If you’ve ever taken a last minute flight on a discount airline, you know that bringing a carry on bag is a cheapest option to go. You can’t beat paying only $30 in comparison with $70 per checked bag (unless you’re even more lucky and don’t have to pay at all for a carry on!). But let’s not forget the
As someone who has taken many flights with just a backpack as a personal bag, I’ve included everything that I take and use when I’m traveling light. Some of these may not be allowed everywhere, so do keep in mind what your local authority allows you to bring in a personal item or carry on.
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Items to Bring in Your Personal Bag (TSA Approved!):
A book or magazine to read on the flight: No matter how long the flight is, it is always a good idea to bring some reading material while you are waiting at the gate or are in the air. I’m currently reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I highly recommend it!
Portable Charger: We both know that you will likely be sing your phone while you wait for your flight, maybe even downloading a few episodes of your favorite show before boarding your flight! Either way, you will need a portable charger to keep up with your charging needs. The one that I am currently using has over 30,000 mAhs, which lets me charge my phone for over week without having to recharge it. I am so happy I invested a little bit more for something that lasts so long! You can buy it here.
Sleeping Mask: Personally I like to have a sleeping mask whenever I travel – especially on a long flight or on an early morning flight. I tend to nap a lot while flying so this is very useful for me in order to get a decent rest. Buy a sleeping mask here.
Theft Proof Backpack: While this may not exactly be something you pack while traveling, it is very important to bring along with you whenever you travel. I recently bought my Anti Theft/Theft Proof backpack before my trip to Colombia and it has really come in handy, especially when I travel around my own city! You can find my backpack here or a similar one here.
iPad or Kindle: I know I already mentioned bringing a book, but having an iPad or Kindle is perfect if you want to switch between reading an e-book to watching your favorite show on Netflix that you downloaded. Having either of these is also convenient as you can easily toggle between reading a book and watching TV whenever you want without having to bother your seatmate(s) to get something from the overhead bin or under your seat. This is also a good idea for introverts who occasionally need time to themselves, as mentioned in my earlier blog post.
Reusable Water Bottle: If you don’t already have a reusable bottle I highly recommend getting one and placing in your personal bag. This is incredibly useful in the airport so yo don’y pay $8 for a bottle of water, but also convenient for when you are exploring a new city!
Toiletries: Here is where you need to be really careful as to what you pack. I make sure that whatever liquid products I bring (face wash, moisturizer, etc.) is at or below 3 oz./100mL. I don’t bring a razor with me whenever I travel only with a carry-on or personal bag as it’s not allowed to be brought into the airport (but you can purchase a razor in the airport if you desperately need one). Although, I do bring mini dry shampoos for those days when I’m too busy (let’s be honest – lazy!) to wash my hair while traveling.
Hat: This one greatly depends on the time of year and the location of where you are traveling to. For example, when I went to Switzerland around Christmas time, I wore my winter beanie hat. But when I was in the UK during the spring and summer time, I wore my baseball hat so that the rain wouldn’t get my face (I’d even recommend a baseball hat during winter time and make sure to have your coat’s hood over it too).
Shawl or Blanket: I have had several people swearing by bringing an extra large shawl or a blanket to cover themselves during the chilly flight. I have only recently done this, and now I see why they swear by it! You can honestly use any extra scarf, shawl, or blanket as a way to keep warm during a flight, or you can always use it as a pillow by rolling it up (if you don’t already have a neck pillow).
Extra Purse: I always bring an extra, smaller purse with me for whenever I go on day trips or explore the city. I’ll have this in my personal bag when going through the airport, but once I’m at my destination I will only be carrying the purse around with the bare necessities.
These are all the items you need in your carry-on! As I briefly mentioned, some items may vary depending on where you are going and the time of year. Overall, I think this is a solid basic list of things you need whenever you travel and should always bring on a plane.
I found that whenever I traveled solo as an introvert, I tended to repeat the same behaviors each time. The more self reflection I did and when discussing with my other introverted traveler friends, I discovered that we had similar reactions. When I first started traveling solo, I had no idea how to speak to random people and start an engaging conversation. I’ve worked in retail before so I was comfortable in that setting and knew how to be a social butterfly then, but being in a completely different setting and trying to find ways to entertain myself was not my forte. Therefore, I decided to make a list of all the things that I have done that can help you feel more comfortable and make memorable experiences.
This is a simple list of things that any introvert can do to feel more comfortable on their trip and even to assist in meeting new friends!
***Some of the links in this posts are affiliate links. If you purchase from them, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Bring a (physical) book: There is something about having an actual book in your hands can feel so therapeutic. I personally recommend a physical book due to some travelers’ concerns about their electronics (phone, Kindle, etc.) being stolen while abroad, and the potential of damaging one’s eyes due to the screen light. Most likely there will be a bookstore or even a second-hand store that sell books – even English books if you’re in a non-English speaking country! These tend to be the most affordable option, especially if your hostel doesn’t have a book exchange area.
Listen to a Podcast: One of my favorite things to do while in a new location is to listen to my favorite podcast Missed in History‘s episode about said location. This worked out perfectly when I traveled to Dublin and went to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College while listening to an episode of the podcast by the same name. It provided a lot of context to the artifacts that were not fully discussed during the tour.
Do Something That Scares You: I know that everyone knows this and it has become cliche, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone does not always mean going to the extreme like bungee jumping. It could simply be walking up to a stranger and striking a conversation may be enough or going to a restaurant on your own and having dinner by yourself (which I did during my trip in Switzerland and it was definitely nerve-racking, albeit worthwhile on expanding my comfort zone so I know its okay to do things on my own).
Talk to the Front Desk: No matter how much research you do on things to see and do in whichever place you are going to, you will likely not know where to find a great affordable cup of coffee but the hostel’s front desk workers might! They are there to help you enjoy their city and are happy to help you find the hidden secrets that only the locals know about. So to my introvert friends – take a deep breath and talk to the front desk!
Parks: There are practically parks everywhere in each city that I have been to during my travels. While in Madrid, I visited the Plaza de Oriente in front of the Palacio Real de Madrid where everyone, especially tourists, went to lay out in the sun and enjoy the beautiful weather. These places can be great ways to meet others, like when you hear others speaking your language or a language you know, then you have a reason to start a conversation with them. If chatting to strangers is not your thing, then parks can be nice places to relax and read that book you brought along!
Drinking: It will likely be common knowledge to some of you but new for others – be aware of how much you drink if you are going out with people you just met or on your own. This can simply be so you do not lose important items (phone, passport, money, etc.) or even get taken advantage of while intoxicated. I am not saying that you should not drink – alone or in a group, only to be careful when drinking with people you have recently met.
Find Group activities: I know this may sound counter-intuitive for Introverts, but joining an activity that includes solo travelers and pairs can make a new adventure feel less daunting (if this is their first time traveling alone and they are nervous) or to assist in meeting new people who are in the new boat. Personally, I like joining guided history tours like Sandeman’s New Europe Tours – especially because they are FREE.
Transportation: You would not believe how many times I have taken a bus or train and overheard someone speak English only to start chatting it up with them on where they are from or what they plan on seeing. For me, this was a way to begin feeling more comfortable to start conversations with strangers, and it especially felt more comforting to chat to someone who I knew I had something in common with. Similarly, when my dad lived in Germany and traveled around Europe, he would sit in the Coach section of the train to meet new people and at least hear some fun stories or chat with others. Some of his crazy stories started with meeting someone on the train and then doing an activity with them later on!
Museums: It is always a smart idea to research what museums are near where you will be visiting – if you are someone that enjoys museums, whether about art or history, then you likely already do this. I found out the hard way that not doing some prior research, I was in Zurich for a two days and was unaware that the FIFA Museum was there until two hours before I had to catch my train. As an avid soccer fan this was especially upsetting that I had not done any previous research and discovered information on the museum.
Google Maps: I’m sure many of you do this already, but download the map of the city you are visiting so you know where you are going at all times (especially if you only use WiFi). This can be additionally beneficial if someone comes up to you and asks for directions! I like doing this for when I wander around to get the vibe of a new city and explore great hidden shops, but do not know how to get back to my hostel.
Is there anything that you can think of that I may have missed? Or is there anything that you specifically do as an introvert to make new friends on your trips? I’d love to know more so feel free to leave a comment below!
Hello, I’m Blair and welcome to my travel blog Expedition Introverts!
I decided to start a travel blog as a way to document my travels, along with providing other like-minded people advice on places to stay, things to see, and general travel tips. This will typically be aimed at Introverts, but can be for everyone. My goal is provide multiple types of advice (book recommendations, best food spots, fun things to do alone, etc.) in order to provide a variety of options instead of the same things that you can read somewhere else.
A little about me: I was a Masters student in the UK and traveled around Europe for the past year during my breaks. I hope to visit Asia, Africa, and South America more in the next few years. My favorite destination that I’ve been to so far is Madrid! The next place on my destination wish list is Prague, followed by Vienna.
Keep an eye out for a new blog post every week! Feel free to sign up for notifications on when they go live.