What I cant travel without…and what I ditched along the way.
November 20, 2014
An article about how to pack the essentials and reviews of travel accessories without the bullshit.
1. E-bags Packing Cubes:
These are my #1 travel accessory that I could not do without. Before I left on the trip I was hesitant to spend money on unnecessary travel accessories and gimmicks. I had read online about how helpful travel cubs could be when organizing your bag and I shopped around my local sport and adventure stores. The cubes sold were often $50+ each (eagle creek, Rick Steves, etc. ) and I decided I could do better or else I would DIY - using ziplock bags. I found E-Bags online and the price seemed much more reasonable. I chose 3 medium, 3 slim, and 1 large. These bags are absolutely needed in order to keep your clothes organized after the first day. When I unpack my bags, I can easily take cubes out knowing I will not have to stuff all my clothes back in my pack in order to zip it closed. They also double as compression bags and hold much more than simply rolling your clothes. I separate my cubes as everyday shirts, nicer shirts, bottoms, WWOOF clothes, laundry, and a ziplock of underwear. After 6 months (so far) of daily use they have not ripped (even being stuffed to the brim at times) and make organizing my bag much, much easier.
2. Small Day Pack:
The thought of ‘double backpackin’ makes me feel a bit nerdy. I did consider packing everything I needed into my large pack and avoiding the need for a carry-on. Thankfully I brought a small backpack because I have used it every day since. The bag is great for holding maps, water, snacks, and a camera on sightseeing trips. It also doubles as a grocery shopping bag for markets! We take the bag on hikes, store the GoPro tools inside it when travelling, and of course have it as a carry-on on transportation to store valuables.
3. Coconut oil:
I recently filmed a video on the coast of Goa, India, documenting my love for coconut oil as a travel accessory. I could literally talk for hours about how much I enjoy it! There are so many uses for coconut oil so it ends up replacing many things you thought you had to pack (saving space for more clothes! woo-hoo) Coconut oil can be used for skincare, hair care, first-aid, insecticide, cooking, after sun, dental care, and more. Check out my video to see what I use it for when travelling below.
Talk about an effective 100-in-1 product. Buying coconut oil in bulk can help save money. When travelling, I like to replace empty body butter container such as this with my coconut oil for easy packing.
4. Backpacking Bag Rain Cover and/or Duffle Cover:
When a sales person originally approached me and suggested for my upcoming trip I should bring a rain cover I was skeptical. Thankfully I found a hidden pouch where a rain cover actually was already part of my bag. Although I’ve only used my ‘rain cover’ for a true downpour once, I suggest bringing one. The rain cover doubles as a protective layer when storing luggage under busses and trains where your bag will get covered in dirt, dust, bugs, and may tear. The duffle bag cover is optional; I have travelled with my same pack on many flights without it but this trip I decided to bring one. They take up about the same size space when folded as a sweater but unfolded they cover your bag and straps for flying. This helps your bag from getting damaged which would be a bummer on the road… although many markets these days are selling knock off backpacks! haha
5. Pocket Knife:
This is something I bought along the way. I am not usually a knife carrying person… but trust me, it is necessary. As a raw vegan, I need to be able to eat fruit on the go and having a knife (especially for mango season!) makes it much easier to grab a snack or a meal from the farmer’s market.
Have you heard of a Buff? They are sold at many sport and hiking stores. I love mine! I wear it to keep my hair back in places with high humidity, as a dust guard while walking the streets of India, a hair tie, as a bandana while WWOOFing to keep the sun and sweat off me, and even used it to protect my fresh tattoo from the hot sun. Check one out here! They come in many different fun patterns and colours too!
8. Sleeping Bag Liner:
I think this is essential when traveling outside of North America and Europe. There have been times where if I had not had my sheet I would not have been sleeping. Sanitation standards and general cleanliness vary in different countries so you cannot expect to always have sheets up to your standards or sheets at all at times.
So now that you’re all packed you’re going to want to keep all your stuff safe. A padlock is needed to lock your doors in many guest houses around the world. You can also bring a chain (or buy one like we did) and chain your luggage to the bus compartments, overnight train, etc.
What You Wish You Didn’t Pack:
1. Liquid Body Wash:
This goes for liquid shampoo or any other large bottles. If you need them, you can buy these things world wide. I switched to using a bar of soap while backpacking to save space and also use Lush’s shampoo bar (which I highly recommend!) and coconut oil for conditioner.
Jeans are heavy, it’s as simple as that. I travel with 1 pair of jeans that I use for WWOOF’ing but honestly every day I consider donating them. Try and bring a light-weight multi-purpose pant instead. Your back will thank you over time.
3. Hair Straightener:
Okay ladies listen up… I’m a bit guilty of this one. I read countless blogs that said to leave your straightener and blowdryer at home but I just couldn’t part with mine. I backpacked four months through Europe straightening my hair once a week after I washed it. Looking back on it, I am glad I brought it. Instead of coming home after the four months we had planned, we started to backpack Turkey and work our way further east. My trip changed gears completely and I did not need to lug around the hair straightener. I embraced my curls and wore my hair up most days because of the heat. Thankfully I found someone who was in need of some smoothness and gave it away.
4. Your ‘Fav’ Tee:
As much as you will want to bring the clothes you wear most often you don’t want to pack anything you would be heartbroken returning without. You never know what may happen on the road and you don’t need to be worrying about an article of clothing instead of having fun. You may just end up dyeing all of your whites pink by accident like me...