Over multiple trips and holidays I have honed down my travel kit and now I never leave home on a big trip without the following tried and tested items in my rucksack.
I can highly recommend Pacsafe’s range of Anti-Theft Backpack And Bag Protectors – they come in a range of sizes and are great when your accommodation doesn’t provide a safe; if you need to leave your bag in luggage storage, or unattended on public transport. It’s a light-weight, flexible and slash proof cage that locks around your rucksack, securing your valuables inside. When you’re not using it, it packs down into a compact case making it easy to carry.
To stop would-be thieves running off with your bag, you can use the device to attach your bag to a piece of furniture in your hotel room; to a luggage rack on public transport, or to a travel companion’s bag – it’s much harder for a thief to make off with two large rucksacks than one! Find out more here: Pacsafe 85 Anti-Theft Backpack And Bag Protector (https://amzn.to/2yncXyy) is suitable for a large, 65+ litre rucksack.
Osprey Farpoint and Fairview carry-on rucksacks
Travelling hand-luggage only? Maximise your carry-on allowance with these great forty-litre rucksacks. Packed with handy pockets galore, a laptop compartment and internal straps to hold the contents in place, you’ll be amazed how much you can cram into these bags.
They are also really comfortable to wear; complete with waist and chest straps to hold the pack in place and to take the weight off your shoulders, making it a convenient for hiking as well as carry-on luggage.
The Osprey Fairview 40 (https://amzn.to/2IIiJdH) is a women’s fit and the Osprey Farpoint 40 (https://amzn.to/2z1Jquf) is the men’s version – both come in two sizes to cater for larger and smaller body types. They are ideal for shorter and longer trips, when you don’t want the hassle of checking in bags – or you want to keep your eyes on your luggage whilst you’re on the move.
Silk sleeping bag liner
Designed to keep your sleeping bag fresh, the silk sleeping bag liner has another great use as a stand-alone sleeping bag in hot countries. It’s lighter than sleeping under cotton sheets and keeps the mosquitoes off. It is also great if you find yourself cold on a long coach journey when the air conditioning is cranked right up or if your hotel accommodation is of a questionable standard!
It packs down, via a compression sack, to the size of a fist for easy storage and transportation, can be hand washed in the sink and dries quickly (https://amzn.to/2MvYZ0b).
Do away with heavy, bulky guide books and novels and load everything you want to read on to a Kindle. It’ll save you considerable weight and bag space, plus it’s easy to download books on the go.
You can pick up a range of Kindles fairly cheaply and all your content is backed up online in your Amazon account. My favourite model is the Paperwhite (https://amzn.to/2lbEY2p), which comes with a backlight, making it perfect during insomnia in a hostel dorm, or at dusk when you want to continue reading whilst over a sundowner.
The Kindle Fire (https://amzn.to/2JGfr01) is also great as a budget tablet and e-reader in one. It contains all the functionality you need at the fraction of the price of some other tablets. You may find it a suitable alternative to taking a laptop away with you (depending on how much typing you need to do).
My Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones (https://amzn.to/2t1kj5w) have been my saviour when travelling, cutting out the background noise on flights, buses and in noisy hotel rooms. They may be one of the most expensive items in my travel kit, but I won’t go anywhere without them now.
I used them every night of a ten day stay in Tulum, where my stay coincided with an extremely loud Mayan music festival that went on until 4am every morning – and I would literally have had no sleep without them. They are also useful to phase out screaming babies and snoring passengers on overnight flights and buses – plus they give you a better quality of listening on your headphones, so your music sounds good wherever your surroundings.
To beat insomnia, listen to Sleep Sound (http://bit.do/sleepsound) on your noise cancelling headphones. A soundtrack designed to help you sleep in noisy environments, Sleep Sound features calming rainfall, waves and waterfalls interwoven into a wall of soporific white noise; engineered to block out background noise whilst simultaneously coaxing you to sleep.
My laptop is an integral part of my travel kit and I use it for keeping in touch with loved ones back home, blogging, trip research and booking the next leg of my trip. Consider getting a light-weight, slim line netbook – your bag and your back will thank you in the long run!
It goes without saying but always back up regularly – especially any work you’ve done and photos you’ve taken along the way in case something happens to your computer. Laptops and cameras can be replaced, photos can’t – and whilst you’ll always have the memories, you’ll cherish looking back over your pictures, so take good care of your files.
There are many Cloud storage websites out there to choose from. Google Drive (www.Google.com/drive), OneDrive (https://onedrive.live.com), Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) – and others – all offer free Cloud storage and are a great way of backing up important documents, files and photos whilst you’re on the move, and which can be accessed from any computer via the Internet. All the above sites also have handy mobile apps, so you can access, back up and manage files from your smartphone.
If you need more storage that the free plan offers, you can purchase a monthly or annual plan but before you buy, think about spreading your files over a few free Cloud-based accounts. Top tip: always do your backing up over a fast Wi-Fi connection, or it will take ages to upload large files like photos.
It’s also worth backing up everything on to a portable hard drive like this one: https://amzn.to/2lf8EvK – it’s less valuable to a thief than a laptop, so there’s less chance of it being stolen; plus, it’s a way of accessing your files when you don’t have Wi-Fi and can’t get on to the Cloud.
Multi-country adaptor plug with USB sockets
Charge your laptop, phone and e-reader all at once with these handy multi-country adaptor plugs with USB sockets. The USB ports make light work of charging all your devices at once, and you don’t have to carry around a bulky charger for every device. From your phone to your Kindle, MP3 player to portable power bank it’s charging made easy.
Amazon has a huge selection or adaptor plugs, including this one: https://amzn.to/2tfaWyn.
Portable power bank
A portable battery or power bank with enough charge to top up your phone is a life-saver for long journeys; if your phone dies when you’re out and about or as an emergency power source during power cuts. I used the Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger (https://amzn.to/2t9Ncvq), which is enough to fully charge your phone or MP3 player.
I also found it useful to take a portable battery charger in my travel kit to keep my torch and headphones batteries charged up – but your need will depend on how many devices you take with you.
Travel SIM card
Having access to calls, maps and email will be a life-saver at times – when you’re wandering around trying to find your accommodation unable to locate it with the directions given, you can simply call them.
Before you set off, make sure your phone is unlocked and check with your mobile phone service provider to see if roaming in the countries you intend to visit is included in your tariff. If it isn’t, remember to turn off the data roaming on your phone when you arrive – or you could end up with an exorbitant phone bill that you haven’t budgeted for! Then pick up a local SIM card when you land – remember you’ll need your passport in order to get a SIM, so don’t forget to take it with you to the phone shop.
Excerpt taken from The Travel Secret (How to plan your big trip and see the world) by Sarah Kerrigan. For more details and to purchase, visit www.admin.land/travel-secret.