Sunday, 23 November 2008

Top 5 Overlooked Travel Necessities

I think top 5 lists are very helpful to people trying to find good and concise information. Below is a list of the items I found most useful when I went backpacking but would not necessarily be obvious to the first time traveler. Hopefully you will learn from my experience. These are in no particular order.

1. Good pair of shoes:

Your number one priority should be getting a good, sturdy pair of comfortable shoes as traveling does mean you will be doing a lot of walking. Some people opt to buy proper walking shoes from an outdoors outlet such as millets or blacks which will guarantee good quality, that they will last a long time and will be waterproof. I however chose to take a comfortable pair of trainers which admittedly did wear out in Washington DC and started to let in icy cold water but were good while they lasted. If you do purchase a new pair of shoes I highly recommend wearing them everyday for a week before you leave to ensure they are comfortable and do fit your feet.

2. Swim shorts:

This mainly applies to men but I found these a very useful item of clothing. They can be used as everyday shorts, can help you out of a tight spot when you have no clean underwear (the netting becomes invaluable), and of course as swim wear. You would always find these at the top of my backpack.

3. Quick dry towel:

The pros of this item speak for themselves. They are light weight, small for efficient packing and dry in half the time of ordinary towels. If you have to leave early for a long bus journey and want that all important shower, this little gem will prevent you from opening your bag 10 hours later to find that the awful damp towel smell has spread to your nice clean washing. If you a larger person then you may find the dimensions of a quick dry towel challenging if you want to retain some dignity in a dorm. Let the good times roll.

4. Torch:

At some point on your travels you will find yourself in the dark scrabbling to find a light switch when you need the loo. I found that in South East Asia some guest houses and hostels had outside toilets and they were not very well lit. A torch can be a life saver when you need to be watching where you are treading if you know what I mean.

5. Locks:

Security can be an issue when on the road, moving from dorm to dorm and taking international and domestic flights. I recommend purchasing some small padlocks which clasps your zips together prior to going traveling. Be aware that they could be broken off at airports for security checks so maybe take a couple extra, it is your call. If you are traveling a lot in the USA, you can get special padlocks which also have a master key slot so the locks do not need to be broken at the airports.

I also took a light weight bicycle chain with me so that when I was out during the day I could chain my rucksack to the bunk bed frame so nobody could walk off with it. Remember if you loose your passport or credit cards it could be game over for your trip.

Let me know what items you found most useful when traveling by leaving a comment below.



At 29 November 2008 at 16:38 , Blogger Saadia said...

Tell me about shoes! I was limping 2 days into my vacations, back in June. Took shoes that looked comfortable, but felt horrible. The remaining three weeks of the trip were spent in open sandals, I bought from a street vendor! So agreed, the shoes should be tried and tested!


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