15 Essential Items You Shouldn't Leave Without
1. A journal and pen – While you may be lucky enough to have a tablet or other small computer to type stuff on you might not always have battery or desire for electronics to get damaged, there is nothing quite like relaxing on a hammock with your pen and paper in hand to write down all you have done and all those little things that made you smile or think of someone back home. You can also communicate with people more easily like asking for directions or playing simple games, being able to read it back when you get home is more valuable than you realise now.
2. Hand sanitizer/wet wipes – Hygiene is important when you are travelling, you don’t want to be struck down with a bug half way through your adventure of a lifetime. Hand sanitizer is a must when you are handling food or when you are going to the bathroom. Just remember to use whatever you take for a week or so before you go to ensure that it won’t irritate your skin.
3. A guidebook – You are going to need some ideas, inspiration, hints and tips for the places you intend to go, getting a heads up on the culture and what is frowned upon will make your trip that little bit easier and give you confidence to try new things.
4. Comfy, appropriate shoes – It is so important to get this right as you are not traveling the world to sit on your bum when you get there. If you want to go exploring then take a more substantial pair of walking shoes with you just in case you have the opportunity to go through jungles or other more remote areas where it could be slippy and dangerous.
5. A watch – Ideally one that tells you the date as well as the time and an alarm with a light can come in handy. It should be hard wearing and easy to adjust the time according to your destination. It doesn’t have to go on your wrist; you can attach it to your bag or clothes (if you want to avoid the wrist watch tan line).
6. A secure bag – Your bag needs to be relatively small (around 50Litres should be more than enough) but most importantly secure. You need to be able to handle it on your own for a long time; even if you have a travel buddy you might not always be able to sit next to each other when you are travelling. Tip: Cable ties are a great, inexpensive way of securing your bag for longer periods of time (such as to your bus or train seat), lightweight, more discreet and more versatile than a padlock and very difficult to break without a knife, bear in mind if they are willing to use a knife, chances are they will just cut through the fabric of the bag.
7. Head Torch – Simply allows you to see where you are going, and what you are doing while in shared rooms without disturbing other sleeping travellers by putting the main room light on. Also ideal during power cuts, of which there can be many a day in remote areas.
8. Duct tape – With this (and a bit of initiative) you can fix pretty much anything. Be it a strap on your bag, a faulty bed stand, your shoes or even yourself.
9. Basic first aid & medication – You don’t need to be able to perform surgery at the side of a dusty track but it is useful to have antiseptic wipes in abundance, along with plasters, blister plasters, tweezers and safety pins. Painkillers, rehydration aids and anti-histamines are a good idea for emergency medication should you need it.
10. Sarong – A great option for guys and girls, a sarong can be used as a towel, a blanket, a dress, a skirt, a shawl, a headscarf, a laundry bag, a groceries bag, a sling and so much more.
11. Dry bags – These allow you to keep your bag organised and everything in its rightful place, they have a little compression to help you get everything in your bag if you are struggling for space, and if you have done your washing but it hasn’t quite dried in time you can still put it in your bag inside a dry bag and it won’t wet the rest of your stuff.
12. Sleeping bag liner – This ensures you always have your own bedding with you, you may come across some places that don’t quite live up to your standards of cleanliness, using a sleeping bag liner can give you a more peaceful night sleep.
13. Eye mask – These are great for travelling as they block out any light interference that might disturb your sleep. Great for using in shared rooms, and long journeys as well as relaxing on the beach.
14. Travel Towel – A highly versatile piece of kit and can be used as a towel, a beach rug, a blanket and so on. They dry very quickly and are usually anti-bacterial to stop any odours building up on them.
15. Water purification – Safety is paramount when travelling and it is highly important to keep yourself healthy and hydrated. Water purification will help you ensure that your water is clean and safe to drink if you are at all uncertain, it will also serve as a handy back up should bottled water become unavailable.