Travelling is an amazing chance to learn about the world, have once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and, more than anything, have a great time. But it’s not just about the fun. New science papers suggest that getting away – and it doesn’t even matter where you’re going – is an essential habit of effective thinking, encouraging improvements to open-mindedness and creativity. But before you can reap the rewards and enjoy yourself, you’ve got to pack. To help, we’ve picked five essential items that’ll support you throughout your journey.

5 things not to forget before your trip round the world 

Copies of your important documents

Of course, you’ve got to remember to take your passport, and other important documents – such as travel insurance, visa details and accommodation bookings. People used to make photocopies of these documents. But if you’ve lost the original, it’s likely you’ve also lost the copy. So it’s better to use modern technology and scan them to save the PDFs in the cloud. That way, you can access them whenever – and wherever – you need to.

A smartphone

Seeing people glued to their phones while next to some of the world’s most amazing sights can be frustrating. But used properly, your smartphone can be the greatest tool you’ll use travelling. As the Secret Traveller points out, “it’s your torch. It’s your map. It’s your guidebook. It’s your camera. It’s your iPod. It’s your access to reviews and travel tips. It’s your connection to family and friends.” As a bonus tip, they suggest getting yourself a portable charger so you’ll always be able to use your phone in an emergency – or just to capture a great shot.

According to Eagle Creek, other key technology items include:

  • iPad or e-reader and charger
  • Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you’re sensitive to sound)
  • Camera and/or a video camera, memory card, and charger
  • Electrical converters and adapters


5 things not to forget before your trip round the world 

You won’t be able to take that many shoes with you – but few are more useful than flip-flops. You can wear them for almost every casual occasion. Whether it’s in the shared hostel showers, down at the beach, or to walk into the local town, you’ll be grateful you took them with you on numerous occasions. In fact, you’ll probably get through a few pairs. Luckily, you can pick them up for relatively little in most places around the world.


When you’re travelling, you’ll be on planes and staying in hostels regularly. They’re noisy places. If you want to be able to rest and get some shut eye, we recommend taking earplugs to block out excess noise.

A lock

If you want to have a carefree trip, you need to be prepared for the worst – including petty theft. The number one way to deter casual theft is to buy a backpack that locks. As The Dummy’s Guide to Packing a Theft-Proof Backpack says, this advice may sound obvious, but many travellers neglect even this most basic level of security and put their belongings at risk.

Have you been travelling? Share your experiences and packing advice with us.

5 things not to forget before your trip round the world