What is in your Travel Go Bag?

There are many frequent travelers in my life. After yesterday’s incident at the Istanbul airport, I asked them what they have in their travel bags. (My thoughts are with the families and travelers affected by this horrible event.) As the night turned to morning, our collective list of items grew. One friend encouraged me to share it more widely so that others are prepared. While there may be many lists online, I am sharing because brilliant travelers in my network may have some new ideas for you. Frankly, I am going shopping this weekend to fill in some of my ‘go bag gaps.’

Traveling is better when you are prepared, especially with all the variables at play. Some of this won’t help in a crisis but maybe having a plan will keep things calmer:


  • Local Currency for destination
  • Currency for the stop-over
  • Back-up currency (eg. USD, Euro, Pounds)
  • Back up credit card, clear card for emergencies

There is no guarantee that the airport will have working ATMs. Plus, people can be targeted for thief at machines. After some fun traveling in Kenya (Bank cards would not work for some dumb reason), I try to carry USD to exchange in case of emergencies.


  • spare medicine, ibuprofen
  • Bandaids
  • tensor bandage
  • paracord
  • metallic pen (glass breaker)
  • Bring a change of basic cloths (undergarments)
  • Have a ‘backup wallet’ with expired cards, pointless cards and small currency. (why – To give up if robbed.)
  • protein bars
  • water purification tablets, http://lifestraw.com/
  • Deck of cards
  • foldable water bottles (e.g. http://hydrapak.com )
  • antiviral face mask
  • nitrile gloves
  • a knifeless multitool
  • handwipes
  • PVC insulation tape
  • selection of cableties
  • pocket mask (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_mask)


  • headlight, flashlight
  • spare batteries
  • 1 – 2 Working SIM cards with international roaming where ever you go
  • Backup phone
  • Global Charger
  • 1 – 2 backup power chargers
  • charger(s) for my portable and mobile devices
  • offline map tools like OSMAnd


  • Contact your family/friends at each stopover, destination
  • Use social media at each stop. Some consider this a privacy risk, but then more people could help in case of an emergency so I default to posting just in case
  • Try to not check your bag. Pack light, pack smart.
  • Review the airport map before you go. Look like you ‘know’ where you are going. Chin up, no paper maps or travel guides
  • Have an emergency plan, share with your friends/family. Make sure they know all your flight details
  • Mediate on the plane on the tarmac. Be as calm as possible when you land
  • And keep spare money in your shoe or Bra
  • In some places, I keep a note in my bra with the address, emergency contact numbers.
  • paper copies of all your documents separate from the originals.
  • USB stick with passport and other documents copies
  • I also backup my computer’s data and carry the backup with me.
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Scarf- it is also a towel, a blanket
  • earplugs

Um, nitrile gloves and buttons as flashlights. Friends, you are amazing

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  1. All brilliant suggestions! Along with length of paracord I would add reel of PVC insulation tape and selection of cableties (zipties) and power socket adaptors:)

  2. This list is so complete and perfect I’ll add it to my Favourites and use it anytime I travel. Thanks! :)

  3. Thanks. I should add that for humanitarians there are more strict guidelines, which I hope their security officers guide them on. For the rest of us, best to prepare.

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