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Most seasoned travellers tend to pack light. After all, who wants to be weighed down with a load of luggage on a trip? But what these veterans lack in quantity they make up in quality, bringing only the most important essentials.

What can savvy travellers really not live without? We took to Quora.com, an online question and answer community, to find out what common items veteran jetsetters pack that rookies do not and got a suitcase full of answers.

Chloe Brady’s seven tips, including the advice to “pack half as many clothes and twice as much cash as you think you’ll need", were popular among Quora users (who can give points to their favourite answers). Among the practical items, she included an ATM card, a laptop in lieu of lugging guidebooks, a corkscrew, bandages and pain reliever.

Thanks to a few incidents where he needed to change a tyre on a rental car, Dan Pepper said he never travels without a black nylon raincoat with a pouch. He uses the versatile item as a blanket on the plane, a pillow when it’s packed in its pouch, and of course, as a jacket to protect clothes from the elements.

An answer that came up again and again was a photocopy of your passport. This essential piece of documentation will not replace the real thing, but many users said having it handy can save time in emergency situations. An extra pair of contact lenses or glasses if you wear them was another highly rated essential; after all, what fun is travelling if you cannot see where you are?

When it comes to simple and practical, the lowly towel had plenty of votes for its versatility as a blanket, pillow, sling and sunshade, and many users quoted Douglas Adams’ book, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as further evidence of its powers: “A towel… is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have… Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

Among the more useful suggestions was one offered by Matt Christensen, who always carries antibacterial handwipes to freshen up after a plane ride or use in place of deodorant in a pinch. Regular international flyer George Kellerman admitted that bringing a supply of sinus rinse, also known as a neti pot, on every trip sounded crazy, but flushing his sinuses everyday seemed to keep travel colds away.

Answerers Katherine Maher and Dheera Venkatraman suggested duct tape, which fellow user Ryan Petersen took issue with. “These travel veterans are creating a list 500 items long. That's just bad advice,” he said. “You don't need to carry duct tape! Seriously, I use duct tape like once every three years in my real life, the last thing I'm going to do is bring it on vacation.”

He suggested packing almost nothing, and buying what you need along the way to make travelling more unexpected and fun. Kerry Brown agreed, saying as long as you have your passport and credit card, you can get almost anything else on the road.

The common thread of these wanderers was a willingness to be prepared for anything – the true mark of a savvy traveller, suitcase full or empty.

What are your packing tips? Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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