Passport, Bank Card, Phone… What Other Items Are Must-Haves for Travel?

In today’s budget airline culture, when hold luggage is a paid-for luxury, cost-conscious holidaymakers are coming up with ever more innovative ways to pack an entire fortnight’s worth of clothing into the restrictive space afforded by a cabin bag.

Even more intrepid travellers, meanwhile, might nowadays be heard at check-in talking about how they are off on a six-month jaunt around the globe with nothing more than their passport, bank card and smartphone on them – plus perhaps a couple of pairs of spare underwear. The point being, what do you need that you can’t just buy abroad if you need it?

Travelling light might not be to everyone’s taste, but it does beg the question – do we tend to overpack and, for that matter, overplan when we go abroad? Without going to extremes, what do we really need to take with us? Here are a few suggestions for must-haves it is easy to overlook, and some clever tips which will help you lighten the load.

A Prescription

Ok, so this will only apply if you are on prescription medicine of some kind. But one of the most common mistakes people make when they go abroad when they take their medications with them is to forget to take their actual prescription. What if your medication is lost? What if you fall ill and there is an emergency? What if the authorities don’t recognise the brand name of the pills you are carrying and want to check out what they are? Taking your prescription with you can save a lot of time and hassle.


Whether you love to sit for hours soaking up the sun on holiday with a good book, or need something to stave off the boredom of a long journey, reading material is a must-have on many people’s packing list. The problem is, books are chunky and heavy, not ideal for those cabin bag budgeteers. Nowadays, that is not a problem, of course. Buy an E-reader and you can download more novels than it’s humanly possible to read.

Local SIM Card

Your smartphone might be your camera, internet access and mode of communication all rolled into one, but even with the banning of roaming charges, using your own SIM calls, text and data abroad can be expensive. For very little money, a local SIM will let you get online at cheap local rates without having to rely on dodgy hotel WiFi. And if you want to call home, an international SIM will save you money, too.

Travel Insurance

The king and queen of the overlooked travel essential has got to be insurance. It’s easy to tell yourself it will never happen to me, but what if it is you whose baggage is lost without a trace en route? What if you have an accident or fall ill while abroad? Without travel insurance, it could end up costing you a whole lot more than mild inconvenience.

The most straightforward type of travel insurance is single trip insurance, suitable for any one-off excursions from beach holidays to business trips, golfing vacations to cruises. Avanti Travel Insurance specialises in policies for the over-50s, with a wide range of tailor made products for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions. Check out our website for more information about our bespoke single trip travel cover.