Planning a trip? Don’t leave home without these!

You’re on a deserted island and can only bring three things with you, what three things magically show up on the island with you? Okay, even as a former Girl Scout who lived by the motto “always be prepared”, even I wouldn’t expect to be well equipped for this scenario. However, when I was contacted to guest blog by RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car rental service that skips the car rental company fees so you can use that money towards doing something you really want while traveling (like riding elephants in Thailand or tasting wine while strolling through the vineyards of Tuscany), asking me what my travel essentials were, I thought that was a much more realistic list to come up with. In addition to car rental services, RelayRides also makes travel easy by providing an airport rental service at several different airports across the country.

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Whether it’s packing up for a quick weekend trip to meet up with Luke, a week getaway with my mom and sister for our annual girl’s road trip, or preparing to live out a of a backpack for a few months while traveling across the world, I’ve come up with a list of the necessities to get me out of even the stickiest of situations and help my travels be as smooth as possible. You can’t prepare for everything, where would be in the fun in that after all? But these little go to’s have helped me survive some long, bumpy bus rides through undeveloped countries and assisted in passing away time while waiting during extensive airport layovers.

imageiPad mini with detachable keyboard – As an avid writer, it’s crucial for me to have an accessible device to post my blogs and record my journeys. Laptops can be heavy and bulky which is why I love traveling with my mini iPad while the detachable keypad makes it more convenient to type up a quick update in no time. (Guacamole and juice not included)

Journal – In addition to my blog, I keep a personal travel journal to jot down specifics about places I go, people I meet, cultural experiences, as well as the personal growth and development. I highly recommend any traveler to keep one as you’ll be thankful later and it only takes a few minutes at the end of each day, during a coffee break, or a layover at the airport to write up a few notes about what made each day so memorable.

Newton running shoes – I’ll turn the car around for these! I’m a believer in the idea that a morning run in a new area before the rest of the city is awake and tourists are out in full force is the best way to explore and get familiar with a foreign place.

Resistance band – You already know this about me if you read my blog regularly, but I’m a bit of a fitness enthusiast, to put it gently. I can go a day or two without some sort of activity like yoga, running, or lifting weights. But after a few days of traveling and sampling different culture’s fine cuisine, it’s natural to feel a bit crummy and weighed down without some form of exercise. Resistance bands are light and easy to travel with and make for an easy and quick workout literally anywhere you are. Just don’t be surprised if you get a few strange looks from the locals when you’re living in a village in the middle of the mountains of Indonesia.

Klean Kanteen – Flying and all the walking you do while traveling can easily leave you dehydrated. In addition to being hyped about hydration, I’m also a “reduce, reuse, recycle” advocate and despise plastic water bottles. Besides, why waste money on constantly buying water bottles when you could save some dough for your traveling endeavors?


Podcasts – Reading an engaging book or updating your journal can be a great way to pass travel time or unwind at the end of a busy day of sightseeing. But if you don’t have access to light or are on a bumpy and windy road (like the 762 turns I had going to Pai, Thailand), podcasts are perfect for zoning out and speeding along the travel time until your next exciting destination.

Wet wipes – Southeast Asia may be known for their breathtaking views, mouth-watering cuisine, and endearing culture, but they are definitely not known for the cleanliness when it comes to toilets. Wet wipes are essential as you never know if a squat toilet will have tp or if you will even come across a squat toilet when nature calls. Wet wipes also double as hand sanitizer without taking up space in your quart size liquids bag.  (This was the nicest squat toilet I came across, though it was all downhill after this one!)

Scarf – One of the best investments during my trip to Ubud a couple of months back was a funky scarf. At the time I thought of it as a bit of a “splurge” or treat to myself not realizing that I would soon become detachable from it as a great scarf is not only a fab accessory, but also doubles as a blanket on chilly buses/trains/planes and protects your mouth from dust and pollution when riding in the back of a tuk tuk down a dirt road.

First it’s a Vogue worthy accessory!

Now it’s saving me from the freezing train!

Snacks – I go from happy go lucky to hangry faster than the speed of light if I don’t carry some sort of snack on me while I am traveling around. With all the sightseeing and walking around, you can lose track of the last time you ate and you never know where the next place will be that you can get something to eat (that won’t cost you a fortune if you’re in a touristy area). My go to is peanut butter to slather on a piece of bread or crackers and bringing trail mix in my purse since these have good fats and protein to give you energy and hold you over until dinner time.


Reminders of home – This one is a sentimental thing but it keeps me from getting too homesick during those moments where you wish you had someone from home there with you. Lost in a city where you don’t speak the language, spending the evening worshiping the porcelain gods after eating something you very well knew should not have been placed in your mouth to begin with, or that moment when you just can’t stand to take one more selfie! I’ll pack a simple letter, picture, or my personal go to which is a mini stuffed golden retriever to remind me of my Sunni back home as well as my family.


Photo taking device – Carrying around my massive Nikon takes up space so when I travel, my iPhone does the trick and I always make sure it’s fully charged so I can take pictures of beautiful sceneries and memories such as these. Just don’t let it take away from actually being in the moment. Pictures don’t do justice in most circumstances where as you’re better off letting your memory capture your surroundings instead.

cameraMost importantly, the best thing I bring with me can’t be packed at all. A positive, adventurous attitude and desire to embrace everything that comes my way during my traveling endeavors. This enables me to make the most of each experience, meet fascinating and beautiful people, and remember to slow down and enjoy each moment because you never know if you’ll ever get the opportunity to be where you are at that moment again.

What will make you turn the car around if you don’t remember to pack it when you travel?