Not including clothes and personal toiletries items (‘cause you can’t go naked and you should probably use soap every once in a while), here are the top 10 items I have found most useful during our first 7 months of travel.
1. Packable backpack
I have the Outlander lightweight travel backpack. I love having a day pack to use without having to dump everything out of a bag I am using to transport my stuff. This one packs up tiny and has held up surprisingly well considering how lightweight it is and how much use it has gotten. In addition to regular use as a daypack, I have used it for several side trips where I left my big bag behind. It is not meant to the carry heavy loads that I subjected it to (I used every gram of my 7 kg allowance when we flew from Bangkok to Krabi). After that trip a small rip formed at the seam, but I easily sewed it up. My only complaint is that the top pocket zipper gets stuck in the zipper cover. Other than that I love it.
2. Sewing kit
No need for a fancy kit. A few needles plus black and white thread will do. From holes in backpacks to ripped seams in harem pants (those things are not very sturdy), it seems like every week I am sewing something.
3. Wet wipes
Wet wipes, baby wipes, whatever you call them, are great for when you step in something nasty, get sticky hands from eating pineapple, or drip curry on your pants
These are easy to pick up along the way if you are traveling in Asia. They are great for keeping warm on a bus or train with cold A/C, to use as a beach towel or cover up, as a sheet in guesthouse that doesn’t provide top sheets.
5. Charcoal tablets
You can’t avoid getting at least a little bit of traveler’s sickness as you get used to food in a new country. Charcoal tablets absorb the bad stuff and let it pass right through. It’s much better than imodium which keeps all the bad stuff in. Unless you are sick and have to go on a long bus ride. In which case, it is better to take imodium.
6. Packing cubes
I love these. I have the ebags slim set. They fit perfectly in my pack and are great for keeping my clothes organized. I use one for tops, one for bottoms, and one for undies, socks, and bathing suit. I fill them pretty full and they keep my stuff compact. Rand doesn’t love them. His clothes don’t really fit in this size. He would prefer stuff sacks.
7. Luggage scale
I almost didn’t bring a luggage scale, but I am glad I did. So far we haven’t had anyone weigh our carry on when they had to be under 7 kg. Our checked bags were weighed when we purchased two 20 kg checked bag allowances on our Asia Air flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. A luggage scale might not be totally necessary, but I like the peace of mind it provides.
8. Safety pins
Long term travel provides all kinds of uses for safety pins. I use safety pins to keep my messanger bag closed (because I stuff it too full for the velcro to meet). And to keep me from exposing myself in my button down shirt that gaps open at the chest.
9. Tissue packets
Public toilets in Asia often don’t have toilet paper. It’s best to keep a tissue packet on you at all times. Luckily these are easy to find everywhere, so you can buy more as needed.
10. Ziplock bags
These are not easily found in Asia, so bring some from home. They are great for separating items in your pack, keeping your phone or camera dry if it rains while you are out, and putting wet stuff in to keep the rest of the stuff in your pack dry. I also collect grocery sacks along the way. I use them to keep dirty undies in between laundry days, cover dirty shoes in my pack, and wrap larger toiletry items so they don’t spill all over the rest of the stuff in my pack.
What are your favorite travel items?
*This post contains Amazon affliate links. If you click through and buy something (anything, not just what I’ve linked to), I get a few pennies at no cost to you.