Preparing for travel can be a very stressful thing. Not knowing what to pack is one of those things we all stress about. Early on when I started traveling I always packed too many things and over the years I’ve realized that less is better. Lugging all your crap through airports and taxi’s is a waste of energy and is not fun. So I tend to pack the bare minimum. It’s obvious you need to pack clothes (but not too many) but I wanted to list the essential things I pack in my bag that make my travel life easier.

One: A Good Book

Most travel involves a lot of downtime waiting for departures, sitting on trains and planes having something to keep you occupied is essential. There are a few things you can have but my favorite is a great book. You will be surprised how much you can cover in a good book on a long plane ride. You can find some great recommendations HERE.

TWO: Olympus Digital Camera

Early in my travel days, I would pack a basic digital camera that lacked many options. But then I took an interest in photography and documenting my travels with great photos and so I invested in a good camera with range. Now I don’t travel anywhere without my Olympus OM-D E-M10 II mirrorless camera.

THREE: Portable Charger

I can’t count how many times I’ve been out exploring and some sort of electronic I have needs to be charged. The Anker PowerCore 13000 is a must. It charges anything that uses a USB port. You can purchase one HERE


Yeah, I know the Apple Airpods are very popular (I even have a pair) but on flights, I prefer an over the ear type of headphones that are noise cancellations. Who wants to hear babies crying or two strangers loudly telling each other about their lives. I love my Parrot Zik 2.0 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones that you can find HERE


Along with having a good camera a good reliable camera lens is a must. Having a lens with a good zoom for objects far away or being able to focus in on items close-up you need a versatile lens. The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-40Mm F2.8 Pro lens is my go-to glass.


When I’m traveling I prefer to disconnect from social media and the news of the world you can read about “Being Present” while traveling here. However, using features other than text and voice can be beneficial. You can take some amazing photos on newer model cellphones. I also use the “notes” app to note points of interests, or addresses and reservation numbers. Before I leave home I also screenshot google maps directions from one place to another.


I think this one is self-explanatory but I like to have a nice wide brim fedora especially when it’s hot out to shield from the sun. I like to purchase my hats from Goorin Bros.


Another no-brainer is packing some cool shades. Whether to shield your eyes from the sun or to walk around incognito along with your wide brim fedora you don’t want to forget to pack a pair or two.


Most people only think of taking their passport with them if they are leaving the country but, I tend to take my passport on all of the trips that require me to get on an airplane. There are a lot of restrictions these days on people using drivers licenses as an acceptable form of identification to get through security. You can check here to see if your driver’s license is TSA Compliant.

TEN: Comfortable Shoes

There have been a few times I have worn shoes that looked cool but after walking around for a while I realized they aren’t meant to be walked in for long distances. You would think that all shoes made should be comfortable but they really are not. When you are traveling abroad you will find that site seeing requires a lot of walking so you should make sure you take care of your feet.

ELEVEN: Tablet

If you don’t want to read a book or can’t sleep on a flight its good to have an IPAD as a backup source of entertainment. Download some of your favorite movies or a season of your favorite show before you know it you will be landing at your destination.


I have listed all the things I like to pack when I travel and so you will need to put all of these things into something. I like to have two bags when I travel. First the bag you pack all your belongings in. I love the line of bags from The Shrine. I pack very light so this “Weekender” has a compartment for two pair of shoes and another compartment for clothing. Also on the outside, there is a compartment for baseball caps. I also like to take a smaller backpack for when I am exploring a city. A great way to store your chargers, books and whatever else you want to keep on you.


John Waites
A veteran who is passionate about inspiring others through travel and art, sharing ideas for personal growth and fulfilment.

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1 Comment

  1. Great advice!!!

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