At the end of May I had the privilege of being a first-time visitor in Scandinavia, going on an 11-day mission trip to Denmark and Sweden. Researcher that I am, I spent the preceding months researching every travel website and Pinterest tip on long-haul flights, language navigation, and living out of a suitcase. Meaning to take only a carry-on (this Ebags model that I have named The TARDIS) and small backpack (a well-worn Baggalinni), I was pretty concerned about taking only necessities. Here are the top 3 things I was glad to have brought:
- Good walking shoes that didn’t look like walking shoes. These Keen shoes were a lifesaver. I wore them half the time in Denmark and exclusively in Sweden, doing everything from biking city streets to climbing around a rocky island. They held up like a dream, and you’d never have guessed that I hadn’t had time to break them in before the trip. Bonus: I didn’t stick out so much as a tourist with these as I did with my hiking shoes.
- A pocket-sized notebook. Blank when I started and half-full when I came home, my notebook held flight info, short lists of common words and phrases in the languages we’d be encountering, daily commentary, and scattered notes on just about everything else. It was a quick-reference in airports that also kept my passport and boarding passes handy. A small pocket in the back held everything from metro passes to business cards and receipts.
- A feel-like-a-human-again kit. My first long-haul flight left me feeling slightly less than awesome, but I had already prepared by packing a non-liquid toiletry kit in my backpack and keeping an extra t-shirt in a front pocket of my carry-on. The kit included things like ear plugs and an eye mask for the long flight, and deodorant, hairbrush, toothbrush, and facial cloths to use between flights. Yes, it took up some space in my personal bag, but it was very much worth it. Once we got to our destination city I added all my liquid toiletries and it became an all-in-one kit.
Since these are universal items, I’ll definitely be packing them on all future adventures. What are your top 3 travel necessities?