You know I love to travel. I've traveled all over the world and while each trip has unique needs, there are some things that I won't travel without. You might think I'm talking about my favorite toothpaste or tiny bottles of hair care, but these things are far more important and useful.
It feels pretty painful to drop $500+ on a great set of sturdy suitcases. For frequent travelers, good luggage will save you money, and maybe even a big headache in the long run. When your bag doesn't get shredded in luggage conveyor belts at the airport, you'll thank me later. A good set of luggage should have wheels that won't bust when you roll over a bump, hard sides, and if you prefer, a lock too. You can pick something with a fun pattern if you'd like, but the size and structure of the bag is more important than one that looks cute or trendy. There are plenty of cute-looking luggage sets that are just plain garbage.
Many travel insurance policies cover trip interruption or reimburse you for your investment if you need to cancel your trip. Additionally, some will cover theft and damage to your belongings while you are on a trip. Choose your policy wisely and make sure it covers where you are going. Some policies will even cover catastrophic medical emergencies that require transport while others won't cover anything if you're overseas. If you have a major emergency in a foreign country, it's best to have the contact information for the U.S. Department of State on hand in addition to a good policy so they can help if needed.
A health crisis can happen anywhere. Anything from catching a yucky case of strep throat to breaking a bone while ziplining in St. Kitts can impact your trip tremendously. Most health insurance policies have rules for in-network and out-of-network care and chances are, if you're traveling, you are going to be out-of-network.
While a decent travel insurance policy might help a little, a better option is to look for a fixed indemnity plan. It shields you from expensive out-of-network rates by setting a fixed amount they cover for certain types of doctor visits. So, whether the doctor is in or out of the network, the insurance plan will pay the exact same fixed rate.
I know a lot of places are cashless. But even with today's modern technology, you may encounter situations where cash is still king. In a pinch, having cash on you can help you cover costs of goods and services when cards won't work. Carry cash on you and hide it in a few different spots. Nothing screams tourists like a fanny pack filled with cash. Don't flash it around. Remember to also bring your cards and to inform your card companies that you will be traveling so they don't shut off your card.
Whether you are staying in the USA or going abroad, it helps to make copies of important documents. Keep a copy of your Passport, Driver's License, and insurance information in a safe place. It's important to put it somewhere different than the originals. Also, keep emergency contact information and a couple of photos of yourself on hand. These backup copies can be a lifesaver if the originals get lost or stolen to verify your identity and citizenship.
Portable Water Bottles/Water Purification
You never know when you'll be in a situation when the water in a place can go bad. They make water bottles with internal filters, tabs for purification, and more to ensure you always have safe water to drink. Even something as simple as a sewer line break or a water main break can make water in a location at least temporarily undrinkable. In this case, water bottles fly off the shelves and you might be thirstier than you'd prefer. It's important to carry the right things with you so that you can purify drinking water in any emergency.
Two Phone Chargers
Your packing list probably already has one on it. The truth is, these little wires can be a bit temperamental and no one wants to pay premium prices to replace them if they break. Buy an extra just to keep as a backup. Airports and gift shops charge premium prices for these little wires and your battery might die before you can get a new one delivered to an Amazon locker nearby.