This is the first of a series of articles about useful Travel Gear to take with You on the Road. I will discuss different Travel Accessories according to your hobbies, your sport, the situations and the kind of trip you are about to face.
In this article, I will discuss Travel Items ideal for every kind of trip, at least according to my experience gathered over more than 12 years of traveling. This article will be followed by more articles about Electronics, Travel Apparel and choosing your Luggage.
10 Key Travel Accessories to take on the road
1. The “Money Belt”: a belt with a hidden pocket
While traveling, caution is never enough. You may find yourself carrying important sums of money and therefore not comfortable; or, you could visit countries where the local currency is worth less than waste paper, requiring dozen of banknotes to buy even a snack. You’re now a Billionaire… and it Sucks!!!
I once ended up stuffing banknotes everywhere on me: in my pockets, in my undies, inside my shoes… A Money Belt will be a smart solution for this scenario. Once available only as a military belt, now there’s also a choice of “classic” models. Probably my favorite in the fundamental travel accessories list.
2. Travel Sheet/Sleeping Bag Liner
If you travel DIY, you could end up sleeping literally EVERYWHERE: on a sofa, on a hammock, on the floor, on the passenger seat of any kind of vehicle… But while a standard sleeping bag is bulky and not strictly necessary if you’re hitting a warm destination, your nice and clean Travel Sheet will be a convenient shelter if you ever find yourself sleeping in a filthy hostel which refused to cancel your booking…
Unlike most sleeping bags, Travel Sheets also have a fold that allows you to wrap the pillow, so that it doesn’t come into contact with your head. It is a very handy item and folds easily into a small bag that weighs very little.
3. Microfibre Towels and Poncho
Microfibre is not so nice compared to classic sponge towels. But it will save a lot of space in your luggage. Since, once ironed and folded, it literally disappears. If you don’t wanna fold it, you can also roll it up and stuff it in a bag.
A poncho is an accessory used by surfers to put on and take off their wetsuit, it’s kind of a bathrobe but allows you to get changed at any time, even outdoors or anywhere privacy is lacking.
4. Toiletry Bag (with a hanger)
A Travel accessory really handy when you’re constantly on the move, your bathroom organizer will help you to keep everything tidy, compact, and limit damages if a shampoo explodes. The hook will let you keep it away from dirty or shared surfaces. When you are Outdoor, you can hang it on a tree or at the hatchback of your car.
5. A Water Filter Bottle
This can be a bit of an investment, but you can find some cheap ones. While touring Portugal and Morocco together, my friend Edo demonstrated to me how much you can save on bottled water by buying a Water filter bottle. I’m not gonna state that you will be able to drink your urine, but according to some producers, you can also enjoy water from lakes or puddles.
It could be life-saving in destinations where tap water is not drinkable, or in situations where water is scarce. It also helps to prevent tropical diseases and the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea.
WARNING: For every # liters consumed, you will have to change the filter, so read the instructions and buy filters in advance to avoid running out.
An alternative to filter water bottles is tablets used to purify water, but honestly, on the instructions, they write things like: “Toxic to aquatic organisms with long-lasting effects”, “Can cause an allergic skin reaction”, “Causes severe ocular irritation”… Would you drink that? Neither would I, so I don’t recommend them.
6. Hand Sanitizer Gel (Chlorus)
Cheap and available in pocket size, sanitizer gel will allow you to clean your hands even when water or soap is not available. Great to sanitize shared bathrooms too. Comes in handy when washing fruits and vegetables (essential move to prevent “bad surprises” in certain countries) and to disinfect water in case of emergency (as a better alternative to the tablets I mentioned above). You can also use it to disinfect small wounds and to soothe mosquito bites. A must-have!
7. A pocket First-aid Kit
Another Professional Deformation of being a Kitesurf Instructor, I always have a portable First Aid Kit with me. Even if Kite and Surf Schools are obliged to have a fully stocked First Aid Kit, I like to have my own too. Often while on a long trip, I tend to finish it, most of the times while helping others. Don’t be stingy and take along with you at least a basic kit, it needs very little space and could also be a good excuse for picking up: Be the one ready for every situation and save the beauty (or your aspiring hero) from cuts, abrasions, or from sea urchins!
- A decent kit should be sealed when You buy itand include at least:
- A pair of Scissors
- Some patches
- Gauze tape and clips
- Sanitizing wipes or gel in sachets (some gel also exist for burns)
- Gloves in PVC (no, those from the fruit department at the supermarket are not ok!I swear I saw them in some made in china kit)
- A mouth-to-mouth resuscitation shield
- If the kit includes a booklet about first aid, that’s even better
You don’t need to spend much and you can further integrate the kit with what you already have at home.
8. A Waterproof bag
Further professional deformation of always living in close contact with water, a Waterproof pack will always come in handy: on the beach, on a boat, under the rain, to cross rivers and streams. You can use it to keep your documents, electronic devices (if you don’t have a waterproof cover, of course), spare clothes, food… Or you can use it to create a DIY first aid kit.
Depending on your needs and habits, you could also op for some smaller waterproof pouches.
8. Insect repellent
Depending on where you’re going, insect repellent may be critical, not just for the damn mosquitoes, but also against ticks and other pests.
Diethyltoluamide or “DEET” is considered to be the most effective repellent on the market. It was developed by the U.S. Army to keep away those flying bastards after experiencing the joys of the jungle. If you decide to buy a DEET based repellent, make sure it has a high percentage of it (except if you use it on children). Beware of synthetic garments because it has a solvent effect and could damage them!
If you prefer something more natural, I like citronella, but it needs to be reapplied frequently. As an alternative to sprays, there are patches and bracelets soaked in natural repellents or ultrasound bracelets too. But I haven’t tested them yet.
WARNING: If you’re about to visit an area with a serious risk of exposure to Malaria, discuss with a doctor you trust if anti-malaria prophylaxis is advisable.
At some destinations, like Australia, flies are so abundant and annoying that you will lose the joy of living. They are smaller than in Europe and for some reason they try to stay on you at all times, often trying to get to your eyes. As a last resort, you may have to solve the problem by wearing one of these funny mosquito nets.
Finally, if mosquitoes are a problem in the location where you are (pretty much all of the tropics), make sure you sleep in a hotel where your bed has a “mosquito net”.
10. A multi-function Pocket Knife
Useful in more situations than you can think about, the “Swiss Army Knife” is the object that will make you look like “MacGyver” in front of less equipped travelers. I suggest your knife to have at least a screwdriver and a bottle opener.
Warning: When you travel by plane, always remember to put it in the hold baggage and not in the hand baggage if you don’t want it forced off you. It is generally considered innocuous and accepted at the customs, however many countries request that you declare every sharp object.
Some Camping Knives also include cutlery:
And you can also find extreme models like this:
While waiting for the upcoming articles about Travel Accessories, I hope you’re now inspired about what to bring along with you on the Road!
Credits: Cover: Unknown, Girl Under the mosquito net: presley-roozenburg, Travel accessories pics taken from Amazon.