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Items you should not forget to pack

Travelling, whether it is camping, renting a cottage or staying in a hotel takes you out of your comfort zone. This is a good thing, but sometimes you realise that you should have packed something that might just make life that little bit easier. Aside from the standard item like chargers, power banks, and toiletries, here are some of the more out-there items that you should remember to pack for any trip.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is without question a necessity, regardless of your travel plans. You never know when something might happen that needs to be treated immediately like a blister, headache, allergy or stomach trouble. Besides packing your usual medication, remember to pack the other essentials as well as the last thing you want to do is have to run to a pharmacy for something.

Travel mug and cutlery

An insulated travel cup is useful and compact and instead of buying takeaway cups, use your travel mug. Not enough time to complete breakfast coffee? Put it in your travel mug and go. Pack a knife, fork, and spoon. It’s useful if you don’t want room service or would rather buy bulk yoghurt at the store. Take it with you during the day instead of plastic disposable cutlery.

A water bottle

Carrying a water bottle has become a requirement, especially travelling and when exploring around the hot climate of South Africa.

Bottle opener

Bringing a bottle opener will be useful if you’re having a drink in your accommodation or going on a picnic. You could also bring a multi tool with scissors that include a bottle opener.

Sponge/cleaning cloth or disposable wipes

A hot shower and washing off the day’s grime are the best after a hard day of travel. Unfortunately, this luxury isn’t always possible while travelling. A face cloth or disposable wipes are ideal replacements. Its tiny pack size saves space and weight.

Rechargeable battery pack

Most people travel with phones, tablets, cameras, laptops, etc. that need charging at night. Not many places have multiple power outlets, making charging multiple items difficult. The worst thing is seeing the dreaded ‘low battery’ message before your day is over after a long travel day or a hectic day of sightseeing! Using your phone as a camera and using GPS might drain your battery quickly. Put this pocket-sized charger in your luggage for days you need a boost to get home.

A Neck Pillow

A neck pillow is one of the top backpacking travel essentials, no matter how you choose to travel. A good neck pillow makes plane and bus travel much more comfortable and can double as a head pillow when you have to spend a long layover in the airport.

Bedside bag

A drawstring bag that opens out is great for nightstand items. Here you keep your watch, glasses, medicine, charger, and other items you may not want to leave out all day yet need. If you place all your belongings in the bag, you won’t forget anything when you check out and you won’t have to dig through your suitcase.

Plastic container with lid

This has multiple purposes and is especially useful if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation and you want to save money on food by taking a packed lunch along for the day. Leftover food can also be placed in the container.

Zip-seal bags

Transparent extra-large zip-seal bags make lightweight packing cubes and are easy to find. The little ones are fantastic for jewellery. Put plastic liquid bottles in bigger zip-seal bags. Sandwich-sized ones are ideal for snacks and sandwiches.

Small, foldable cooler bag

This is brilliant if you want to take your food and drinks along for the day or for anything you need to keep cool. If you don’t need it during the day, it’s a great place to store small items that you don’t want floating around in your suitcase.


Next time you order takeaway, save the salt sachets for your travel kit. Suitable for any accommodation picnic, they add flavour to food and take up little space. Salt is another first-aid kit essential. Use diluted salt in lukewarm water to gargle for sore throats, rinse for gum inflammation, or disinfect cuts and scrapes. Cheap, space-saving, non-toxic.

A coat hanger

There might not be enough hangers, or you don’t want to hang something in the closet in case you forget to pack it when you leave. You could hang something in the bathroom while you shower or bathe to get rid of wrinkles. They are very useful and don’t take up much room.

A Travel Wallet

Your passports, birth certificates, insurance forms, and other critical documents fit well in this wallet. Also add a pen for customs forms and a few dollars in any currency so you always have money in airports.


Travel-friendly rubber or plastic flip-flops may be found at most supermarkets. Wear them in the shower and hotel room to avoid athlete’s foot and dirt. If you’re staying in a communal bathroom or near a pool, sauna or hot tub, flip-flops are essential.


Many little flashlights can be clipped to keys or bags. Bring it on the plane to discover anything in the dark without turning on the overhead light. It also helps you discover stuff in your suitcase or beneath the bed, especially in hotel rooms. Use a torch instead of your phone to save battery life.

Hand-washing laundry power

Instead of carrying filthy socks and undergarments, wash them in the sink. A fast spot clean after messing up or getting dirt on garments is also handy. Pack it in a zip-seal container to avoid washing powder on your luggage.

Strong clear packing tape

Opening a pack of candy or crisps but not finishing it? Tape it shut.

Glasses broken? Fix them with tape until you see an optician.

Seal shampoo and shower wash bottles. Wrap the bottle neck and lid with tape.

If a modest hotel light annoys you, paste a scrap of paper over it.

Bag handle loose? Fix it with tape until you can fix it correctly.

Stick it from the inside until you can stitch your hem if you don’t have time.


Don’t leave home without packing everything on your list, but remember those little items that will make life easier on any trip. Keep these all on hand and most of all…. remember to enjoy your vacation!

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