Sometimes while travelling, the items that you don't 'really' need actually wind up becoming your most treasured and useful possessions. So I put together a list of my top 7 non- essential essentials.
1) A Journal
I am a massive lover of writing and have been keeping journals my entire life (reading back through old ones is always enough to get me cringing. Fifteen year old Saz had a lot of angst in her teenage years). So, for me, having a writing book to document the most exciting time of my life was an essential. Within a year and a half, I had filled 8 travel diaries and dutifully carried them across 9 different countries.
Keeping with the diary theme, most of the fun of journalling is sticking in plane tickets, receipts, postcards and other little scraps of paper that are worthless to anyone but you. I couldn't even go for a generic coffee without having to collect the bill and store it to be later carefully immortalised in my writing book. However, when leaving home, it never occurred to me to pack sellotape or glue and I actually struggled to find some when first arriving into Thailand. So next time, I would make sure to grab some before leaving England.
3) Disposable Camera
I travelled Asia with a standard digital camera, but when I was in New Zealand, I got a disposable camera to use on the side, and I actually loved it! Because you only have 20-30 shots, you have to be super careful about you choose to photograph, so you have to make sure you get it right. I got them developed at the end of the trip, and it was a really nice way to look back at the last few months.
4) Revolut Account
Revolut is an online banking app that I downloaded to my Wallet section of my iPhone so I could use it as Apple Pay. (It doesn’t have to be Revolut, any online banking app will do the same thing).
On my last trip, I lost my purse with all of my debit cards, credit cards and money in within seconds of arriving in South Africa. I actually didn’t realise until the next day, when, trying to be safe and organised, I started looking for my purse so I could store an emergency card at the hostel- so thats pretty ironic. I had to cancel all my physical cards, so the online Revolut account was the only one I could keep open and keep using. It was a real life saver!
5) Portable Charger
Having a good portable charger is so essential! Especially if you are going to a third world country, where there are unlikely to be plugs on transport like trains. In Asia, I was constantly finding myself getting off over night trains with no phone battery and no idea where to head next. Having no clue about how far away I was heading also meant I got over- charged in countless taxis because I couldn’t haggle!
Something that I never really thought about before leaving England was bringing a padlock or something similar to keep my valuables locked up safe. However, a couple of horror stories of people having their passports stolen later, and I was on my way to buy a padlock. This came in super useful when the hostels were really open plan without much security!
7) Eye Mask/ Ear Plugs
These are so essential. I cannot say it enough. So. Essential. I am such a light sleeper and snoring literally goes through me like a drill, I cannot stand it. The best earplugs I found were actually the ones designed for swimming- it's kind of like a gel which you warm up in your hand then mould to the shape of your ear. I found they stayed in so well and usually come with a few pairs in a packet!
Eye masks can also be picked up so cheaply, and are such a necessity for overnight journeys or long plane trips.
Here is an Amazon link for the kind of ear plugs I liked best: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoggs-Silicone-Reusable-Swimming-Watersports/dp/B001C3AJNM?ref_=s9_apbd_orecs_hd_bw_bUqSaV&pf_rd_r=AR58E7BGVEBH9XBN558X&pf_rd_p=f46bc6a2-1208-56d4-8ccb-ba4d11dddde3&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-10&pf_rd_t=BROWSE&pf_rd_i=455793031
Let me know if you can think of any other non- essentials essentials that you discovered for travelling :) Hope this helps when packing for your next trip!