Guest Post by Ann Tolman
I felt like Switzerland trying to maintain the peace as I uncomfortably settled back into my seat, sandwiched between my mom and sister. The minutes seemed to drag by at a snail-like pace and there was nothing I could do to make the time go by faster.
My sister kept tugging at my jacket to get my attention and overdramatically rolled her eyes every time I looked in her direction. My mom, on the other hand, had her head turned, facing the window and refused to make eye contact. The look on her face was a warning that she was about to implode from the anxiety she was trying so hard to suppress.
As the plane FINALLY landed, I was ready to jump right out of my seat and book it to the exit. Unfortunately, I had to endure a few more minutes of brutal torture as my mom confronted my sister about her missing passport that somehow got lost on the six-hour plane ride from Reynivak to Newark. My mom had repeatedly warned her about bringing such a small purse that she couldn’t even zip up with all the things she shoved inside.
This particular story inspired me to create a list of international travel essentials that you should never leave your house without. Hopefully, this list will help you avoid awkward family melodrama like I had to encounter on what was supposed to be a drama-free girls trip getaway.
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When you’re in a foreign country, chances are your phone battery isn’t going to last long. With half the population vying for Instagram popularity, and the other half wanting to document every single aspect of their trip to show Grandma back home, your phone doesn’t stand a chance lasting a full day.
Portable phone charger to the rescue! Throw it in your bag and you’re set for a full day of aimlessly roaming around the beautiful city without the fear of missing out on the perfect photo op or getting stranded because you can’t access your GPS.
Every country in Europe has a different type of outlet (confusing much?). Luckily for you, Amazon can quickly save the day with the push of a button. They offer every type of outlet adapter possible so there is no need to panic.
If you do happen to forget one, they sell them at most convenience stores in most major cities no matter where you go.
Backpack or Purse
Make sure it’s large enough to zip up once you’ve packed it full of all your day trip necessities. You don’t want to be like my sister, crawling around a dirty airplane floor frantically searching for your lost passport minutes before the plane is about to move gates to board the next flight.
There is no need to go out and purchase new gear if you have something at home that will work.
If you want to buy a new backpack, here are our most recommended travel backpacks.
It’s important to have a place specifically designated for your passport—easy access is key when you need to show it at the airport or a country’s border.
Bring along a wallet that fits your passport, cards, cash, and ID all in one centralized location so you can easily access all the information that you need.
Chances are, you’ll be on the go most days of your trip. Be sure to prepare by bringing along a pair of comfortable walking shoes or cross-trainers that will keep you feeling happy while you’re on the move all day. I love Adidas for this.
If you absolutely have to bring along your favorite pair of heels for a photo op or special event, you can always throw them in your purse or backpack to change into later or purchase a pair of insoles to help make them more comfortable.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Traveling to a foreign country can bring up so many unknowns, especially when it comes to food. You may not know what options are available until you arrive. I always bring along some of my favorite snacks including nuts, beef jerky, dried mango or applesauce packets.
If there is ever a time I’m not able to sit down for a meal for a few hours or can’t find anything that I like, I have back up. Avoid getting hangry!
Bring Along In-flight Entertainment
Lucky for you, in today’s world, your options are nearly limitless. Download your favorite playlists, podcasts, TV shows or movies to your mobile device, making it simple to stay entertained on your long flight.
You may also consider bringing along a physical book or your Amazon Kindle to read if you prefer. If you plan ahead, the plane ride can be a memorable part of your vacation, too!
I have heartfelt empathy for screaming babies and toddlers on an airplane. You can’t exactly avoid this, however, so don’t make the mistake of forgetting earplugs.
It makes it so much easier to be compassionate when you don’t have to maintain composure for 4+ hours when you have a child sitting right behind you, screaming from the time the plane takes off until the time it lands.
Don’t Forget The Earphones!
If you bring along in-flight entertainment, you’ll need some headphones to go along with! If you want to use the TV screens on the plane, you’ll need corded headphones.
If you have your own device, cordless headphones are much more convenient and will help you avoid getting caught or tangled up as you try to make your way to the bathroom. As for me, I love going wireless with my wireless earbuds!
Easy Access To Your Toiletries
Traveling for a long length of time can leave you in serious need of a self-hygiene check. Being able to freshen up mid-flight or once you’ve landed will help leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for wherever your day takes you.
I always like to brush my teeth and wash my face once we’ve arrived at our destination’s airport—especially when we’ve flown all night. Both leave me feeling fresh and ready for what the day has in store.
I know you’re dying to know what happened with my sister. I’m pleased to announce that my mother did not implode and she even found my sister’s passport wedged underneath my seat.
I’m just glad our trip was saved. My sister no longer brings along purses that are too small and uses a passport wallet so she can keep all her important documents in one location. #hallelujah
Wherever your travels may take you, I hope this list of International Travel Essentials will help you to better prepare for your international travels. Have a fantastic trip!
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