The Packing List: Goods
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The tech and the must-not-forgets before you head out for a trip of a lifetime

A POWERBANK (OR TWO)

Your smartphone has got to be the single most important gadget you can take with you on your trip, so it makes a lot of sense that it’s kept powered all the time. While you can ostensibly charge whenever you’re back at your hotel room, throughout the day you’re most likely out and about, and will not have a lot of time to sit down next to an outlet. A high-capacity powerbank (we’re talking 10,000mAh) has enough juice to fully charge your iPhone two to four times over, not to mention giving some of your more demanding gear a few more precious minutes before going off.

Image from Anker

USB POWER STRIP

The good thing about tech today is that most, if not all, of them charge via USB. Save yourself from unnecessary plugs and pack a multi-USB power hub instead. Three or four should do the trick, like the Bestek model photographed above ($23.99, Amazon). If you have a Samsung phone, consider swapping one of the plugs for USB Type C for even speedier charging. (Newer models of the MacBook can also get their juice from this port.)

MICRO FOUR-THIRDS CAMERA

Take a capable DSLR and shrink its size to about three-quarters, and you have a micro four-thirds camera. You get the same fantastic photo- and video-recording capabilities, but in a more travel-friendly, more pocketable format. If I’m being honest, I have not found myself in a situation where I regretted not bringing my DSLR.

Now, you can argue that your phone’s camera is more than enough, and in many ways I agree. However, I’m a big believer in printing my pictures—and if I don’t want soft edges and pixelated landmarks, the image processing capabilities of a dedicated camera beats any iPhone’s.

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

A SOURCE OF MOBILE INTERNET

I don’t have an obsessive need to share everything I experience during my travels, however, there are plenty of other situations when having access to the internet is crucial—and that you can’t stay in your hotel room. (Four of the more common ones: e-tickets [because lord knows I hate having to print things], transit map assistance, VOIP calls, and Uber.)

Whether for you this means renting a pocket WiFi device, buying the local SIM, or simply asking your carrier what their international data plans are, a reliable way to get online is as invaluable as your phone when you’re out and about.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

NOISE-CANCELLING EARBUDS

Expect a good chunk of your travels spent in transit. And where there are other people sharing your vehicle of choice, there’s noise pollution from chatter, the gears turning, people’s footsteps, whatever. Extended moments of peace and quiet will help your body recover from the rigors of travel, even if you haven’t been getting enough sleep. (Speaking of which, if you forget to bring ear plugs, earbuds playing white noise are a godsend in a hostel.)

Photo from Huawei

MULTI-TOOL

Minimize the number of inconvenient circumstances by bringing a multi-tool with you. I have Leatherman’s Style PS ($29.95), which has a plier, a tweezer, a pair of scissors, a screwdriver, a wire stripper, and a carabiner.

Now, it is very important to know whether your multi-tool is check-in only or it can be brought with you to the plane. Anything bladed, like a pocket knife, is prohibited on your carry-on. One exception are scissors, as long as it’s less than four inches. Check out the Transportation Security Administration’s “What Can I Bring?” page for the rest.

I “secure” my check-in bags with twist ties (I don’t have TSA-approved locks). Once I arrive at my hotel or my friend’s place, I’ll go ahead and open my luggage with the multi-tool. Easy.

Photo from Leatherman

A SMALL NOTEBOOK AND PEN

Do not underestimate the utility of having a few sheets of paper to write on. Until you get access to the internet or you had the misfortune of getting pickpocketed, an old-fashioned notebook—with important addresses and phone numbers—will prove useful.

I even go as far as writing down step-by-step transit directions from the airport to my first destination. I only had to use it once, but knowing that I can take myself to a place where I can relax is quite reassuring.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

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