I went on my first backpacking trip 10 years ago while I was still in high school. Although I travel light, I do bring certain comforts with me. Several accessories have been designed to make your life easier while traveling. Here are my favorites, the ones you’ll REALLY use.
1. A microfibre towel
Two advantages (and honestly, the only two you should look for in a towel): it’s compact and it dries really quickly. I recommend choosing a L or XL towel, even if (like me) you’re not very tall, because it can double as a beach blanket.
2. A portable battery
I bought mine on Amazon for $20 and it can recharge my iPhone 3 or 4 times on a single charge. It’s convenient for long bus or plane trips, or when hiking for a few days and your phone doubles as a camera. I recommend choosing a battery based on its charging capacity rather than its weight. The difference in weight from one battery to another is not significant.
3. A Swiss knife
If you travel with carry-on luggage only, forget about this accessory; however, if that’s not the case, you need one. It doesn’t need to be a complex model. The most useful features are a smooth blade and a bottle opener and/or corkscrew, depending on what you like to drink. If the model you choose has a can opener, it can come in handy.
4. Packing cubes
Had I known how practical they are, I would have started using them a long time ago! I used packing cubes on my last trip to Chili, and honestly, I’ll never be without them again! I buy mine on Amazon. They’re available in a variety of colours and sizes. Some even have a little window to see the contents. I recommend size S or M because they easily fit in any sized backpack. It’s better to have two or three little cubes that are completely filled rather than one big cube that’s half full because it will take too much space for nothing.
5. A travel wallet
A travel wallet is not ESSENTIAL but it is nonetheless very practical. It’s large enough to accommodate your passport and tickets (for those instances when e-tickets are not an option), as well as all of your other cards. A good travel wallet includes a key holder, a pen holder, a pocket for SIM cards, and a space to store your phone.
6. An eye/sleep mask
For air travel, bus trips and nights in dormitories, an eye/sleep mask is a must! Some airline companies hand them out free of charge. Keep it for the remainder of your trip!
7. A travel blanket
My travel blanket has been especially helpful when travelling overnight by bus in Asia and South America. In more westernized countries, blankets are often distributed in buses and airplanes. They come in a small bag, like microfiber towels, and fit easily in a carry-on bag. Travel blankets are very inexpensive, should you need to buy one.
8. Last but not least… a selfie stick
Selfie sticks have been given a bad rap. But they’re so convenient for solo travelers! If you can handle some teasing or sideways glances, go for it! Your holiday selfies will capture both your smiling face and the beautiful backdrop of Machu Picchu! A word of caution: don’t use it in places with limited space. Also, some places forbid the use of selfie sticks. Store yours in your backpack when not in use.
Of course, you don’t want to forget your ear plugs, a compact backpack and a water bottle (choose one that can be attached to your backpack. The Swell brand bottles are beautiful, but in addition to being expensive, they’re not very convenient for travel).
What are your essential travel accessories?
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