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Essential Items to Pack in Your Luggage
Essential Items to Pack in my luggage when I travel
When getting ready to pack for my travels I always think very carefully about what to take and it’s often a trade-off between what I would like to take versus weight. This article is about the "extra" items I pack which are useful and essential and not about the usual assortment of layered clothing etc which are also packed in my luggage.
I try to keep my luggage to a weight of no more than 15kgs when I start my trips. That leaves me room for some shopping and gifts to take (or send) home. Of course, at times, that means eliminating some things I wished I could take with me.
Here is my list of packing tips:
- Laptop and Kathmandu neoprene sleeve. The sleeve protects the laptop from bumps. I have taken my laptop on many journeys now and although it is heavy, I consider it worthwhile for writing, updating web pages and downloading photographs.
- Books – Aside from my trusty Lonely Planet guide book which is essential for this tourist, I pack in my luggage two books to read. They are usually novels but I also read a lot of travel narratives. After reading them I (sometimes very reluctantly) swap them part way through my journey if I can find a second hand bookshop with books in English.
- A Small LED Torch – I take a lightweight LED torch. Mine generates sufficient light so I can read books by it. Bedside lights are not always available in “flashpacker” type hotels I chose to stay in when I travel so I’ve resorted to reading by my torch many times! The torch has also proven its status as essential luggage to light the way when there are no streetlights.
- Diary – I write my observations in a lined notebook. I prefer to hand write my notes (often in cafes or restaurants) because my notebook style diary is more transportable than my laptop.
- First Aid Kit – A small first aid kit has come in handy many times. I also keep hand sanitizer in my handbag and small packets of tissues. That was especially important as I was a tourist in Mexico just after the outbreak of the swine flu epidemic. The tissues are a good substitute for toilet paper especially in places like Asia and Cuba where it’s rarely available. After my last trip when I used the hand sanitizer often, it stripped the skin of my hands so now I ensure I pack a really good hand cream and use it often. I still can’t decide whether I prefer hand wipes or the liquid hand sanitizer. What do you like? Also essential is a good sun screen (I take one for my face and a second one for my body), insect repellent etc.
- Plastic Containers – This might seem an odd addition but I like to take two plastic containers for storing the balance of a packet of biscuits, crackers or nuts purchased on the road. It keeps leftover food fresh and unlike plastic bags the supplies don’t get crushed. Many times on a long road trip, I’ve dipped into my containers for nourishment.
- A knife – I also take a spoon, fork and plastic plate. I like my small purple Kuhn Rikon paring knife as it comes in a protective sheath. The paring knife is excellent for cutting fruit, a cake etc. These items earn their place as essential additions for the occasions when I want to eat a snack in my room. Sometimes eating a meal in my room, on the balcony or in a park makes an enjoyable change and it’s cheaper.
- Rainproof Jacket – I have a multi-purpose Marmot rain proof jacket. It is very light, repels the rain very well and it folds up tight making it very easy to pack in my luggage.
- Travel Insurance – Although this is the last point that does not reflect how strongly I feel about having insurance cover when traveling. I always take out travel insurance before I leave on an extended vacation. I look for cheap travel insurance but one which gives excellent health cover and personal effects protection. I read the clauses in the policy so that I understand what will and won’t be covered. I don’t substitute cheap for a more expensive travel insurance policy that will give me better cover or have a stronger underwriter. Like my packing this is often a trade-off.
These are just a few of the “extra” items I consider essential to pack in my luggage when I travel.
I wonder what you consider essential additions to pack in your luggage?