Over the years either through my own experiences or fellow traveller tips I now have some very strange items in my backpack! I use them all the time and I now wouldn’t go travelling without them. See what you think…
Surprisingly most hostels and accommodations I have stayed in do not come equipped with a plug. I believe that may be for one of two reasons. They don’t want you washing your smalls in the sink then draping them around the room to dry. Or they are preventing a possible flooding. I have tried stuffing socks in the plug hole but this works for about ten seconds before they are drenched and water is seeping through down the drain.
Check out examples of travel plugs here.
Now this handy lightweight plastic block can give you that extra security at night when wedged underneath your bedroom door. Anyone trying to get in will not be able to open your door! By pushing the door the wedge is driven deeper into the gap between the floor and door. Simple but effective. Thanks for this tip goes to my Canadian friend Kirsty who was my roomie in West Africa.
Any DIY shop will sell these.
A poncho has saved me from a soaking so many times! It is so lightweight to carry and is big enough to cover your backpack too for those times you have to walk down a mountain in a waterfall! Yes, after camping two nights in the rain on the top of Mount Roraima in Venezuela we then had to scramble down with all the rainwater running off the mountaintop. But my backpack stayed dry even if my feet didn’t!
Find out here how cheap you can pick up a plastic poncho!
This item has travelled with me for many years. Mainly for shared bathrooms and city walking. It fits my toiletries and clothing to change into after taking a shower. The drawstrings are ideal to hang the bag from hooks if they are provided that is. If you have a fair distance to walk to use the facilities then instead of juggling all your lotions and potions in your arms a gym bag makes it so easy to carry. Then it doubles up as a handy bag for city walks when all you need is your camera, wallet and water. A multitasking bag!
I don’t spend much on a gym bag but just check out the huge selection on this page.
My good friend Karen who is extremely eco friendly introduced me to the wonderful shampoo bar. Now this must be one of the most ingenious haircare products ever made! It is economical as it lasts longer than several bottles of shampoo. It smells gorgeous and more importantly it cleans your hair! I even have a tiny travel tin to carry it in. I love it! My favourite travelling item.
Compare shampoo bars here.
I am slightly obsessed by this one as it is my worst nightmare not to have toilet roll when travelling. I always take a roll or two with me depending what activities I may have planned. You may not even be passing a shop that sells toilet paper. What about all those bars and restaurants that have empty toilet roll holders? I always splash out on quilted paper for those travel moments where it is just nice to have a bit of luxury. There’s nothing worse than being given a tiny square of thin toilet paper by the mean looking lady attendant and then having your fingers rip through it the moment you try and use it!
This handy accessory has several uses. Personally I use it for just two reasons. The first as a hair band for when I’m travelling in an open air jeep or on a particularly windy hike. The second is for when I’m cold and need to use my snood as a scarf. My friends all know it doesn’t take much for me to feel the cold! It’s amazing how much warmer you can get with your neck covered!
See for yourself the huge range of snoods…I rather like my pink camouflage version…my girl cadet look!
These are a fairly recent discovery which I first used in 2013 when I was travelling in West Africa with my Canadian tent partner and roomie Kirsty. They actually worked! We didn’t seem to get bitten at all. We had two pairs each and wore them on our wrists and angles. They actually made us giggle as we looked like we were heading out to a rave each night!
There are so many different wrist bands out there but I just opted for the plain canvas with a plastic fastener. I now always pack a pair when I’m travelling.
Even if I have no intention of camping I still always take my sleeping bag liner when travelling. Why? For those moments where you have arrived late into a new town. It’s dark and you have no option but to stay in that hostel or pousada that is not quite as clean as you would like. Perhaps there are unwanted hairs in the bed or the sheets look dirty. To have the option of using your own sleeping sheet is invaluable. It is so small and light as a feather. Takes up no room at all in your backpack and it can make that one night so much more pleasant.
There are heaps to choose from but I would just go small and light. Look here to see the sleeping bag liners that are out there.
Never take a key operated padlock! I made that mistake on my first ever backpacking adventure to Australia only to be unable to open my bag due to a lost key! I now always take a combination lock. I like to be able to lock a section of my backpack even if it can easily be cut open with a knife. It’s just a deterrent. If the bag next to mine has no lock then I reckon that bag is the easier target.
I hope you find some of my tips useful. It’s certainly helped me over the years. Thanks to all my travelling friends who have helped me create this list.