10 Items You Will Never Regret Bringing on a Trip

Getting ready for an upcoming trip is exciting. But when you make your packing list, stick to the essentials. There's no need to blow money on heavy, bulky gear you'll never use. Paring down your packing can also save you the expense and inconvenience of an overweight bag. Here are 10 necessities I've never regretted bringing on a trip.

1. Earplugs

Sleeping poorly can wreck your mood and put a serious damper on your travel fun or the business meetings you have to get to. I always make sure I have several pairs of earplugs to help me get the shut-eye I need, whether I'm on a plane, a bus, or in an unexpectedly loud hotel room. When it comes to sleeping well, you're always better off being prepared, especially if you're a light sleeper. (See also: Packing Light? Don't Forget These 5 Must-Haves)

2. Passport photocopy

You don't even have to purchase this item. All it takes is a little preparation before you leave and you can save yourself from a potential major hassle while you're away. Make a couple of photocopies of your passport's main page (the one with your picture on it), and any other pages that might be relevant — for example, if you've had to get a visa in advance, make a copy of that page, too.

Leave one copy with a friend or relative — whoever is most likely to not lose it. You'll want to have a copy for yourself, too. Some hotels require you to leave a passport at the front desk during your stay, but if they'll allow it, leave a photocopy instead so that you don't ever lose possession of your original document. As a backup, upload a digital copy of the passport to a secure cloud storage app such as Google Drive. For extra security, you can password protect any file on Google Drive. Upload a photo of your passport on your smartphone, too, in case you need to access it offline. Just be sure to lock your phone.

Consider also making a photocopy of your driver's license, credit, and debit cards. For security reasons you may not want to upload all of the information to the internet, but you can keep a paper copy in a secure place away from your wallet. Lock it in your room safe if one is available. At the very least, note the international and local bank customer service numbers for your card accounts, so that you can easily call them if a card gets blocked, lost, or stolen. (See also: What to Do if You Don't Have Your ID at the Airport)

3. Plug adapters

Most countries outside North America use electrical outlets featuring different kinds of plug inputs. If you're traveling often to different countries, it's worth investing in one or two universal plug adapters that can be used in multiple countries. That way, you'll never have to worry about which country-specific adapter to pack and you'll be able to charge all of your accessories from anywhere in the world.

Voltage is a separate issue. While the electrical supply in the U.S. is 110-120v, many other countries use 220-240v. Computers and smartphones are usually dual-voltage so you don't have to worry about them. But many styling products, such as hair dryers or flat irons, are not. Be sure you check before you bring them along, so you don't inadvertently fry them when you plug them in overseas. You may want to buy a dual-voltage styling tool, such as the Salona Professional flat iron, which also comes with plug adapters.

It's also worth contacting your hotel in advance to see if it provides hair dryers. That will save you from having to lug yours along. (See also: 7 Easy Ways to Save on Travel Gear)

4. Bottle opener

Is there anything worse than buying a bottle of local wine and then realizing you have no way to open it? Sure, there are plenty of hacks to open one without a bottle opener, but wouldn't it be easier to not have to try them?

5. Swiss army knife

There are endless uses for this travel standby. Maybe you'll use your Swiss army knife at an impromptu picnic when you need a way to slice the Swiss cheese. And those mini scissors are great for trimming fingernails on the go. Bonus: These handy little tools often have a bottle opener attached, so you can cross two items off this list at once.

Just be sure not to pack this one in your carry on, or you'll have a problem at security and have to ditch your tool.

6. Travel credit card

It is a 99 percent sure thing that you will be spending on hotels, restaurants, and activities. It's much better to get rewarded for your travel expenses, which helps you earn free travel for the future.

A good travel card will have no foreign transactions fees, and will come with travel perks such as free checked bags, free rental car insurance, and trip delay and cancellation coverage. (See also: 6 Types of Travel Insurance Credit Cards Include That You Didn't Know About)

7. Almonds and dried fruit

Never let your blood sugar drop while on the go. These snacks are good for the plane and even better for any emergency situations. They are both healthy and filling, so you don't have to bring a lot. If you get stuck on the tarmac for a few hours, or lost on your way to the hotel, you'll have something to keep you going and energized. (See also: Eat These 6 Foods to Stay Healthy While Traveling)

8. Medicines

Stave off muscle pains and headaches by bringing along some ibuprofen. Be cautious with gel caps, since they will melt in hot climates.

Bring Benadryl for allergies or as a sleep aid in a pinch, Dramamine for motion sickness on speeding buses or rocking boats, and a bit of Pepto Bismol for those meals that just don't quite agree with your stomach.

To prevent minor cuts from becoming raging infections, travel with Neosporin or another anti-bacterial cream, and bandages to keep the wound clean. You may think your cut will heal on its own, but you may be surprised at how quickly a wound can fester, especially in tropical climates.

9. Journal

The moments are fleeting when you travel, but what you write about them isn't. Make a commitment to write a little bit each day about your trip. You can do this on an electronic device to save space, but it's also helpful to have a small notebook or travel journal as a visual reminder to write. It never hurts to have a little paper on you anyway.

Once you get home, you'll be able to see your reflections and share details you might have otherwise forgotten with family and friends. And just imagine finding your scribblings a few years from now.

10. Comfortable shoes

The whole "beauty is pain" adage doesn't count when you're out of your normal ZIP code. Comfortable shoes will save your feet multiple times while you're traveling. You can go anywhere, on foot, without paying for it later in the form of blisters. My favorite travel footwear is Lems Shoes.

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10 Items You Will Never Regret Bringing on a Trip

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