Traveling is one of my favourite hobbies and over the years, I have acquired knowledge that I wish I had from the start. That’s why I want to share my top 5 travel essentials in hopes that it will help you have a more rewarding travel experience! No, this isn’t a list about underwear or sunscreen – these are some helpful essentials that you may have struggled without. Let me know what you think and feel free to suggest some of your own to aid fellow travelers!
1. Offline Map: Here WeGo App
I want to start my top 5 travel essentials list with an app. The Here app, recently renamed Here WeGo, was a lifesaver when I went on a road trip around Southern Europe. We were starting in Italy and going through Switzerland, Germany, and Slovenia. While we were on the road, our data died. Thankfully, I had downloaded the offline maps of the countries we were going through and as a result, we made it to all our destinations in one piece.
This app has been my favourite over others for many reasons. This includes the fact that it shows you the speed limit of the road you’re driving on and will even alert you of speed changes! It allows you to save locations beforehand, which has been very handy in planning my itinerary since I can see which destinations are close to each other.
If not traveling and just in the city, it’s still a good alternative to Google Maps because you can save data (yay!) and it offers functions like telling you the closest car-sharing locations or hailing you a taxi (in certain areas). For bikers, it can tell you the elevation of your trip so you can map out your route accordingly.
2. Brita Filter Water Bottle
The Brita Water Filter Bottles are reusable water bottles with a filter in the straw. As a result, no matter where you get your water, it filters out the chlorine and certain particulates. Staying hydrated is important when traveling and this water bottle is handy since you can refill it from any* tap. I have been especially thankful for it when going through airports as you are not allowed to bring water. Instead of buying a bottle of water each time I boarded a plane, I simply brought the empty bottle through security and refilled it at a tap.
The bottle comes in two variations – the soft sided bottle ($10.99) and the hard sided bottle ($17.97). Each filter lasts for about 4 months (though it says 2 on the packaging now). While both seemed decent, I opted for the hard one since I lose things a lot (there’s a lid for the soft one) and the replacement filter of the hard one seemed to be a little more inexpensive.
*I may have done this throughout Europe (ie. bathroom sinks – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?) though this is not recommended for everyone. I was definitely more at ease drinking tap water knowing that it was being filtered.
3. Slim Fanny Pack
Fanny packs may sound like a very uncool accessory, but if no one can see it, is it still a fashion don’t? I found this one to be a traveling game changer. Marketed actually as a running belt (yay for multi-function!), this fanny pack is made from neoprene. It’s extremely lightweight and stretches to the size of what you’re holding. As a result, it fits flat and seamlessly under your clothing, ensuring pick pockets never even notice it. I used it for my extra money that I didn’t want to leave at hostels and invaluable documents like my passport.
4. International Adapter
This travel essential is often forgotten. There is nothing worse than arriving at a new destination just to find out that you can’t charge your camera or phone. Even worse, you have to make a choice between what to charge! That’s why you need an international adapter that can charge more than one device. International adapters with multiple USB ports are a must! I have found three good ones listed in ascending price: cheap but lengthy wait, good value, and best reviews.
5. Herschel Backpack
Ending off the list of travel essentials is the Herschel Little America backpack. This bag has been my travel companion for many trips and I highly recommend it for for short week(end/long) trips, especially if you want to limit yourself to a carry on. This backpack fits perfectly under an airplane seat saving you the hassle of reaching up to the overhead compartments or even paying for the overhead bins in the future.
Though it can fit in smaller spaces, it is also incredibly spacious. It never ceases to surprise me at how much I can stuff in it. Each bag has a fabric lining and comes with a padded compartment for your laptop. The interior and exterior fabric is highly durable as it is of good quality. Though it can’t be submerged in water, it has survived many rain storms.
Mine has been with me through thick and thin over the last 2 years. I have ran through many airports with it on my back – the ventilated air mesh back padding and shoulder straps have never let me down. Though my chambray and corduroy is no longer available, this 19.5” x 11.25” x 7” backpack comes in a number of styles and starts at $109.99 CAD. Get it now on the Herschel website for free shipping and a free pouch!
Stone & Fern is a travel and lifestyle blog started by friends who have a passion for exploring cities, capturing moments, and trying new food.