After months and months strung together on the road, it becomes quite easy to nail down the possessions you’re really thankful that you bought and brought. When I was thinking about my top 6, some came as a surprise and were actually items I almost didn’t bring. But travel turns you into a bit of a different person, and you rely on things you wouldn’t normally care so much about at home.
1. Merrell Avian Light Ventilator Hiking Shoes
I couldn’t be happier with this choice because I did a lot of research on shoes. When I was shopping for our trip, I wanted to find a shoe that I could use for running, hiking and taking long walks. These comfortable and durable Merrells have been through a lot and have yet to disappoint me.
2. BaByliss PRO Travel Hair Straightener
I really thought this would be a superfluous item that I wouldn’t end up using. The truth is that I love it. Its weight and the space it takes up in my pack are negligible. When I take five minutes to straighten parts of my hair, it’s easier to handle. And after eight months and 19 countries, this straightener still works very, very well.
3. REI Convertible Pants
I had mixed feelings about bringing a pair of two-in-ones with me. Would they look dorky? Tear easily? The truth is that you stop caring about how they look because comfort, durability and handiness are all that matter in the end. These are my go-to travel day pants because they’re comfortable to be in for hours at a time and the pockets are very useful to stash coins, my iPod, and toilet paper in while I’m on a train, for example.
You read that right. Not my quick-dry towel but a washcloth. I use it mostly in hostels and on overnight trains. Sometimes your face and hands need the feeling of being wiped dry by a real towel. It has also come in handy when we have kitchen access and need a hand towel. Not to mention the times I’ve used it as a plate or napkin.
I don’t use shawls much at home, but I assumed it would come in handy while traveling. It might just be my most-used item. In Muslim countries and other places where you have to dress conservatively, I’ve used it to cover my shoulders. When we’ve been in chilly temps, it’s been my scarf or head cover. In the desert I wrapped it like a turban and also used it to protect my nose and mouth from sandstorms. I’ve bunched it up and used it as a pillow on trains and buses. And I’ve used it as the ultimate protector, wrapping it around wine bottles that I put into my bag on travel days.
6. Bag and Body Protectors: Silk Sheet and Rain Cover
The silk sheet protects me from bed sheets and pillows I don’t want my body to touch (because they look dirty or are dirty). It also comes in handy in mosquito-ridden areas when I want to cover my exposed skin. The rain cover for my pack protects it from wet conditions as well as dirty ones (and therefore is added protection to what’s inside). When my bag gets shoved under a bus or left on a dirty floor, I don’t have to worry about the canvas collecting dirt and a stench. Additionally, when my bag is sitting in a luggage room while I’m sightseeing all day, I like to think that the rain cover adds a slight deterrent to petty theft.
All long-term travelers have items they prefer not to be on the road without. We always refill our toiletries (like cotton swabs, mouthwash, toilet paper, laundry soap, etc.), but there are also food-related items we like to travel with since we’re on a budget. They really don’t take up much space or weight, and when we have leftover food or access to hot water or a kitchen, they go a long way.
3. Tea bags and instant coffee
5. Sandwich bags
6. A food container
What are your must-have items when traveling?
Check out Mike’s top six items.
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