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Title image:  Getting ready for expeditions, resources and tips

Expedition Gear Series

Ten International Travel Must Haves

By Sara Tiffany

October 14, 2013

Whether you’re trekking in Patagonia, climbing Everest or going on an African safari, there are a few travel items that you can’t leave home without. Check out our list to make sure you are prepared for your next trip!

1. Your passport and extra passport photos: As long as you have your passport and some sort of money, you’re ready to travel. As for extra passport photos, you never know when these will come in handy when you’re traveling abroad. International visas or climbing permits are just two examples of times when you will need them. Two should be sufficient.

2. A travel wallet: There is nothing worse than frantically searching for important travel documents. Avoid that panicky feeling by keeping documents and money organized in your travel wallet. Opt for a sleek wallet style like this one or or choose the more versatile style with a waist belt for a more conspicuous design. Make sure to put your plane tickets, your passport, extra passport photos and your hotel information into the wallet.

travel wallet travel wallet

Travel wallets

3. Stuff sacks: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You can never have too many stuff sacks. These are great for organizing clothes, electronics, and other gear. They are also are super useful as a dirty clothes bag (especially if you are sending your laundry off to be washed). If you choose light colors, they will be easy to label with permanent markers. These are also help you save space when packing your down jacket or other bulkier items. You don’t need to pay a lot of money for them either. Try these for an affordable option and for a water tight option try this one.

stuff sacks stuff sack

Stuff sacks

4. A small compact duffel bag: On nearly every Berg Adventures trip people choose to leave some travel items behind at our hotels when they go trekking or climbing, or even on safari. You don’t need to bring your safari clothes to Kilimanjaro or your souvenirs from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp. The easiest way to leave them behind is to bring a compact duffel bag packed away in your luggage. Not sure what that means? Check out these tiny bags that fold out into roomy duffels. Here’s another option.

Small compact duffels

5. Moist towelettes: This simple item will make your life so much better when you’re traveling. Not only can you use them to wipe your hands clean, they can also be used to refresh your face on a hot day and before you go to bed. Avoid the types with added moisturizers to get a really fresh feeling. These are great on treks and climbs when you don’t have access to indoor plumbing. For your body, try these and for your hands, try the classic Wet Wipes.

6. Medication: This is not the most exciting item on the list, but it is hands-down one of the most important. Bring all of your medications, especially your prescription medications, in your carry-on. Put them in a clear plastic container like this one so that if you have an emergency, they are easily identifiable. In addition to prescription medications, you may also want to bring some basic medications for pain relief, upset stomach, constipation (a common travel problem) and seasonal allergies. A small bottle of hand cream and lip balm will also be useful.

Clear plastic contaner for your medication

Clear plastic container for you medication

7. Extra camera batteries and memory cards: Imagine pulling up to a herd of lions in the Serengeti as your camera battery dies. It has happened to me, don’t let it happen to you! Bring plenty of extra batteries for your camera and warm them up before you use them to help them work efficiently. Also bring plenty of memory cards so that you don’t find yourself deleting photos you love to make room for more. Most cameras take standard SD cards, but check to make sure.

8. Chargers and electrical adaptors/converters: Most devices these days use USB chargers – phones, camera batteries and e-readers. Make sure you have the right cords and chargers for all of your devices and consolidate as much as you can. Put all electronic cords in a stuff sack or try one of this nifty organizers. For a generic electrical converter and adaptor set, try this. Or check out this handy-dandy USB charger that is also a converter and international travel adaptor!

Niffy organizer USB chargers

Left: Niffy organizer; Right: USB chargers

9. Rain gear: Don’t get caught out in the rain! Sadly, weather does not always cooperate, but don’t let it hinder your plans. If you’re going to the mountains trekking or climbing, choose a really waterproof material like Gor-tex or similar, and buy both a jacket and pants. Good brands include Mountain Hardwear, Marmot and Arc’teryx among many others. Buy the pants larger than you normally need so that they are easy to get on and off without removing your boots.

If you’re going on safari or planning to stay in the city, Gor-tex is probably not necessary. Choose a lightweight rain coat that packs small so that you can bring along in your day pack or purse. If you’re expecting lots of rain, pick a stylish rain coat! Sierra Designs, PrAna and Patagonia have great options.

10. A swim suit: How many times have you foregone packing your swim suit thinking you wouldn’t need it only to find that your hotel had a hot tub or the weather was warmer than usual? Don’t get caught without one. Men, bring a pair or lightweight gym shorts which can pass as swimwear. How about these? Women, bring a sporty swimsuit that is versatile – like a top that can double as a sports bra or shirt in a pinch. Examples include this one, or this one