chapstick – I go crazy without it.

Tiger Balm – I had heard of Tiger Balm before, but now consider it a staple after being in South East Asia for so long.  Said to relieve everything from muscle aches to vertigo, Tiger Balm is a miracle herbal blend great for slathering on mosquito bites.  The strong menthol scent is useful in reducing nausea or simply helping you clear your head after a long day of travel (or being stuck in suffocating Bangkok traffic).

What do you always take with you when you travel?

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29 Comments

  • Posted July 16, 2013
    by This battered suitcase

    Great list! I always travel with Tiger Balm, too, as well as a camera, a book, and a journal. I travel with a chain and a lock, too, and (don’t judge) some crazy make-up, like bindis and glitter. you never know when you’ll want to get all dressed up! -Brenna

    • Posted July 16, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      Thanks – kind of funny and, of course, not a complete list, but I really do ALWAYS have these things on me wherever I go. I love that bindis and glitter are part of your must-haves ;) I normally have stickers or small colored pencils in my bags for kids. I always seem to attract them…

  • Posted July 16, 2013
    by Adam Pervez

    If you can believe it, I never used Tiger Balm in Southeast asia. Looks like i missed out!

    • Posted July 17, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I actually use it more for when I get dizzy from tuk tuk/motorbike exhaust than for bites, but definitely always have some one me!

  • Posted July 16, 2013
    by Angela

    Tiger balm and chapstick. Always. I don’t leave my hotel room without them.

  • Posted July 17, 2013
    by Naomi

    Melatonin?! That’s such a good idea…way better than getting sketch sleeping pills from some Khao San pharmacy for us SE Asia travellers ;)

    • Posted July 17, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I don’t even like taking the Melatonin too much, but it’s nice to have something on hand when you’re all mixed up from moving around

  • Posted July 17, 2013
    by Jeanette

    Good post. I never travel without melatonin or a sharpie either!

    • Posted July 18, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I have a mini sharpie that you can attach to a key ring (or my Swiss army knife).

  • Posted July 17, 2013
    by Jodi

    I take a bottle of oil of oregano where ever I go. It’s a wonderful “cure all” I’ve also got a hippy dippy stretchy clothes line that I love as it hangs up pretty much anywhere and you don’t need clothes pins.

    • Posted July 18, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I didn’t know about oregano oil..looking it up now. I like the stretch clotheslines too!

  • Posted July 18, 2013
    by Parker

    This is a list of 11 things.

    • Posted July 20, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I like how that was the first comment you’ve ever posted…thanks ;)

  • Posted July 19, 2013
    by Heather

    In addition to the usual items, I always travel with a pair of earplugs and packets of Woolite for emergency washes. both have come in handy on innumerable occasions!

    • Posted July 20, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      I always forget earplugs for some reason…

  • Posted July 21, 2013
    by Mike Mentz

    As long as I’ve got my guitar and phone to take pics and record my musical musings, I’m good to go :)

    • Posted July 23, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      Does it ever become a hassle to haul the guitar around?

  • Posted July 22, 2013
    by Kristin Addis

    I am obsessed with Tiger balm. It cures all!

    • Posted July 23, 2013
      by Alana Morgan

      Wherever I am, the smell will always transport me back to Southeast Asia :)

  • Posted July 22, 2013
    by Ash Clark

    Looks like I need to jump on this tiger balm bandwagon!

  • Posted July 23, 2013
    by OCDemon

    I found out a while back that Trader joe’s sells peppermint-flavored melatonin. So they literally sell a candy-flavored sleeping pill. It’s hard to stop at just one.

  • Posted August 22, 2013
    by Erica

    underwear and a passport.
    oh and Aveda’s blue oil. It sounds like it’s really similar to tiger balm. :)

  • Posted October 19, 2014
    by Franca

    I do carry an head light too that I’ve used to read in the dark (especially in hostels and trains), but if there is one thing I cannot leave behind is my spork, such a genius invention :)

  • Posted October 19, 2014
    by Adrian of Adrian's Travel Tales

    I was introduced to the many uses of Tiger Balm in Asia after living in Cambodia and teaching English there. When one of the kids was feeling unwell, Tiger Balm was the answer for EVERYTHING. Stomachache, head ache, sun burn, mosquito bites, EVERYTHING. :D I always take a scarf with me when I travel. I use it for sun block, temple coverings, something to sit on, bandage up my arm when I decide to practically dislocate it,…. everything! :D

    • Posted October 20, 2014
      by Alana Morgan

      I really don’t know what I would do without either of these two items!

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