By Natalie Bahadur
Who doesn’t love to travel? Whether you’re taking a low-key family vacation or an action packed excursion to someplace exotic, travel is the fuel that motivates many people to pack up their bags and get the heck out of Dodge. And if you’re an adrenaline-junkie, who seeks out adventure travel in exotic destinations, then the thrill can be even more acute.
But before you get caught up in a whirlwind of excitement about the excellent outdoor adventure that awaits you, take some time to prepare carefully for your trip. John DiScala is a professional traveler and founder/editor-in-chief of johnnyjet.com — one of the most comprehensive travel resources online ““ so we checked in with him and one of his contributing writers Carly Blatt, to find out what travel essentials you mustn’t leave home without, before embarking on your next adventure vacation. Here’s what they suggested:
1. A sturdy backpack
Invest in a good backpack. Not only will this leave your hands free, but it will also be much easier to carry around than a suitcase. A backpack or rucksack that has no structured frame is easier for storage (if your travel itinerary has you hopping from buses to trains), and will be more comfortable to carry on your back.
2. A first-aid kit
You can never be too prepared when it comes to an emergency situation. For peace of mind, keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand at all times. What should you bring along? The basics include, but of course are not limited to: pain relievers, antibiotics, antihistamines, eye drops, disinfectant, alcohol wipes, adhesive bandages, decongestants, tweezers, insect repellent, antacids and any prescription medications that you may need.
3. GSM cell phone
DiScala recommends bringing along a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cell phone on your next adventure vacation. “They will work in practically any country in the world and if you get a local SIM card, the rates can be ridiculously cheap, including free incoming calls in many countries no matter where they are originating from,” he says. However, if you’re traveling to a really remote destination, he recommends considering a satellite phone. “They are bulky and expensive but they could save your life if you get into trouble.”
4. A canteen
Our bodies are incredible machines that need lots of fluids to keep them running in top form. Proper hydration is essential when you’re taking an extended outdoor trip, particularly in hot climates. “A canteen is good to have since it’ll keep water cold, unlike traditional clear water bottles,” says Blatt. “Canteens with neck straps are also useful,” she says, as they’ll allow you to keep your hands free for more important things. Note: Signs of dehydration include headaches and fatigue, so be sure to drink up!
5. Full-brim hats
“Full brim hats are helpful to avoid sunburn, particularly for people with sensitive skin who burn easily,” says Blatt. Check out e4hats.com for some fun but functional options.
Wherever your adventure takes you, be sure to have current, up-to-date maps of your location on hand. Plastic covered maps are best, as they won’t get destroyed by water damage.
7. Proper footwear
“Proper footwear is key, especially for long hikes,” says Blatt. “For water activities and shorter walks, sport sandals are perfect ““ be sure to bring along shoes that secure the ankle as opposed to using flip-flops,” she cautions. For short, light walking trips or hikes, “day-hikers” should suffice. These are slightly more rugged and durable than your usual running shoes. However, for longer walks, hiking on uneven terrain and climbing activities, look for a sturdier boot that provides ankle support and has a hard plastic or steel shank for added support.
8. Extra batteries
This one’s pretty straightforward. You just never know when that flashlight is going to die. Be sure to bring the appropriate-sized batteries for all of your battery-powered equipment.
9. Unscented sunscreen
Don’t add a sunburn to your list of things to worry about! Travel with ample amounts of unscented sunscreen and be sure to reapply regularly if you’re engaging in water activities or sweating. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, you should “look for a sunscreen product with a minimum SPF of 15 to protect against the sun’s UVB rays. The product should also contain ingredients that protect against UVA rays, which penetrate more deeply into the skin and are responsible for premature aging and contribute to the development of skin cancer. Sunscreens that are labeled ‘broad-spectrum’ help protect against both.”
10. Money pouch
Deter pickpockets by carrying a discreet money pouch. Conceal your money, passport and other valuables with a pouch that you can wear beneath your clothing.