Small things make a big difference
If you forget your toothbrush, just buy a new one. However, some things arent that simple. Read our guide below to make sure you're prepared
This is our ultimate travel checklist with everything you'll need from travel essentials, clothing, documents and advice on things to do before you go.
- Large rucksack ideally with a front zip for easy access not top loading
- Small day backpack
- Coloured dry bags for separating clothing (the colours help to easily differentiate wet clothes, dirty clothes, underwear, casual clothes etc)
- Rechargeable battery pack
- Microfibre Travel Towel
- Re-usable water bottle
- Worldwide USB travel adapter
- Padlocks x 2 (one for your locker and one for your rucksack/backpack)
- First aid kit
- Head torch
- Money/passport wallet (preferably RFID blocking to avoid identity and contactless card theft)
- Beach/laundry/shopping bag
- Toiletry bag
- Insect repellent
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Inflatable neck pillow
- Hand sanitizer
- Sleeping bag liner (debateable whether this should be used in all hostels but definitely if you are going on treks. This will keep you more protected from insects/bugs and a layer away from dirty potentially unwashed sheets)
- Waterproof phone pouch
- Headphone splitter (If you want to watch/listen to the same thing as your friend/partner on long journeys)
- iPad (Ideal for iBook’s, to download Netflix and watch films offline or get a travel keyboard case for writing blogs/emails as it’s lighter than a laptop)
- Camera and memory card
- Portable Bluetooth speaker
- Beach towel which can also be used as a blanket
- Bottle opener
- Mini sewing kit
- Tea Tree oil (you’d be surprised how much this comes in handy)
- Reusable cutlery and collapsible bowl
- Flask/coffee cup
** If you’re going on a cold weather expedition you need to decide whether to take your own sleeping bag and equipment or rent when you get there.
Clothing and footwear
- Vests and t-shirts (our bamboo tee mens and womens are great for travelling they’re naturally anti-bacterial, wick sweat and don’t smell when worn several times)
- Base layers and long johns if it’s cold conditions
- Lightweight mid layers for layering up. Jackets, fleece, lightweight hoodies and sweats.
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Packable synthetic or down jacket with a dry bag, this can then be used as a pillow
- Walking trousers/leggings
- Sports bras and normal bra
- Baseball cap
- Beanie or bobble hat
- Fleece neck warmer
- Neck tube (this can also be used to protect your head from the elements)
- Swimming attire
- Socks- it’s down to personal opinion, but 2-6 pairs depending where you’re going and whether you'll be doing much trekking. Remember you can wash your socks easily and it’s worth investing in a couple of pairs of mosquito repellent/cooling socks which will last longer and smell less.
- Underwear- a rough idea would be guys 3-4 pairs girls 8-10 pairs. Especially if you’re going on hikes and can’t wash clothes for a few days. They can also take a while to dry and you don’t want to be left with no clean ones!
- Walking boots
- Flip flops
- Sun cream
- Make up remover/cleanser (a cleanser is sometimes the best way to feel clean when travelling, this applies to guys too!)
- Soap (Lasts longer, lighter and more compact plus it’s more eco-friendly than shower gel)
- Roll on anti-per sprint (Lasts longer, more compact and is more eco-friendly than a deodorant)
- Toothpaste, tooth brush and floss. (We know it’s hard to have a routine but don’t let your hygiene and self-care slip too much when travelling!
- Make-up, please only take the absolute necessary basics. You do not need any more than one lipstick, be ruthless people!
- Lip balm, you’ll be surprised that this becomes a luxury item
- Perfume/cologne (Don’t underestimate the luxury of simple things when you’re travelling, like smelling nice)
- Tweezers, nail clippers and scissors
- Shaving Razor
- Small mirror
- Sea salt hair spray - This is great to give you the tousled surfer look for when you don’t have a hair dryer or straighteners. Sorry to break it to you, but we’d recommend leaving the straighteners at home. They just take up too much space. Everyone’s in the same frizzy hair boat and you will get looked at like “who’s the diva” if you pull out your GHD’s in a hostel!
- Baby wipes: If you’re going somewhere that showering might not be possible, these will come in useful. Remember that wipes are harsh on delicate skin on your face so avoid using these on a regular basis. A face wash is always the best bet and it removes more dirt but if you’re in the wilderness, use an environmentally friendly soap or biodegradable wipes. (Please note that even eco-friendly soaps shouldn’t be used directly into the water. You should still wash a distance away from the water so it goes into the soil to be broken down.)
- Dry shampoo: Lush do a great powder that’s more eco-friendly than the aerosols and lasts a lot longer.
Safety and health
- Check which vaccinations are needed well in advance. Check the NHS Fit for travel website
- Check the country is safe to travel to. Check the Government foreign travel advice website
- Always keep your valuables close by preferably hidden on you in a travel wallet or belt. Don’t ever let anyone take your passport and don’t leave valuables underneath a bus always keep them on you. Guard them with your life and you will be fine.
- Remember you can never be too cautious and safe, thieves can spot tourists a mile off so keep your belongings extra safe and locked away when ever possible.
Things to do before you go
- Make sure your passport is in date. Some countries ask for 3-6-month validity on it or they can refuse entry.
- Make sure you have a visa/ESTA if required.
- Always get travel insurance no matter how long the trip is for. True Traveller is great for longer length trips otherwise try Compare the Market or Go Compare for shorter trips.
- If you’re going for a long period, consider cancelling some of your direct debits or stabding orders to reduce your outgoings e.g. declare your car SORN if you’re not selling it and going for a long period, gym membership or cinema card etc.
- Check that your phone is unlocked and can be used abroad. Contact your network provider, as most will unlock them for free now. If you’re going for a long period consider cancelling your contract and going on to pay as you go.
- Consider taking a backup or old phone if you are thinking of buying a local sim card.
- Make sure you have enough of your prescription medication to last the trip. This includes any contraception.
- Get enough contact lenses to last the trip if required.
- Contact your bank to let them know you will be travelling overseas. Look which banks offer the best overseas transaction and withdrawal rates.
- Consider getting an interest free credit card as a backup if anything goes wrong.
- Decide between a traveller’s cash card, credit card, and also consider having money in two debit accounts just in case you lose a card or you have a problem with an account. It’s better to be prepared especially if you are travelling solo. If you are travelling with a friend and you have a problem you can transfer money to their account. This can be a common issue with cards overseas so don’t leave yourself stranded without cash. Always have back up cash stashed away somewhere and don’t leave it until the last minute to get cash because remote areas don’t usually have many ATM’s or the local one might not be working.
- Always use an ATM in the airport or bank or one that looks legit so you don’t get your card cloned. Draw enough out at a time so you don’t get charged withdrawal fee every time. However, don’t carry too much cash around with you at one time and make sure you’re not followed to/from a cash point.
- In some countries, such as India, you can’t get the local currency before entering that country, so it’s always good to have US Dollar to hand which can be easily exchanged in most places. This is especially the case when crossing boarders by land in South America.
- Tell someone your itinerary so someone knows where you’re going. Also, email a copy of your passport, insurance and visa documents to yourself and someone else just in case you, or they, need them.
- Take photos and photocopies of your essential documents just in case you lose the originals. Stash the copies in a different place to the originals, just in case they get lost or stolen.
Things to keep on you at all times
- Visa documents
- Insurance confirmation
- Emergency contacts
- Hotel/trip/flight information
- Itinerary information
- Credit/debit card/money
Things that will make travelling easier
- Buy a guide book such as lonely planet to research the place you are going and have a general idea of the route you want to take.
- Check the best times to travel to each country and avoid things like monsoon season, bitter cold conditions or peak tourist season as that’s when it is most expensive and crowded.
- The sooner you accept that the nicest you’re going to look travelling is the day you set off to the airport, the better.
- Download the Hostelworld app to check the most popular or cheapest hostels. It’s a great way to meet fellow travellers along your route.
- Do not be frightened into booking a tour before you go travelling. Everyone is different but we would recommend going with the flow and just booking one when you get there it's cheaper and you have more options. Every hostel offers tours and excursions or can point you in the right direction.
Solo Travellers: If you are nervous about travelling solo, just go! Leave your comfort zone, read our tips and information and, if you’re still unsure, then drop us an email and we will be happy to help and put your mind at rest. Trust us, there are so many things out there to help you - Facebook groups you can join to meet solo travellers, buy the book Lonely Planet and follow the travellers route, and book into hostels through Hostelworld. We can assure you that you will meet so many new people and you will never really feel alone. Anything you forget you can pretty much buy in the airport or when you get there. Just print off our checklist and read up on your destination and be as prepared as you can.
One final thought from the Yugen Explore team is to make sure you travel safe, travel educated and be smart. Don’t put yourself in unsafe situations and trust your instincts. The most important thing though, is to make sure that you travel! Travelling is good for the soul and it opens up a whole new world of adventure and wonderful experiences. You will never forget the people you meet along the way and the amazing things you have been lucky to be a part of.
We are envious and excited for your new adventures. Happy travels Yugen Explorers!
List compiled by the Yugen Explore team.
** Any recommendations by us are purely generic from our own experiences travelling, none are paid or sponsored. As always, we like to be as honest as possible with our travellers. If you know of any awesome travel tips that might help our readers and explorers please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org