The more you travel the more you realise that there are so many things that you simply do not need to drag around the world with you. Items such as hairdryers, 3 pairs of heels, that fancy travel cutlery with matching plates, mountains of books and your bed sheets are not essential travel items
It took me a few trips to realise that there are many pointless items that I will never pack again – Jacqui’s top 10 pointless items not to take backpacking.
So what ARE the essential items? Here are a few that I would never travel without:
6. Documents & stuff in your wallet – Passport & identification, debit card, credit card (one back-up), a small amount of cash, itinerary with flight and accommodation details, confirmations (if needed)
5. A photocopy of your passport and identification
4. Minimal clothing – plain coloured items that can be mixed and matched and be layered if it gets cold. A good idea is to take stuff that will dry quickly and can be worn several times in your trip to save space and time.
3. Basic toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitiser, soap and moisturiser (under 100ml of course!)
2. Decent walking shoes, one pair of shoes that can be worn out to dinner or a bar and your thongs/flip flops/jandals.
And the number 1# item that I will never leave home without (again)??
As many regular readers may already know, we have had a few ups and downs on our 12 Month Honeymoon that have resulted in us trying to find full time work in London much earlier than we had intended. Had we purchased travel insurance before departing Australia there is no doubt that we would have saved ourselves a lot of heartache, money and frustration.
I think that I would be one of the few people you know who could have claimed for almost every type of insurance an individual can purchase. I wrote off my first car in 2004, had a travel insurance claim for a lost smart phone in 2010, and earlier this year, amidst hectic wedding preparations and honeymoon planning, our house was flooded and we lost over $15,000 in contents. I suppose it was inevitable that I would find myself in London (without travel insurance) working for the marketing department of one of the top five insurance companies in the world.
So here are my top 5 reasons every traveller should ALWAYS purchase travel insurance before a trip:
1. 24-hour Emergency help – many travel insurance policies will offer complimentary 24-hour medical land travel assistance with a multi-lingual service, telephone medical advice and emergency travel agent assistance, embassy referrals and legal assistance.
2. Medical expenses – imagine finding yourself in the US with no health cover… from my own experience, a simple doctors’ visit and an x-Ray cost $US270. It was an upfront fee that I was made to pay as soon as they heard I did not have insurance. Fortunately I did not need a plaster cast, medication or a referral as this would have been a much more expensive ordeal. And then, only a few weeks later, I did have to fork out about €2,000 in medical expenses, doctors’ visits, surgery and medication when I broke my foot in France. And unless you are fluent in French, I bet you won’t know that someone is telling you to come back for a surgical consult without Google Translate or an interpreter.
3. Travel document replacement –What would you do if you were stuck in a foreign country without enough cash for a new passport? For most travellers your passport is your most valuable possession as it is the sole thing that can be used to identify you no matter where you are. Without one you are a sitting duck. This is also the reason why you should always keep a photocopy of your passport and ID in your luggage. This is what saved us when our passports were stolen in Paris! (See also: What to do when your passport is lost or stolen)
4. Replacement cash and credit cards – It happens to many, it could be a gang in the alleyways of Barcelona, a maid in Manhattan or a pickpocket on the Metro in Paris, either way, it could happen to you. Most travel insurance policies will cover the unauthorised use of a stolen credit card and help you arrange for an emergency card or cash at a nearby bank.
5. Lost or delayed baggage – This is something that has happened to a friend of a friend, or an uncle’s dog’s brother’s owner’s girlfriend. According to CNN.com, tens of thousands of pieces of luggage go missing every year. In the first 3 months of 2008 British Airways lost 270,106 bags when it moved to Terminal 5 at Heathrow. But those with travel insurance needn’t have worried because they would have been able to replace their essential items and continue with their trip until their bags caught up with them. Easy!
Your travels will be much more enjoyable and less stressful with travel insurance, trust me!