I almost break out in hives when I see the word “essential” in relation to travel. Essential travel items. Yes, it’s essential to have your passport if you’re heading overseas, but what else is essential? I recently read a checklist of travel essentials to have with you when you’re on the road with a baby/toddler. The list gave War and Peace a run for its money with over 100 items on the list (YES, 100!!!), including a baby monitor, a room thermometer, car sunshades, portable high chair, and a cot and bedding. Whoever wrote that needs their passport revoked. They should stay at home.
Here are my top five travel essentials, not including a passport.
To travel, especially with kids, you need patience. “The destination” is only a part of travel… it’s the journey that really counts. And whether it’s by car, train, plane or foot… a good traveller will show great patience along the way.
Cultivate gratitude. Be thankful that you are fortunate enough to travel. To travel is a gift, one I’m always grateful for. In a world where many people are simply struggling to survive (yes, I’ve seen them when I travel), I know how blessed I am to experience different places, and different cultures. Be grateful for the things you see, the people you meet and the lessons learnt when you’re travelling.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”?– Mark Twain
Be open to new ideas and experiences when travelling. Other cultures might be very different to yours, but it’s not for you to judge while you’re there. Instead, learn. You’ll never agree with everything you see and experience when travelling, but approach it all with an open-mind and you can learn and grow.
A SENSE OF ADVENTURE
Even the most seasoned travellers will find some aspects of travel challenging, or even frightening. I know many long-term travelers who are hate flying. I know others who are frightened of heights, or precarious roads, or boats… but still you’ll find them out there facing those fears because their sense of adventure is stronger than the fear. Having a sense of adventure doesn’t preclude one’s fears, but people with a healthy sense of adventure will embrace new experiences despite their discomfort.
A SENSE OF HUMOUR
Don’t take it too seriously: travel or life. It’s a journey, it’s an adventure, and it’s meant to be fun. To laugh at others is easy, but to laugh at yourself is a greater gift. Travel, especially to other cultures, always includes some moments where “ya gotta laugh.” Find the humour is the stressful situations. Remember, you’re not off to war… you’re travelling. It’s meant to be fun.
Travel light. The only things that are really essential are qualities that make you a better traveller.