Travel essentials you can't afford to do without.

Allianz Travel Insurance
Thanks to our brand partner, Allianz Travel Insurance

Unfortunately, we’re not all travellers like Beyoncé, dropping dough on private jets and 100-star accommodations, without a second thought.

For most of us, there’s a strict budget to consider when it comes to holidaying abroad. Cheap flights and package accommodation aside, there are a few items every traveller needs that shouldn’t be compromised because of cost.

Here are the essentials you should pay a little more for, in order to have the best time away.


I can assure you, nothing is more embarrassing than the zipper on your dodgy suitcase breaking as it comes around the baggage carousel, spilling your underwear across everyone’s luggage. Learn from my mistakes, people. Whether it’s a duffel or a rolling suitcase, you shouldn’t skimp on quality luggage.

This is especially so if it is a backpack. Spend some extra dollars on one that is waterproof, has solid back support and strong, adjustable straps. Otherwise you’ll be spending your dollars on masseurs, physios and chiropractors when you get back home with a ruined body.


This one seems like a big old “DUH” but it is baffling how many people still consider travel insurance as an optional extra. Comprehensive travel insurance should be the first purchase you make to cover for potential cancellation fees and lost deposits. The cost of medical support overseas can leave you with crippling debt if you’re not insured. It’s all part of Murphy’s law, jinxing magic and just the annoying power of the universe – the majority of the time everything will be fine, but the one time you don’t cover yourself something will go wrong.

Wherever you’re travelling and whatever your needs may be, Allianz travel insurance is an excellent option. They have a range of options to provide the right cover for your budget and have access to a global medical network along with dedicated assistance staff in 34 countries. If something happens on your travels you have access to an Australian-based call centre 24/7.

Things to pack: insurance. Image via iStock.


While you can get around your hometown in a pair of cheap flats, keep in mind that your holiday will almost always involve more (and more intensive) walking than your day-to-day fare. Nothing ruins a great day of sight seeing like blisters, sore heels or a sole-hole getting your socks soaked. Invest in a solid pair of sneakers, boots or joggers and ensure they have good arch support.


A local SIM card

No, I am not suggesting you sit on Facebook instead of enjoying the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. But having a reliable and regular Internet connection when you’re out and about overseas is unbeatable.

Before I started picking up a SIM card as soon as I got off the plane, I relied on screen shots of Google Maps directions, which would inevitably end in tears. I usually ended up spending more time locating a Starbucks for Wi-Fi to figure out public transport options than I did at my destinations. Spending a little bit extra on a local sim card with a data package will save so much time and effort when it comes to your daily adventures.

"I relied on screen shots of Google Maps directions, which would inevitably end in tears." Image via iStock.


Of course, of course your travels are aaaaall about the memories however it is nice to be able to look back on the highlights from time to time. But when those memories are blurry, out of focus and lacking a good zoom function it can be pretty disappointing.

With the smartphones on the market these days it’s unlikely you’ll ever be travelling with a crap camera. But even the professional level ones are quite reasonably priced and very worth the investment.


This one is contentious; there may be many who would disagree with me here. After years of travelling I would strongly suggest shelling out on the better transport option when it comes to the crunch. But hell, even I don’t follow my own advice, just last year my transit to Madrid took a record 40-hours thanks to stop overs in Brisbane, Singapore and Zurich just because I was desperate for a cheaper fare.

Instead of choosing the broken down bus followed by a rickshaw and a five-kilometre hike, pay for the more expensive but ultimately easier option. You’ll have fewer stories about sleeping in train stations to regale the grand-kids with but you’ll have more of your sanity intact. I’ve slept in enough train stations to tell you this.

While we're on the topic, here are some of our favourite Instagram travel snaps from @thetravellinglight: