Some would say I’m a seasoned traveller. After 10+ years of actively exploring the world, during which I applied for three passports and set foot in 32 countries, I did pick up a few tricks along the way: don’t skimp on skincare, pack more shoes than you think you will need (a girl can never have too many shoes in her suitcase), and never leave the house without travel insurance.
While the majority of travellers are eager to plan out their itinerary, research hotels, and look up weather conditions, a recent TD Insurance survey found that more than one third of Canadians have forgotten to purchase travel insurance at least once before (37%) or say that it is the last thing they think of (36%).
And things get even worse as far as my generation is concerned: millennials would rather travel without travel insurance (55%) than without their smartphones (45%). Guys, your smartphone is not going to be of any help with a $15,000 hospital bill, you know that, right?
The bottom line, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the following: travel insurance is not something that should be overlooked.
Amongst other things I can’t travel without, here are 8 essentials items that are always by my side on my way to the airport.
1. A sturdy suitcase
There’s no point in trying to be organized if all you’re leaving with is a distressed duffle bag, right? As in anything, having the right tools is a guaranteed recipe for success and this is why I’m highly partial to my Heys luggage. Made of a polycarbonate composite, each of the suitcases are ultra-light – the biggest one weighs just 10.8 lbs – and are also expandable. I also like that my fashionable, ombré Heys luggage has a built-in TSA Lock for maximum security, which means anyone that’s not technically supposed to have a peek inside my suitcase won’t. The 360° spinner wheels and the 5-year warranty are also musts, as is the hard shell that ensures my precious possessions won’t be damaged or destroyed in transit.
2. Mirrorless camera
I barely ever leave home without my beloved camera, the Olympus OM-D-EM10. My back could no longer stand the bulk and weight of carrying my reflex camera and lenses around all day. I wanted something light, powerful, simple to use, with changeable lenses and within my price range; in other words, I wanted the unicorn of travel photography. I also carry a 25mm lens and a 9-18 wide-angle lens.
3. Hand cream
Never underestimate the power of moisturizing on the plane. I always keep a tube of Aesop hand cream in my handbag that I apply whenever I feel my skin drying up (also, quite frankly, because I’m addicted to the smell).
4. Wallet and travel insurance
Obviously, I would never leave the house without my wallet, nevermind leave the country! But as I’ve mentioned before, travel insurance is often something travellers overlook, either because they can’t be bothered to subscribe to an annual travel insurance plan.
The unexpected always occurs at the worst of times, though, regardless of how far you go. Over a third of Canadians believe travel insurance offered through their credit card or their employer benefits plan is all they need but sometimes that simply isn’t extensive enough. For example, 43% of Canadians say it’s not important for them to have travel insurance when travelling to another province within Canada; but did you know that government health plans won’t cover certain emergency expenses like bringing loved ones to visit you in hospital, or returning you home if you get sick or injured, and may not cover ambulance rides?
Always validate the terms, benefits and duration of coverage of your actual plan and consider buying supplemental insurance if needed. For instance, through its annual plan, TD Insurance covers you for unlimited trips of 9, 17, 30 or 60 days throughout the year, making it convenient option for frequent travelers.
5. Noise-cancelling headphones
They not only cancel the screams of tired infants but they also dampen the noise of the plane itself. They’re life-savers for red-eye flights and long travel days!
6. Basic make-up kit
- On-the-go foundation (I have oily skin so this is an absolute must)
- Rejuvenating and refreshing mist
- EOS lip balm (long flights are incredibly dehydrating!)
- Toothbrush + paste
- Gum (also good for when your ears get blocked)
- Immodium (don’t lie to me, we’ve all needed it at some point in our travels)
- Dramamine (always get the original formula; the non-drowsy ones are worth crap)
- Hand sanitizer
It’s always a good idea to have perfume readily available when you travel, either because someone near you smells awful or simply because you’ve had a long, stressful travel day and you’ve become that person who smells awful. I recommend getting the solid version of your perfume, if available, as it won’t risk breaking in a thousand pieces during the trip.
8. Cashmere scarf
A scarf can be used to cover shoulders when visiting sensible buildings, as a pillow, as a tablecloth or a blanket. Or, you know, as an actual scarf when it’s chilly out.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by TD Insurance.