Trip Planning 101: Ten Items I Never Wander Without

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Trip Planning 101: Ten Items I Never Wander Without


Whenever I travel, I always makes lists of items to pack and cross things off as I’m packing my suitcase so that I don’t forget anything. Being a planner, I also usually pack a week before departure. My husband is the exact opposite. He packs the night before or the morning of our trip (I’m convinced this is partially to drive me nuts) and frequently forgets important items like a phone charger or underwear. This can be especially problematic when we’re not traveling near any major cities. Gas stations normally have phone chargers but not underwear. Whether you’re a planner or a last-minute packer, I thought it might be helpful to tell you the top 10 items that I never travel without that are less obvious than underwear (but just as essential).

1. Downloaded offline Google maps: When creating our trip itineraries, I always makes a list of the things I want to do or see and then plug them into Google maps so that I can create routes that make sense, minimizing travel time and maximizing time for exploration. We normally explore remote areas such as national parks and from experience know that cell service is normally not available. To avoid getting lost without the luxury of our GPS, I download the “Save For Offline” Google Maps ahead of time so that we still have access to destination directions should we lose cell network.

Trip Planning 101: Ten Items I Never Wander Without

2. Laptop: I try not to work when on vacation but when you’re self-employed, working while on the road is sometimes unavoidable. I bring my laptop just in case I need to take care of some work while traveling but more significantly, to back up our photos. I recall a time when we were zip-lining in the San Juan Islands, Washington and my MIL accidentally dropped our camera. Luckily enough, I had backed up the photos that we had taken on the trip the previous night and was grateful that we didn’t lose anything except the camera, which is replaceable. These days, I make sure to back up our photos each night just in case something happens to our camera.

3. Insurance: It feels necessary to list insurance after I talk about losing a camera. Travel insurance can cover you for a variety of reasons such as health, damaged, lost or stolen equipment/valuables (cameras, luggage, your purse/wallet), and cancellations. There are a variety of options out there and some may not apply to your type of trip. Travel insurance is something that I could write an entire blog post on and may in the future. Spend some time researching your options and purchase the types that make sense for you. As most of our mothers have told us: better to be safe than sorry!

4. Credit Card: Seems obvious, right? How else would you make purchases while traveling without a credit card? While I never travel without one for the typical reasons (such as purchasing goods and services, renting cars, staying in hotels) I also bring a credit card for less obvious reasons. I use a card that rewards my spending with travel points. If you know that you are going to spend money, you might as well maximize the return on your investment. There are many rewards cards out there for different hotels, airlines, etc., so do your research and choose one that makes sense for you and how you spend most of your dollars. Also, a quick reminder to alert your card company when you’ll be traveling so that they don’t put a hold on your card for security reasons. When travelling in a foreign country, you can get the best exchange rate when using your credit card. It’s also more secure to travel with a credit card versus a lot of cash in case of theft. You can cancel a card and avoid charges that aren’t yours and get a replacement card but you can’t replace stolen cash.

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5. Cash: As I prefer credit cards versus cash for all of the reasons I listed above, there are circumstances where credit cards are not accepted. Toll road fees are a situation where credit cards aren’t always accepted and there is no nearby ATM to rescue you. There are also small businesses that don’t want to pay the 3% fee associated with credit card transactions and do not accept credit cards. Sometimes your credit card company may disable your card for safety reasons and you may not know that until your card is declined. It’s nice to have cash on hand in this circumstance because it may take a while to get your card re-activated. Cash also comes in handy for tips.

6. Pillow: This is a personal requirement and I realize most of you are probably thinking you would never give up that much valuable real estate in your luggage. I hear you, but I have some hardware in my neck that requires me to travel with my pillow. Without it, I risk waking up with debilitating neck pain that could ruin all planned excursions.

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7. Rain coat/poncho: Unless you’re visiting San Diego where it’s sunny and 75 degrees pretty much every day, you will probably run into some inclement weather. I like to be prepared so I always travel with a light rain jacket and I always keep it in my backpack so that’s it’s available on a trail when we’re hiking. Most rain jackets don’t take up much valuable space in your luggage but you can always opt for a plastic poncho that come in tiny boxes.

8. Blister tape: I always pack my most comfortable shoes but occasionally get a blister. Blisters can derail your plans so in the practice of always being prepared, I bring blister tape so that I can keep exploring.

9. Journal: A journal helps me not only record some memorable moments from my trip, but it also reminds me to slow down, appreciate and relish in the moment.

10. An open mind: Traveling usually results in unexpected events or circumstances. If you don’t take your itinerary or yourself too seriously, these moments can be some of your best memories.

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What items do you always travel with?


Images by Personal Branding Maven  Elise Kutt  at  Mod Bettie Portraits

Images by Personal Branding Maven Elise Kutt at Mod Bettie Portraits

My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I am a certified yoga instructor with a passion for yoga, travel, and connecting with others.

I believe in trying everything once. My values lie in collecting memories over things. Though we desire adventure and authentic experiences, naturally our fear holds us back.

My ambition is to inspire and encourage you to unmask your fears and jump into the unknown.

Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Trip Planning Wizard