What are the items that you wouldn’t go travelling without? I’m not talking about the standard things, but the stuff that you find important. Or the items that have found to be surprisingly useful and versatile?
This is our list. Some items may only be useful in certain situations, others might only be useful for certain people… There are items missing from this list that I would always take (like at least one good book, book exchanges are available in most hostels, including ours).
Disagree with any items here or have some more suggestions? Just let us know in the comments!
“But I don’t smoke!” I hear you say. It doesn’t matter. A lighter is an incredibly versatile tool. Personally I don’t go anywhere without one. Here’s why.
Ever been craving a beer and found yourself with no bottle opener? Use a lighter! (If you don’t know how to do this yet, you need to learn).
About to go out and have a loose thread dangling from your clothes? Don’t pull it, burn it! Doing this can stop it happening again, whereas pulling it can ruin your clothes.
A hot guy/girl comes up to you looking for a lighter and you actually have one… instant ice breaker!
Stuck in a hostel where the stovetops don’t light themselves? Use your lighter! Not necessary at our place by the way…
Found yourself with a hot guy/girl and are in need of some emergency romance? How are you going to light those 100 candles on that beach without a lighter?
Ok so the last one is a bit lame but you see what I mean?
Ok so this might not be something everyone would take. I used to laugh at this myself. Until I took one with me (thanks to my beautiful girlfriend for opening my eyes). Revelation!
I’m not talking about the new squishy ones that take up loads of space even when not being used. I’m talking about the old-school blow-up ones.
These things kick ass. You know those long flights where you can’t get comfortable and the guy behind you has his knees all up in your back, stopping you putting your chair back? Blow up your neck pillow and slip it around your neck and you’ll be nodding off before you know it. Neck pillows can be a true sanity saviour on long flights. Ok they’re not perfect, but they can really improve comfort in uncomfortable spots and are easily portable (after your flight/bus/boat/camel ride/space shuttle, just deflate and off you go!).
Personally I’ve never taken one of these travelling with me but I know many people who do and swear by them. They can make life much easier in many situations, fumbling around in your bag in your dorm at night, reading without disturbing your room-mates, going to the toilet in the middle of the night in the jungle, barbecuing on a beach in the dark, you name it!
More important in hot countries than cold ones, but can save you a ton of pain and misery. Once you have spent an evening sitting outside being sucked dry by mosquitos, you’ll turn to the insect repellent and never turn back. OK, it doesn’t smell great, but who cares when it saves you from days of itching?
Vacuum Bags & Watertight Bags
Vacuum bags make packing much easier and allow you to cram more stuff into a smaller bag. They also help to keep your clothes clean and dry in case of shampoo explosions or bag soakings. Same goes for the waterproof bags, carry your electronics, passport and travel documents in here in case of downpour, massive waves or a capsizing boat (you never know).
Deck of Cards
Best. Boredom. Killer. Ever. A deck of cards is a brilliant thing to take with you. A game of cards can help break the ice with a new group of people, can help save your sanity when you’re stuck in an airport waiting for your delayed flight, or help you while away the day on a beautiful beach. Just don’t try and learn card tricks to show people how cool you are, it doesn’t usually go down well (unless you’re spectacularly good).
Needle & Thread (alternatively, Duct Tape)
Bag ripped? Sew it up! Split jeans? Sew it up! Even very basic sewing skills can save your bacon in a tricky situation. Plus, if you need to put a new sim card in your iPhone, the needle comes in very handy. The lazy alternative is duct tape, which is possibly even more useful (you can even make cups out of it in an emergency). I doubt you can use duct tape to replace your sim card though (send me a video if you managed it somhow).
This might seem like a bizarre suggestion and it’s not necessary in most countries, but if you’re ever going somewhere where you’re a bit unsure about the local medical situation, maybe take your own clean needles with you in your first aid kit, in case of medical emergency. Better to be safe than sorry! By the way, this really isn’t necessary if you’re coming anywhere in Australia, medical care here is pretty awesome.
Emergency Cash Stash
You know the waterproof bags we mentioned earlier? Keep some emergency cash in a waterproof bag wrapped tight and safe and stored somewhere unexpected and away from the rest of your important stuff. Stashing it somewhere like under the inner sole of your shoe may sound stupid, but could save you in the event that all your stuff gets stolen or you lose your wallet… We would suggest keeping some USD as your emergency stash (unless you are just staying in one country, in which case just use local currency).
I know it sounds sappy. But at the end of your travels wouldn’t you like to have something to remember everyone by and you can look through it and remember all the good times? I’m not talking about writing a diary, but maybe get everybody you meet to leave you a little message in your journal before they disappear from your life. You will meet some amazing people and maybe won’t be in touch with them ever again, so make sure you get something to remember them by while you can!