Here’s my list of super handy items that you might not think to pack that can make your trip so much easier! I never set off without these things now. They make a big difference, and take up hardly any space or weight in your bag.
1. Water filter bottle
As we all know, you can’t travel through airport security with a bottle of water (or any liquid over 100ml), but you can travel through with an empty bottle and fill it up on the other side. Whilst you can use any old plastic bottle, you can buy a bottle with a filter that allows you to safely filter any water into clean drinking water. That way you no longer have to worry about paying for bottled water, using a new plastic bottle every time you purchase water (the environment won’t thank you!), or going thirsty if you’re in the middle of nowhere! I use a Water-to-go bottle, which allow you to purchase additional filters, and ensures clean and safe water from any source, whether it be the other side of airport security, or the other side of the world. The freedom of filling up from a bathroom tap and knowing it’s safe is worth the price tag. Plus, it’s also much better for the environment than single-use plastic bottles! Win-win!
2. First aid kit
No traveller should ever leave home without a first aid kit, you just never know when it might be needed. I always take a small one with me, even on weekend breaks. Keep the essentials with you just-in-case and avoid having to find the local pharmacy and explain what you need in an unfamiliar language. The longer the holiday or the more remote or specific your trip is, then maybe think about taking extra items with you to cover emergencies. If you’re touring with a guide they should have access to medical services and supplies on them too. It’s also useful to know the emergency services number for the country you are travelling in, and have a plan to get help if you’re going to be in a remote area where mobile signal may be a problem.
Ibuprofen (headaches or inflammation)
Aspirin (headaches or long-haul flights)
Wound cleansing wipes (clean up any cuts and scrapes)
Plasters (keep infections out of open wounds and broken skin, or stop blisters)
Imodium or similar (you know why…)
3. Micro-fiber towel
I never pack a normal towel when I travel, as when you only have limited luggage space it takes up valuable room. Hotels always provide towels right? Well just in case they don’t (or if you might need an extra one for swimming or laying on the beach) pop a micro-fiber one in your bag. They are lightweight and dry really quickly – the perfect travel companion. Don’t get caught short!
You can buy these in lots of different shops, but here’s a link to a selection at Kathmandu: http://www.kathmandu.com.au/accessories/health/towels.html
Half spoon, half fork… this might sound silly, but it’s worth throwing one in your carry-on bag, or even just a regular plastic spoon and fork. They weigh almost nothing and sometimes you are just so hungry that being able to eat a pot noodle, yoghurt, porridge or soup makes life seem so much better!
5. Plastic bags
This seems basic, but I always take a few plastic bags of various sizes with me. They might not be glamorous, but they sure are practical! I take small, clear sandwich bags to use for my small liquids at the airport, and these are also really useful for popping your phone and/or camera in when it suddenly rains torrentially and you’re worried about water getting in your electronics! Larger shopping bags are useful for putting wet swimwear in (so you can still enjoy the beach and pool on your last day) or to pop your muddy shoes in after that wet walk in the rainforest. Bags are also useful for separating your dirty laundry from the rest of your clothes so you’re not relying on the old sniff test to see what you’ve already worn (yuck!). Don’t underestimate the usefulness of something so simple and cheap!
6. Anti-bacterial wipes
Small, lightweight and a life saver! Literally! Ok, so that might be a bit of an overreaction, but these wipes are a must for when there is no water or soap to wash your hands after using the toilet (backpackers in South America and Asia, you know what I mean!), or just for when they are a bit grubby from clinging onto trees on your jungle walk, swimming in that local river or sandy from lounging on the beach. Whatever the reason, clean those hands up and happily tuck into those chips with germ-free fingers!
7. Luggage scales
We’ve all been there – at the airport check-in desk, excited for your trip away, and you’re asked to place your luggage on the scales. You hold your breath… is it overweight? Well take away the tension by packing some small digital luggage scales. Make sure before you leave for the airport that you are within the limits and make check-in slightly more relaxing! I always have these when I travel with checked-in baggage as I’m always near the limit! I take them with me to make sure I haven’t acquired too many souvenirs by the time I’m heading home, and if I have, then I ditch the toiletries. You can buy shampoo anywhere right?!
The scales linked below are similar to mine which I’ve had for about 4 years. I just buy a new battery when needed and I’ve never had to pay excess baggage fees.
8. Laundry detergent/Travel Soap
Useful for when you only want to wash a few items in the sink to freshen something up without needing to pay for (and wait for) laundry. Get an eco-friendly one to leave as little impact as possible on the local environment – we don’t like nasty chemicals!
I haven’t used these myself, so I can’t vouch for the quality, but they sound very interesting – dry soap leaves so no leakage, sounds ideal! http://www.seatosummit.com.au/products/outdoor/trek-travel-pocket-soaps/?ref=travelling-light
9. Universal sink plug
So you’ve got your laundry detergent, but there’s no plug! Don’t worry, just carry one with you for when you need to rinse that bikini, fill up the basin for washing your face, or have a nice hot bath! Super cheap and worth chucking in the case.
Here’s the one I use: https://www.amazon.co.uk/JILTON-UNIVERSAL-SEATING-RUBBER-TRAVEL/dp/B007IW2TEI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466640602&sr=8-2&keywords=travel+sink+plug
10. Clothes line
You’ve rinsed your clothes, come back from the pool or the sea, or been caught short in a downpour, and there’s nowhere practical to hang your clothes out to dry! Ok, so you could use some string. But the clothes line I have has two hooks and suction cups so you can attach it to glass, and it’s twisted so you can tuck your clothes in to make sure your clothes aren’t going to blow away if you hang it outside. This is one of the most useful things to travel with, I use mine all the time. Just hook it anywhere in your room to create an instant washing line. Easy-peasy!
This one isn’t quite as good as my one (which is unfortunately discontinued) but it’s still pretty good: http://www.kathmandu.com.au/travel-clothes-line-v2-black.html
I hope that makes your travels that little bit easier. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed off that you find useful to travel with, maybe I haven’t thought of it yet, and I’ve love to know!
Thanks for reading and travel safe!