Space is a scarce commodity in your backpack if you are traveling for an extended period of time. That means that everything must have a good reason to be there – or, better yet, multiple reasons to be there. Here’s our family’s top 10 list for travel tools.
Skype: Indispensible Travel Tool”)
#2: Swiss Army Knife: Some of the things you’ll find on my favorite 21-function knife are scissors, corkscrew, magnifying glass, pliers, toothpick, flashlight, tweezers, can opener, bottle opener and a knife: all have been used multiple times on our travels.
#3: Bandana: It’s your sweatband for long treks, your tourniquet if case you have a serious laceration, your blindfold if you need to sleep in a well-lit place, your washcloth if your face is dirty and your facemask on long dusty rides in the back of a pick-up truck.
#4: Dental Floss: Not only can you floss your teeth, you can use it as an emergency shoelace, sew a torn article of clothing for a quick fix or dry your clothes on your makeshift clothesline.
#5: Miner’s flashlight: Do you want to read but the overhead light in your budget hotel room is less than 10 watts? Are you sharing a room with others and they all want to go to sleep but you want to read or write? Are you carrying bags in both hands and walking somewhere in the dark? The miner’s flashlight with headband is your answer.
#6: Zip-loc bags: You can keep things organized, clean and separate. They are hard to find in the developing world and if you are self-catering and carrying some food with you, there is no substitute.
#7: Tevas: You can wear your Velcro-strapped sandals in the rain or on the trail. They are lightweight, wash easily and are super comfortable. You can wear them in the shower if it looks like there may be diseases lurking on the bathroom floor.
#8: Earplugs: Is your hotel room on a busy street or next to a mosque? Are you sleeping in a dorm room of a hostel? Have you realized too late that you are sitting directly under the speaker of an overnight bus that plays loud music all night? Are the rest of your family members not tired enough to go to sleep yet? Bring your earplugs and all these troubles melt away.
#9: Immersion Heater: Sometimes nothing will make you feel more civilized than a hot cup of tea. With an immersion heater, you can have boiling water in one minute in a bus station, a hotel room, even on a train. For more on immersion heaters read “Civilization in a Cup.”
#10: Travel cable lock: Are you in a bus station and need to buy snacks for the ride, without worrying about someone snatching your bag? Are you afraid someone might pinch your backpack from the overhead bin on your all-night bus ride when you go to sleep? Do you want to make sure that no one from your dodgy hotel steals your bag while you’re out of your room? Whip out your cable lock and attach your bag(s) to something permanently fastened and get about your business.
What are your favorite travel tools?