You’ll need these no matter where you go next. Packing just the right tools for the trip will ensure you have a great travel experience!
An alternative to being the creepy stranger who hands out candy. You’ll meet a lot of curious kids when you travel, and many of them will ask for a treat (since you, o stranger in a faraway land, must be carrying something tasty). Balloons are a nice way to show some kindness, kids always love them, and they don’t cause cavities! If packing them with you isn’t possible, see if you can pick some up at your destination.
2. Waterproof Bags
Pick up some sturdy waterproof bags from your local sport or boating store. They’re handy no matter where you’re traveling – whether you’re worried about sweating through your travel documents, protecting your paper money from floods in the hostel bathroom, or braving unexpected weather. Freezer bags will do in a pinch, but they’re not as sturdy as the ones made for boaters.
3. A book to read & then trade
While many people read on a tablet nowadays, packing a good old paperback with you is worth taking up the space in your bag. Not only do you have a book to curl up with in the absence of a charged battery, but many hotels & guest houses have a book shelf with a “Leave One/ Take One” policy. You can also just swap books with other travellers – it’s a great conversation starter on a train!
4. A Drain Plug
Yes, a rubber plug, like you’d find in the sink. Except you won’t find them in the sink – not in most average hostels or hotels around the world. The day you want to fill the sink, take a bath, wash your socks, or even just keep out the crawlies, you’ll be very happy you brought your own plug.
5. A Lock
If you’re at all in doubt about the safety of your bags when leaving them in your room, on the roof of a bus, or even just beside you as you nap in the train station (you rugged traveller, you) a lock is valuable peace of mind. Our favourite kind is a wire combination lock you can get a sporting goods or hardware stores. Stash your bags in a wardrobe and then lace your wire lock through the handles to secure it. The bendy, reinforced wire is much more versatile than a standard padlock, although padlocks and combination locks are useful for luggage.
6. A Large Scarf/Shawl
Step outside of the Western world and you’ll find that a large piece of fabric like a shawl is used everywhere, by men and women, for warmth, clothing, and protection. Find something in an easy to care for and resilient fabric like cotton in any colour or pattern that suits you. Use it for practical purposes like a privacy curtain, blanket, or towel, use it to protect your head & shoulders in the sun, and even tie it in to a makeshift bag or sling if you need to. For women, a way to cover your head & torso is essential when visiting certain places. Never leave home without a shawl!
We love ginger as a solution for motion sickness, traveler’s belly, or those first few days when your system is adjusting to travel. It is equally as effective as chemical anti-nauseants, but it doesn’t come with the nasty side effect of feeling like a zombie. It’s also suitable for pregnant women, and children. Get the easy to swallow tablets of all natural ginger if you don’t like the taste of the ginger remedies you can find all over the world, like the classic hot ginger/lemon/honey.
8. A Headphone Splitter
If you are traveling with a buddy, packing a headphone splitter can allow you to both listen to your tunes at the same time. Take turns making playlists for long journeys – everyone loves a mixed tape! – and listen to it together. Sharing your tunes with locals is also a great way to get beyond the language barrier, and a splitter will let your new friend use their own headphones (have you looked at the inside of your ear buds after 6 weeks of hard travel? Don’t. It’s not something you want to share).
9. A Pack of Cards
You can play a thousand different games or more with a single deck of cards, it doesn’t take up much space, and you’re bound to find someone who can teach you a new game you’d never heard of before. A card game can help alleviate the wait at the airport, pass the time on a long train ride, or even just help you relax at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
10. The Road Treat
Not “a” road treat. You can get those anytime. We’re talking about “The” Road Treat. This is an item that you make use of when you need a real boost. The Road Treat brings you back from the edge of travel fatigue when you are physically and mentally in need of it most. Instant coffee, your favourite candy, or just something small that you carry from home that gives you a bit of comfort when you’re feeling road weary. It will bring you back down to earth, so you can keep exploring it.
What do you never leave home without? Do you have packing advice for new travellers? Tell us in the Comments!