15 February 2012

The list of things I always travel with doesn't necessarily get longer, it just gets more sensible. This isn't an extensive list of what I take (obviously I always take clean pants and a toothbrush), it's the stuff I find really useful when I go away.

  1. Gaffa tape. A new discovery for me - proper travellers have been using it for some time. It mends everything, and can be used to seal a rubbish plug so you can have a bath.
  2. Dental floss. I've mentioned this before (and been laughed at because of it) but it's still holding my backpack together after 14 years! Also I hate having bits of food in my teeth.
  3. Waiter's friend (corkscrew/bottle-opener). Another fairly recent discovery. I like to have in-room picnics when I travel (generally with leftover food) and this makes all the difference between having a glass of wine or beer with dinner, and staring mournfully at the unopened bottle.
  4. Tissues/toilet paper. A favourite amongst travellers to the developing world - I hope the reasons why are obvious.
  5. Moisturiser. Don't go to sleep, Men. On a recent trip to the desert my male companion was stealing my moisturiser twice a day - if your skin dries out it itches and hurts. And there's no need for that.
  6. Notebook and pencil. Old school, eh? Write down your passport number, a new PIN (disguised, of course), where you parked your rental car, the phone number for your bank back home... you get the idea. Yes, you can use your phone but a bit of paper is still legible when dropped or waterlogged, and doesn't need charging.
  7. Earplugs. They can make the difference between a good night's (or bus journey's) sleep and lying awake all night listening to people shouting at each other (or worse).
  8. Swiss Army Knife. Been travelling with one of these since I was about 12 - and I've usually found a need for it. The scissors are particularly useful. As well as fixing your own stuff, you'll make instant friends when you whip this out (to fix stuff, not threaten people).
  9. Travel washing line. If you wash your clothes on the road (and most career breakers do), you'll need one of these. It's stretchy and has hooks on the end so you can put it pretty much anywhere. Then you're not stuffing soggy socks in your backpack.
  10. A small wooden doll. It is somewhere between a good luck charm (not that I believe in them) and a comforter. Also, when you're travelling with the bare minimum, a tiny decoration can do wonders for your surroundings.

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