If your bags are packed but you've left these things out, then you're not done packing!

Recently, I went on a 22-day journey through Colombia, and it wasn't long before I realized what I had forgotten. Unfortunately, some items aren't so easy to find once you're far away from home. Maybe you're going on a cruise and you've got some excursions lined up, or maybe you're hostel-hopping as you backpack from country to country. Regardless of how you plan to travel, you still have the opportunity to easily locate these must-have items while you can! 

 

5. Microfiber Travel Towel - Surely, it's crossed your mind that you'll need a towel, but you aren't willing to sacrifice valuable space in your luggage for one. You can always find a towel, you say to yourself. Next thing you know, you're awkwardly borrowing someone else's or drying yourself off with a t-shirt. Not all places provide you with towels. These things are a god-send. Incredibly compact and ultra-portable, this invention is designed to save you space and dry faster than your hair. I was extremely envious of the smarter girl who let me borrow hers, and decided I would no longer travel without one. 

 

4. Anti-biotics + Motion Sickness Medication - Let me start off by saying, I'm not someone who advocates taking pills for anything. I always search for the natural alternative when it comes to medicine. That being said, when you're running to the toilette 15 times in a day or you're ready to lock yourself in the bathroom because of your bus, boat, or taxi ride, you'll thank the gods for the relief offered by western medicine. Luckily, you can usually find these medications in other countries without a prescription if you learn how to ask for it. But if you get to the point where you're asking for it, you'll wish you already had it. 

An added warning to those who consider themselves "immune" to Montezuma's Revenge or Motion Sickness: you aren't. I've seen the biggest, baddest, and bravest of them all heaving over boat rails, clutching their bellies, and locking themselves in their bedrooms all day. You may not go down first, and it may be less likely that you do, but no one is immune. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

 

3. GoPro - I actually had the wherewithal to seek out and purchase one of these before my trip, and it was one of the best pre-meditated travel decisions I made. The GoPro's wide-angle lens makes every picture look epic, and also gives you the option for high-quality video, time-lapses and the ability to control it with your smartphone wirelessly. I was able to upload pictures to Facebook and Instagram immediately, and everyone I met who didn't have one, decided they wanted one after they witnessed how portable and easy to use it was.

Optional add-ons: They also offer an abundance of gadgets to make the GoPro more versatile depending on how you plan to use it. Notable devices include the underwater mount, the head/helmet mount, and the "selfie-stick." Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead with a selfie-stick, but you'd be surprised how many people shamelessly break these out in public. 

 

2. Day Pack - If you don't want to end up carrying 100 things in your pocket, or be forced to lug your over-sized backpack around, do yourself a favor and invest in a "Day Pack." Once you post up and find a place to safely leave your luggage behind, you'll want to meander through town effortlessly while still having the ability to stow away your essentials and eventual purchases.  

 

1. Ear Plugs + Sleep Mask - I listed these as the #1 Travel Essential for a reason! There will be countless times on your journey where you'll either be thankful that you packed these, or be cursing that you didn't. There were at least a half-dozen scenarios during my recent trip where I wished I had had the foresight to pack these.

Maybe you could have gotten some sleep on that long flight if you had only considered there might be a screaming newborn in the seat behind you. Maybe it's 3:30 in the morning and your party-going hostel mates come busting in the room, laughing about their night and flipping on the light-switch to search for who knows what. Or maybe it's 8:30 in the morning, the explorers have risen, the light comes pouring in, and you were that guy up at 3:30. The amount of fun you have on your trip is often proportional to the amount of rest you can manage to get. 

 

These 5 items will be coming with me on all future trips! What are some of the essentials you can't travel without?