Over-packing is one of the greatest traveling sins, and it’s always better to travel light. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves in a situation when we facepalm ourselves for not taking that-one-thing-that-would-have-saved-you. Here’s a check-list of stuff that can boast the highest usefulness/weight ratio. Pack them and avoid all kinds of unpleasant situations! You can thank me later.
Universal World Adapter
You’re probably familiar with the situation when your mom is waiting for an update, but your phone is dying, the hotel is out of free adapters and all the shops in the area are already closed. This will never happen to you if you invest a couple of bucks into a universal adapter which works with sockets all over the world. You won’t even have to google what a socket at your destination looks like – just drop the adapter in your bag and relax. Bonus tip: having an extra battery for your phone can’t hurt either.
For both male and female travelers, a scarf is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can pack. Not only does if make you look fashionably hip and prevents you from catching a cold, it can also protect your head and face from sun, dust and unwanted stares. My scarf has once saved a male co-adventurer from freezing to death on a night climb to a volcano. He wore it as a palantin and it looked ridiculous but warmed him up a bit. A scarf is your best friend, believe me! Bonus tip: pick a bright color so that it freshens up your look!
I hope you’re not carrying all your money around with you, and if you do, it’s at least well-hidden about your body. However, in case you’re in trouble, a robber won’t believe you don’t have money at all, so prepare a fake wallet that you can easily give away when impolitely requested. Equip it with a couple of old credit cards (nice if they’re not expired but have zero money on them) and a little cash. The robber runs away happily with it, and you don’t lose much. Bonus tip: if you’re going to a market or on a tour, put only as much money as you’re prepared to spend there in this wallet. That way, you can sadly shrug and show your empty wallet if the sellers/guides try to ask for more.
Let me count the times I’ve found myself eating on the road without the possibility to wash my hands in advance… Oh, never mind, there have been too many. If you care at least a little bit about your health, you’ll carry a hand disinfectant with you at all times. Remember though that it’s not suitable for open wounds disinfection. I’ve learned it the hard way. Bonus tip: it’s a good idea to apply the disinfectant to cutlery in some eateries too.
As means of dealing with spilling emergencies and self-hygiene wipes don’t have any rivals. I usually take a pack or two of regular ones (nice if they have a disinfecting effect too), makeup removal ones (feel free to skip it if you’re a guy) and a pack of wipes suitable for intimate hygiene. Not all places on Earth have toilet paper or even proper toilets! Bonus tip: wipes don’t count as liquid towards your hand baggage liquid allowance, so you can take as much as you want!
Earplugs and a Sleeping Mask
These two will give you the superpower of being able to sleep everywhere. A screaming kid on the plane? A snoring roommate in a hostel? Loud celebration on the streets below your window? You’re immune! Instead of free earplugs that you might receive on an airplane, invest in good ones, as they are just so much better. A sleeping mask is especially handy in big hostel rooms where people come and go all the time, switching the light on and off. Bonus tip: choose earplugs on a rod, that way you won’t lose them.
A lock will let you rest assured that no one will poke around your luggage when you store it somewhere or leave it in a hotel. It won’t save you from a major robbery but might stop smaller offenders. A lot of hostels provide you with a security box but you have to rent a lock to actually secure it. Now you have your own! Bonus tip: choose TSA approved locks that can be opened by security control at airports, or otherwise they will be forced to cut your pretty lock to inspect your baggage.
Security on the road is a major concern for a lot of tourists, especially female ones. We’ve already written about it and encourage you to follow our safety advice. I trust you to steer away from unpleasant situations during your travels, but sometimes they happen. A whistle is the best way to attract attention to your situation, and a lot of offenders will retreat fast at the piercing sound. Bonus tip: keep your whistle on a rod around your neck to have fast access to it when needed.
It there a feeling more unpleasant than going around with dry, eroded lips? It is a constant discomfort that just sucks all the happiness from the trip. A lip balm takes virtually zero space, but always having one in your pocket will save you from the suffering. Bonus tip: choose a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from the sun too!
A lot of people prefer paper books, but let’s face it: you can’t pack your whole library for traveling. Realistically, you’d only be able to take 1-2 books, and that’s simply not enough for a long trip. Moreover, they’ll take up your baggage space even after you’ve finished them. An e-reader can be loaded with tomes that will save you from the boredom on those long flights and rides, it doesn’t take virtually any space, and it can go on without charging for over a month, depending on a model! Bonus tip: you can also load your tourist guides into your e-reader instead of carrying the physical copies.
Extra One for the Ladies: Menstrual Cup
This life-saving thing is comfortable, small, invisible and doesn’t need changing for up to 12 hours. You can swim, do sports and go around in virtually transparent white pants. It also saves you the trouble of carrying packages of pads around with you or looking for a familiar hygienic product somewhere in the jungle. Besides, a menstrual cup is healthier than tampons because it doesn’t cause dryness. This is the best investment you can make not only for traveling but for your everyday life too! Learn more about the product here and order one at your drugstore or online!