When I was a kid, I was a Boy Scout. I made it pretty far too, but then I became a teenager, decided it was “lame,” and quit. As a Boy Scout, I learned how to tie knots, camp outdoors, be a good citizen, play with knives, and got to have cool sleepovers. One of the most important things you learn as a Boy Scout is their motto to always “be prepared,” and as I’ve grown up and traveled the world, I’ve found this to also be a travel truism.
You never know what might happen on the road. Stepping out your door into the unknown is what makes travel so exciting. Each day brings endless possibility, but that possibility is for both good and bad. You may end up enjoying a day sightseeing in Paris — or getting robbed in Berlin. You may spend an amazing day on the beaches of Thailand — or suffer food poisoning in Costa Rica.
But if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to face whatever happens to you on the road:
Take Multipurpose Gear. Packing multiuse gear ensures you can easily adjust to changing conditions and helps reduce the amount of clothing you need to take. I like pants that zip off into shorts, walking shoes that look nice enough for an evening out, and using my swim trunks as a pair of shorts. It saves room, and I’m prepared for any dress situation.
Carry a Small First Aid Kit. While we live in 2012, not 1912, and you can find modern medicine anywhere in the world, I always carry a small first aid kit with me with a few essential items to be safe. I take Tylenol, stomach illness medicine, eyedrops, Band-Aids, scissors, hydrocortisone cream, antibacterial ointment, and a small supply of doctor-approved antibiotics. I’m usually able to find a pharmacy when I need one, but in case of an emergency, it’s good to have these items handy.
Pack a Small Flashlight. You’d be surprised how many travelers don’t carry one, but a flashlight will prove to be invaluable when you suddenly decide to go caving in Panama, when your hike lasts longer than expected and nightfall sets in, or when the electricity goes out unexpectedly, which is not uncommon in a lot of places. I carry a small, waterproof pen flashlight when I travel.
Bring an Umbrella. Many travelers don’t pack an umbrella because it adds weight to their bag, and they figure they can just buy one if they ever need it. However, while it does add a small amount of weight, I’ve found myself thankful for taking it more times than I can count. You never know when you might be exiting an airport or walking down the street and find yourself in a sudden storm. While others run for cover, I simply take out my umbrella and continue to my destination.
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