What To Pack Before You Travel Abroad, Whether It's A Solo Or Group Trip

You'll need a portable phone charger, compact backpack and some first aid before you pack up and go on a trip outside the country.
Clockwise from left: A Stall Mates wipe,Pedialyte packet, Band-Aid Hydro Seal blister heels, an iWalk portable phone bank and a money belt.

At the end of March, I took myself on a vacation to Mexico City. It was a super last-minute trip, so I didn’t have much time to prepare, and I felt incredibly frazzled when trying to pack. As I stress-ate slices of Kraft American singles, I scrolled through dozens of travel blogs for packing tips and advice on staying safe as a solo traveler in a foreign country.

What I found were a lot of clothing-only packing guides, with lots of pictures of bloggers’ folded laundry. While I appreciate a good #OOTD moment, I needed guidance on the toiletries and other practical life items you’d want with you when traveling abroad. So, in the name of DIY, I decided to make one myself.

From collapsable backpacks to a mini bug spray, here are all the packable things that come in handy when you’re traveling alone (or with pals!) in a foreign country.

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A super compact charging port that connects right to your phone
While other power banks use a cord to power up your phone, this one plugs right into your phone, letting you charge with ease. It's about the size of a tube of lipstick and can handle one full phone charge and then some, depending on your phone type. The one pictured is for iPhones, but there's a similar one for Androids as well.
A four-pack of mini sunscreens
Have fun in the sun without turning into a burnt lobster. These four one-ounce sunscreens in SPF30 pack super easy, and you can throw them in all the different bags you're taking, so you'll always have sun protection.
Mini bug spray
If you're traveling somewhere with high transmission rates of malaria, you may need vaccines before you go. Regardless, keeping bug spray on you is a great way to protect yourself from bites and itches. This is a .48-ounce mini bug spray with 40% DEET.
Pedialyte packets to stay hydrated in heat
For electrolytes on the go, these Pedialyte packets are it. They're super packable, easily dissolve into a bottle of water and all the flavors taste like juice. This box of eight comes with a mix of strawberry, fruit punch, grape and apple flavors.
A compact backpack you can stash in your luggage
If your carry-on backpack is a bit bulky, you may not want to take it with you when you go sightseeing. This collapsible backpack packs super easy and lets you carry daily things you need when exploring a new place. This bag comes in three sizes and 10 colors; it weighs 4 ounces and can be folded down to the size of a wallet.
A six-pack of blister Band-Aids to keep you walking with ease
If you're prone to heel blisters or know you're going to be walking a lot, these Band-Aids are a must. They're totally waterproof and really cushion your blisters, letting you wear (and comfortably walk) in actual shoes. And there's a sterile hydrocolloid gel on the Band-Aid that helps your blister heal up quickly.
A pack of 30 individually-wrapped flushable toilet wipes to keep you clean
Some places don't have toilet paper in public bathrooms. Sometimes all the toilet paper is gone. Maybe you just like to be extra clean. Whatever the case, carrying some pocket bathroom wipes is a smart idea when traveling.
A simple thin money belt to keep your credit card close
There are a million and one kinds of money belts with all sorts of zippers, but when traveling in a new place, I want something as simple as possible. This money belt is made for runners, so it's super light and thin, and it only has one zipper, so you'll never be fumbling around looking for your credit card. It comes in three colors; the pouch is 7.5 by 4.5 inches, and the adjustable band expands from 24 to 46 inches.
A pair of disposable cameras for when your phone is about to die
Disposable cameras are great when traveling because they let you take pictures while your phone is tucked away. And if you leave them on a cafe table or get pickpocketed, it won't be as detrimental as losing your phone abroad. Each camera offers 27 shots.
A travel blanket to throw over scratchy sheets or chairs
Stay warm on drafty flights and trains and give yourself a protective layer between sketchy hostel sheets with a super-packable travel blanket. This blanket is 55 by 70 inches but folds down to just ‎7.5 by 3.7 inches. It comes in 11 colors.
A universal face, lip and body balm
Easy packing means making the most of every product. Instead of bringing lip balm, face cream and body lotion, try Glossier's Balm Dot Com for an all-in-one moisturizing treat. It comes in eight tinted flavors and original (pictured), which is untinted and fragrance-free.
A light shawl to cover your shoulders in religious spaces
If you're traveling in an area that's a little more conservative when it comes to clothing, it's a good idea to have a light shawl in your bag. Some religious centers or museums require patrons to have their shoulders covered, and you may feel generally more comfortable following what the locals are doing. Additionally, this light cotton-blend shawl packs super easy and is practical if it gets breezy or dusty outside. It comes in 14 colors (pictured is denim blue).
A mini first aid kit for small cuts and scratches
This tiny first aid kit has just what you need to feel safe on a trip and comes in a cute yellow tin. It includes 12 fabric bandages and a .5-ounce tube of triple antibiotic and pain-relieving ointment.
A foldable lightweight hat
My mom, who practically lives at the local running store in her town, turned me on to "running hats," or super lightweight hats that are really bendable and don't lose their shape. They're great for sunny places or general bad hair days while traveling. They're super packable and easy to throw in a purse or backpack. This is Rnnr's lightweight running hat pacer in Oreo ($38), but there are tons of colors and styles available.
Cheap polarized sunglasses
Many of us have left our favorite pair of sunglasses somewhere. Stocking up on a few pairs of cheap (but still polarized!) sunglasses like these Sojos small round classic glasses will keep your eyes safe in the sun and won't ruin your trip if you lose a pair along the way. These are unisex, polarized and come in seven styles.
Pocket Advil
Having some pain-relieving and fever-reducing medicine on hand may come in handy when traveling. Instead of bringing the giant bottle from your bathroom, grab these little pocket containers of 10 200 mg pills each. They're about the size of a tube of Chapstick, so you can stick one in your bag to always be prepared.
Mini spray hand sanitizers to clean your hands before and after eating street food
If you're eating with your hands a ton or just want to ensure you're clean, mini hand sanitizer sprays are a must. They're small enough that you can bring a couple with you and not feel like you're lugging around extra weight. This pack of four two-ounce spray sanitizers have 62% Ethyl alcohol and come in lavender and basil scents.
A purifying water bottle to ensure safe drinking
When traveling abroad, you want to research the water situation before you go. This filtered 24-ounce water bottle removes 99.99% of viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and chemicals from water, making tap water safe to drink. It comes in four colors.
A box of 20 mini travel wipes to keep everything around you clean
Wipe down your airplane seat and tray, your hands, your phone and everything else as you're traveling with these travel wipes. These 20 individually wrapped wipes have 70% alcohol.
A universal power adapter that doubles as a phone charger
Nix travel stress with this universal power adapter. It works in 160 countries and has four USB ports so you can charge all your devices at once. It comes in four colors.

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