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The One Thing You Can’t Travel Without – Your Responses

Following our blog post on Travel Items that Make Travel Easier we asked the Mobal International Traveler Community what was the one thing they couldn’t travel without and why? The responses were entered into our May Prize Draw Competition – thank you to everyone who entered! The lucky winner will be revealed below along with some of our favorite responses.

The winner of our May Competition is: Carolyn Fay – Congratulations!

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Cell Phones and Gadgets

Noise canceling headphones!

The one thing I cannot travel without is my E-Reader (Kindle)

A good book “and” my Mobal phone.

My portable power supply (50 watts) with 5 10 watt USB ports, a plug strip and a country adapter for charging

A cell phone of course!
Tammy Montane

My tablet, because I can download anything that is on paper on to my tablet that I need for my trip.

One thing I can’t travel without is some kind of a smart phone so while traveling away from my daughter I can keep in touch with her and see her face even when I’m away. The most important part of my day is reaching her and seeing her smiling face.
Amy Fox

The one think I must have is my Mobal phone. It’s almost 6 years old and doesn’t have any bells and whistles, but that little Nokia had saved the day many, many times. I never worry or wonder if it will work in another country. It does. Every single time and i’s just there. READY and waiting. This past winter we toured the UK and Europe. Even though I’d informed our banks and credit card companies we’d be overseas for 6 months, on two separate occasions they refused payment for accommodation and train tickets. Without my Mobal to solve the problem I would have been stressed, stranded and worse strapped for cash. It’s a life saver! Imagine how easy life would be with a Smartphone. Fingers crossed I win. 🙂

The one thing I cannot travel without and why is my smartphone….I have my e ticket, copy of passport, itinerary, use the world clock app., banking, can real time monitor my business and home via camera app, find great entertainment, great restaurants, directions especially as pedestrian or motorist in a new place, take great pictures, travel alarm clock app, game apps, can check emails, search for whatever I need online….Before smartphones had to carry TOO MUCH!

Your passport, credit card, ID’s and a phone.

You need your passport to prove your citizenship.
You need a credit card for emergency use.
You usually need two forms of ID so your state drivers license is a must.
Need a phone to call for help in an emergency and helps local authorities pinpoint where you might be.

Keep everything with you at all times you never know where you will be or what the circumstances are.
Nancy M Hilfer

When I first started traveling through Europe, I had to rely upon finding phones in B&B’s or Youth Hostels or street corners. Then I needed the correct change in local currency for the call. The use of smartphones and tablets has been exceptional in allowing the traveler check on train schedules, accommodations and local landmarks. I can’t see how I could have traveled years ago without the modern day conveniences we have today.

The thing I need most is my  mobal phone, because it keeps me connected to family and friends no matter where I`m giving me peace of mind.
Peppino  Meloni

My IPad mini. It’s my camera, email, maps, currency converter, books, scrabble .

Clothing and Accessories

Travel size umbrella & sewing kit

I can’t travel without my Crocs! Not only are they very, very comfortable, they are easy to put on and take off at the airports, they can be washed off and dried when dirty,
And they look nice. Can’t ask for more!

The one thing I can’t travel without is a hat. Protection from sun and rain and cool weather.  (I returned from China with a sun rash which lingered a LONG time…)

A spare pair of eyeglasses, because I only need them to see!

Clothes on your body.  Because you will just be arrested without them and you can’t carry your wallet without clothes.

I never leave home without my sarong. Purchased in Thailand in 1989. Uses, bathrobe, towel, pillow, shawl. blanket. carryall for picnic, swimsuit coverup. Takes almost no luggage space.

I can’t travel without my quick-dry underwear. I’m a nut for clean underwear everyday. And I refuse to carry more than will fit into my book bag. Quickdry underwear means I only need a few pair for an infinitely long trip. In fact, all my clothes are quick-drying.

My TrekPod II.  This is a stout walking stick.  I can’t tell you how many cites I’ve twisted an ankle in, and the walking stick has saved me many a fall.  In addition, it has a magnetic mount on the top for my camera and thus functions as a monopod.  And the legs at the bottom come apart to form a tripod!  It breaks into two pieces to fit into a suitcase, although I suspect that its presence is the reason my suitcase gets inspected by TSA so often.  It must make an intimidating x-ray shadow!  When I’m traveling with it, I simply explain that I have a “little problem with balance,” when someone inquires about it.  The only time I’ve had a problem — and not much of one — was when I was on a bus going through a check point going into Jerusalem.  A girl — who looked like she was outweighed by her body armor and her Uzi — came on the bus and asked if we were all alright.  When she spotted the TrekPod lying up against a window, she looked quite suspiciously and asked, “What is THAT?”  It was handed to her slowly and carefully, never pointed in her direction!

I can’t travel without my “pagne.”  It’s a piece of cloth that can be a blanket, a scarf, a shawl, a skirt, a picnic blanket, even an extra bag for carrying purchases.  While my son isn’t a huge fan, it can also be used to carry a tired baby.  I’ve had it for 20 years (since my peace corps service in Cameroon) and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without it (or another piece of light cotton a yard tall and two yards long).

My feather pillow. I have ended up in airports overnight, on beds so hard I had black and blue marks, on beds so lumpy I sank to the middle. I have even ended up sleeping on floors. But if I have my own feather pillow I can fall asleep anywhere. Oh, and a sleep mask, sleeping pill and fuzzy socks for an overseas red eye.

Loved Ones

I can’t travel on our cruises without a photo/photos of our 6 grandchildren. It always makes me smile to see their happy faces (ages 9 months to 11 years) and makes me realize how lucky we are to be able to travel as we do. It also encourages me to find something each day that I think I could pass on to them.

My wife, Rhonda, because she won’t let me!

The one thing I cannot travel without is my wonderful wife that I have had the pleasure of being married to for 48 years.

The one thing I can’t travel without is my wife as a traveling companion.  Not having her along would be boring and make the trip very uneventful.
Bill Sullivan

The one thing I can’t travel without is MY HUSBAND!  He makes everything easier and more fun.  Love that guy!
Nancy Marr

The one thing I cannot travel without is my wife.

I can’t travel without my wife! She is the adventurer and the leader.
In over 40 years her love of travel and finding new places has made me into a seasoned travelers with the desire to see more.
It is so nice to have a personal travel agent!
She is my tour director, my cruise partner, my beach buddy and my friend.
I thank her for her willingness to have me share the experiences.
Thanks for the memories past and those yet to come!
Randy Lyon

Health / Beauty

I always take my own liquid soap – Hotels usually supply bar soap but my liquid soap has moisturiser and is more hygienic.

I can’t travel without chapstick.  I can’t go anywhere without chapstick….

I always travel with hand sanitizer and wipes.  I believe it is very important to avoid germs on surfaces so as not to get sick. I always use wipes on airplane seat buckles, trays, and arm rests. I also wipe down hotel room phones and especially the TV remote. Light switches and door knobs are also good places to wipe. this may sound boring and low tech but it is no fun to be sick on travel or vacation. Surfaces are the number one place to pick up germs!

My med kit – I have 7 RX items and several others, so I carry it everywere.

I like to have some gentle wet wipes (like baby wipes, for instance) for quick clean-ups, substitute for a shower if stuck somewhere overnight, even instead of toilet paper if necessary. Powder to help freshen up if hot and sticky is also nice!

Those small packages of Kleenex for the hundreds of bathrooms w/o paper!

I cannot travel w/o a daily dose type of pill box so that I’m certain I’m taking my meds.

I always have my small leather man tool in the suitcase, wish I could take it on the plane! Once while in Namibia our guide used it to remove a bee stinger from a companions face, to open wine, scissors to get into those horrible packages, a last resort finger nail file, for slicing cheese, open the beer, and on and on. Clarice Beck


I must have an Excel spreadsheet that I build when making travel arrangements.  It has itinerary information, lodging addresses and phone numbers, flight numbers/seat assignments/flight times, a list of my medications, forwarding address for lost luggage, changes made by the airline or tour operator, name of individuals I dealt with, airport designations, confirmation number, emergency contact while traveling, car rental info., etc.  I also list the same info for any travel companions.  Shrink to fit one page.  A copy in checked luggage, a copy in carry on and a copy left with family at home.
…Jill Graham

I cannot travel without my waterproof file folder. Sometimes you don’t have enough battery power, and need your documents. It is a backup to Google docs for me.
Kathy Guenther

My passport holder.  It hangs around my neck and/or shoulder.  It holds money, passport, credit cards, keys and a pen.  Invaluable.
Tami Czuleger

I can’t travel without my international organizer! It has my passport, money, bank cards, international address and number book, a place for stamps (for postcards), safety documents, international currency (a little of each country I’m around), ID’s, a notepad and pen, and sim card holders all in a discreet, compact carry case that fits like a small notebook. It’s soooooooo convenient 🙂


I cannot travel without my passport because most of my trips involve crossing borders

The one thing needed to travel:

1.       The means to get back.

Duck tape because repairs need to be made occasionally.
Richard Brown

I bring zip lock plastic bags. They’re perfect for storing snacks, organizing clothes and preventing spills. I travel to Africa on medical missions and found this system to be very beneficial.

One thing I cannot travel without is a set of zip lock plastic bags of all sizes!  I use them for so many things, and since my travels usually include a cruise, the bags are wonderful in the cabin. I use the bags for the following:
Organizing items in my suitcases.
Placing anything and everything in the bags that may leak in the suitcase.
Use as an ice bag for “boo boo’s”
Keep ice in a small refrigerator found in hotel rooms and ship cabins.  The ice lasts longer than in an ice bucket.
Put wet bathing suites in when one must travel after a swim.
Put leftover food items in the refrigerator that you don’t want to throw away….especially after room service.
Pack underwear in them.  Remove from suitcase and place in a drawer in the plastic bag.  Keeps items clean without touching sides of the drawers.
Great for tooth brush and tooth paste.
Keep brushes and combs used for styling hair all together.
Small hard candies great for carry on bag.
Place bandaids in bags after removing from bulky box so bandaids don’t take up so much room in suitcase.
Holds mini iPad to insure iPad won’t get wet when in a small boat or amusement ride.
Large bag holds dirty clothes.  Remove air before closing to take up less space in suitcase.
There are many more uses for these bags when traveling.  Just be sure and take plenty.  I usually take a whole box of each size, remove from the boxes and place in the outside pockets of my suitcases.  They weigh very little and take up a very small amount of space.
Diane Blondheim

GWinner!allon Baggies! I use them to put shampoo and conditioner in a baggie so if they leak, it won’t get on my clothes…. my pills, so if they open they are all at least in a bag. Deodorant so if it leaks, it is in a bag. And when I go to a different city and find a rock or something special, I can write on it with a marker and remember where I got it at.  You can use it in the morning to stick a couple snacks for later in it, from your breakfast.. there are just so many uses for a gallon baggie! I also can put small pieces of clothing if dirty in there and then the rest of my clothes won’t stink. Thanks !

Unfortunately, the one thing I now know I must have in large quantity when traveling is currency. Sad that one’s credit cards cannot be relied upon no matter how good your payment history or how high your unused credit limit may be. Even after telling my card issuers I would be traveling, three major issuers (VISA, MasterCard and AMEX) ALL declined when I needed to purchase emergency airfare home for our family of four during a cruise last fall after being informed of my son’s sudden death back home. Expect compounded grief under such circumstances. Take lots of currency because that may be the only way you can get home.


I love to read and having my book handy makes any waiting period (plenty of those)  pleasurable.   Simple as that!
Connie Greco

BOOKS! I like to leave the ones I’m done reading in hotels or used book stores.


What is the one thing you can’t travel without? Let us know in the comments below!

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