The bare basics which make up part of one’s essential travel kit are perhaps common knowledge and they can perhaps be put down to accounting for common sense as well, but in the heat of all the excitement that comes with packing for your trip, some of the most important of these essentials can be very easily overlooked. So if you’re going to make sure to pack the full complement of travel kit essentials, make a check-list which includes the items below.

A black pen

Make that two black pens, because I personally know how one always, but always either gets lost or it gets broken, or in fact it just mysteriously goes on holiday as well and stops working. You’ll simply need this to fill out legal travel documents such as customs landing sheets or entry cards and it helps to have your own pen handy. The importance of the inclusion of a black pen in your travel kit transcends the pen itself, because it often associates its existence with any admin which is required to be completed as part of the trip.

For instance, you’ll remember to print out a copy of your passport and perhaps of your ID and credit card details, on the backsides of which documents you would write down some important details such as recreating directions, backing up important numbers, etc. Things like writing down the international number for your bank as well as your travel insurance company are associated with the mere inclusion of a black pen!

Your smartphone, charger and accessories

If I haven’t published the post I wrote about pondering how people travelled pre-World Wide Web then it’ll come in due time, otherwise this extends to smartphones now. Fortunately you probably won’t forget what is effectively somewhat of a universal extension of our bodies these days, but your smartphone is only as good as the battery life it has.

You can’t take photos, navigate, confirm details of the organisational part of your trip, etc, with a dead phone, so be sure to remember to pack in the charger and all the requisite accessories, such as an international adapter. It’ll be unfortunate to find out that your phone is not unlocked once you reach your destination and attempt to have a local SIM card activated.

Power banks

Power banks are perhaps just mentioned separately from the other accessories because of how important it is to emphasise the battery life associated with your devices, perhaps not just your smartphone. These days pretty much everyone travels with a laptop as well, so in addition to that as somewhat of an emergency backup power source, you’d best pack in some power banks.

You do not want to run out of charge due to something like an unforeseen delay…

Weather-appropriate clothing

It gets cold up in the sky and you perhaps don’t want to have to rely on the cabin crew to provide you with a blanket on request, something which they’ll likely do either way, but it’s just better to practice self-reliance. Pack in a sweater or hoodie or tracksuits for men as part of your hand luggage, perhaps with some sweatpants and a pair of socks.

Otherwise weather-appropriate clothing and other gear should definitely make up part of the essential travel kit.

Two bank cards & currency

It’s always good to segment the money you have access to when travelling, because the worst could very well happen at any time. Two bank cards from two different institutions are recommended, to be kept separately in case you lose your wallet, get robbed or anything unfortunate like that. A third segmentation is essential as well, which of course is some hard currency.

I personally like to load money onto a pre-paid debit card which is connected to a virtual bank account in addition to using the bank card linked to my primary bank account.

Personal essentials

Having to buy what are essentially some personal travel essentials can get annoying, because they’re notoriously expensive at holiday destinations. If your nails grow as fast as mine for instance, remember to include a nail clipper in your toiletry bag.

Pack enough underwear as well, with some thermal variations if you’re heading to a cold destination and just remember the little things which make personal grooming the second-nature activity it is when you’re in your most comfortable space, your home.