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- After college graduation, I took a month-long trip around the world with my friends.
- I packed everything in a relatively small backpacking pack, so I had to be pretty calculated with my packing list. Ultimately, I learned what products were really essentials and what were unnecessary extras.
- These are the eight essentials I brought with me on my trip, which I couldn’t imagine traveling without now.
After graduating college, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be overcome with a range of emotions. As one chapter ends you may feel nostalgic, anxious, excited, or a mix of all these emotions as you anticipate what’s to come. You may have your next moves set in stone before you even get your diploma or you may be just trying to get a sense of what’s next for you.
Flush with a range of post-grad emotions, I put my energy into a different pursuit, backpacking from Israel to Southeast Asia with my friends. We made our way to four countries over the course of a month, packing mostly in large backpacking packs, staying in hostels, Airbnbs, and planning much of our itinerary on the fly. In the end, everything went smoothly. Of course there were bumps along the road, but the excitement of traveling helps to minimize the impact of those obstacles.
I spent a lot of time packing, knowing that I’d be far from home for a month. While I packed pretty light, there were still some things I probably could have lived without, but there were also a host of products I couldn’t imagine having gone without.
Whether they made traveling easier, comfier, more efficient, or just helped ease my mind — these are the eight essentials I took on my post-grad trip around the world, and will bring with me for the next big trip I take, too.
Activated charcoal capsules
Immersing myself in the local cuisines was one of my favorite parts of my travels. Trying stinky durian in Thailand, freshly-fried falafel in Tel Aviv, and steaming bowls of Pho in Hanoi were just some of the highlights. Don’t hesitate when it comes to trying the local delicacies, just be prepared. As a traveler — especially in places where climate and sanitary practices are different than in your home country — you’re more prone to getting sick from contaminated food or water.
Activated charcoal works like a filter, absorbing toxins so those contaminants don’t get absorbed into your body instead. I always kept a bottle of this in my backpack for moments when my stomach felt a little iffy. You can take it three to four hours before or after your meals. While it won’t totally cure any serious stomach issues, it really did lessen the effects of a sour stomach for me so I could focus on enjoying my travels.
At home or abroad, germs are everywhere. But, when you’re frequently taking and touching things on planes, trains, and local forms of public transportation, you’ll want to have some hand sanitizer nearby.
When you’re out and about adventuring all day, you can also expect to use a lot of public restrooms. And bathrooms around the world don’t always have the same comforts you may be accustomed to at home. Coming across sink-less or soap-less bathroom situations won’t be so bad when you have a supply of hand sanitizer to rely on. These ones are perfect for travel because the jelly wrap can be looped around your backpack for easy access.
If you’re traveling for a prolonged amount of time, your suitcase (or backpack) is more than just a place to hold your things; it’s pretty much your life condensed into a reasonable-enough-to-carry size. Make the most of what space you do have, and bring some routine to an otherwise unpredictable time with packing cubes. I brought these with me specifically because they’re waterproof and expandable. You don’t have to worry about any toiletry spills or leaks ruining your clothes, and you can seriously maximize your space with the expandable zipper.
Packing cubes also make finding all of your belongings much easier. I always knew where I could find my shirts, shorts, socks, etc., because I packed my cubes accordingly. If you’re frequently traveling to new destinations, having this organizational system will make your life a lot easier. Instead of wasting time shuffling through your bag to get dressed when you touch down in a new city, just quickly go into your packing cubes, get what you need, and you’re all set to explore an exciting new spot.
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