9 Unexpectedly Helpful Things To Pack In Your Suitcase

For many of us, packing is the most stressful part of travel planning.

The struggle between being prepared for anything and the desire to travel lightly gives us a headache, and the things travelers often stress the most about tend to be the least important.

At the very least, you need your passport, money and travel documents.

If you forget your clothes, you can wash whatever you're wearing once you get there. You can buy a toothbrush, soap and a comb.

But there are a few unexpected things I always make sure to put in my bag before I head to the airport.

1. Ginger

Ginger teabags and ginger candy can be a lifesaver.

It's been used for centuries to treat all kinds of ailments, including the common cold or a nervous stomach.

Sucking on a ginger candy can help fight off nausea caused by a rocky boat or a stuffy bus traveling too fast down a dirt road.

Nabi Tang

2. Carabiners

They have a cool name, and they hold stuff together.

When you're not using them, you can leave them hanging on your backpack or suitcase.

3. A braided leather belt

The braided belt may not be the coolest accessory, but it's among the most useful for the simple fact that you can make it as tight as you want.

Besides holding your pants up, it can be used to secure bags or other items, make a tourniquet or fashion a handle.

4. Drain stopper

You never know when you might need to bathe somewhere not meant for bathing.

A drain stopper doesn't take up much packing space and it's really useful if you need to bathe in a public sink.

Raymond Forbes LLC

5. A hoodie

Take a hoodie in case you get cold on a train or in an airport.

Even if you're going somewhere tropical, a hoodie is useful for stuffing with laundry to create a makeshift pillow.

There's also something really comforting about having your favorite hoody around.

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6. A scarf

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A light scarf can be a fashion accessory to distract from the fact you've been wearing the same thing for several days, but it can be so much more: a bathing suit cover, a makeshift towel.

It can also be used to cover your head or shoulders if you want to enter a religious building that requires modest dress.

In really hot climates, get the scarf wet and wrap it loosely around your neck to keep you cool.

A scarf can also be used as a sling if you get injured, or a mask if you find yourself in a dust storm.

7. A cheap wristwatch

Having a cheap watch that has no sentimental value can be really useful if you ever find yourself without cash and in need of a ride or assistance.

You can trade it or give it away as a gift. You can also use a wristwatch to tell time if your phone dies, and an analog watch can double as a compass.

Boris Jovanovic

8. A pack of cigarettes

Even if you don't smoke, a lot of people do.

If you find yourself without enough cash for a ride to the next town, you may be able to buy a ride with a cigarette or two.

You may also be able to appease an official who wants a bribe. This, of course, isn't an ideal situation that you should encourage, but it's just the way things work in some places.

9. An old cell phone

If you use your cell phone as both a phone and a camera, it may be a good idea to take an old cell phone so you don't run your battery down taking pictures and video.

You'll probably be taking more pictures than normal while you're traveling, which can eat up your battery.

It's not always easy to find a place to charge up. Apps like Instagram and YouTube can use a lot of battery power, so try to take pictures or video on one phone and wait to post when you get back to a wifi network.

Use the other phone like you usually would to call and text your friends.

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This article originally appeared on the author's personal blog.