Five things you really can’t leave home without

“Once again, you forgot to mention the Imodium.” That was the Twitter comment about one of my posts that made me realise it’s time to go back to basics.

So, forgive me if you’ve read this before, but here are the five indispensable things to take on your travels.

Passport. Seems obvious, eh? You’d be surprised how many people arrive at the check-in counter without one.

Emergency cash. Yes, by all means take credit, debit and travel cards, they are all fabulous, useful and generally very secure. But make sure you have enough cash in the local currency of all your destinations to get you out of a pickle. The cashless society may be coming, but in many places it’s very far away.

Jacket. It gets cold in hot places. It also rains when it’s not supposed to. Take a light warm jacket even if you’re off to the tropics in the dry season.

Camera. Another no-brainer? Many of us will automatically take a smartphone and use it for pictures. But the quality can vary, so you should pack a decent camera, too. It also means you still have some digital memories should one of your devices be lost or stolen, or your memory card gets corrupted.

Imodium*. Or to give it its generic name, Loperamide. Or any other surefire cure for diarrhoea as recommended by a suitably qualified medical professional. If you do travel right — and that includes eating food an drinking drinks that you’re not accustomed to — you will need this medication at some point. Don’t rely on being able to buy it when you actually need it.

*Update: I’ve had some flak about this. A lot of people say you should let mild diarrhoea take its course to “flush out” your system. I say you say not have the time or opportunity to do that while on holiday. As always, the best advice is to consult a doctor or other suitably qualified person. 

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