Updated 6 Oct 18
People often ask me about my list of travel essentials*. So here is a list of my ten favourite gadgets, compiled from observation, necessity and a good few years of travel.
I often travel for work, and for more than a month at a time. I do travel light, and my bag is too small to have more than 20kg in my luggage – allowing a bit of space for ‘acquiring things’. My hand luggage is normally borderline for weight – I had 7kg plus laptop on my last trip.
So here is my travel checklist.
1. Smart device (and appropriate charger). Phone, tablet, laptop. I’ve resisted getting a tablet because it is just another thing to carry however, that could change. There is data and wifi in most places, except the outback of Australia, or the outback of any country. But cities and most small towns and villages offer mobile phone coverage and often in surprising places e.g. small and remote towns in Argentina.
My latest mobile is a dual SIM phone, which I highly recommend. I keep my Australian SIM in it all the time and use a local SIM for whatever country I’m in.
How did we survive without Apps? The ones that I use most often are Uber (or OLA), Google maps, XE.com currency converter, various food apps – Uber Eats, Zomato or Swiggy (India), and either the Weather Channel or AccuWeather.
2. Lip Balm. Was using Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment until I was forced to by a tinted Nivea Fruity Shine (Cereza) in the airport in Uyuni, Bolivia because of lack of choice. Now I prefer that to anything else but havn’t been able to find it outside South America. Nooooooo!
3. HDMI cable. Found that I was buying them each time I went somewhere, so that I could watch Netflix in my downtime.
4. Stationery kit – so anyway, this has evolved and now I have the perfect system. You’d think that you wouldn’t need a stationery kit – but this carries all the extra cables, thumb drives, a pencil sharper, even a mini stapler. Needless to say I don’t take this if I’m going away for the weekend.
This one I found in a shop in Jaipur in Rajasthan called Kassa. Look for other cool and more structured versions of travel kit bags on www.thisisground.com.
5. Noise cancelling headphones – sorry if this is offensive to parents who are traveling, but the headphones are mainly to block out screaming babies on planes.
6. International adapter/s – these are amazing. They also have USB ports.
7. First Aid – pain killers; band aids; cold & flu tabs, tissues. More often than not you will catch a cold from fellow passengers on long haul flights, and you need the cold and flu medication that works.
8. Inflatable pillow – I can’t sleep when I’m sitting up. I seem to have a dodgy neck and it hurts after a while when my head slumps. I don’t like the stuffed cushions you can get from airports because they take up too much space when you are traveling and in life. Inflatable pillows are a good compromise. Not perfect, but good for long flights.
9. This – its Japanese. A gadgety spiralizer / hand grater.
10. Luggage lock – have just started using one again. Mainly because everyone else does, and I thought my luggage would become the easy target. This one is good because the locking bit is flexible. If not, luggage handlers sometimes carry / drag the luggage by the lock because it’s the easiest thing to grab and it breaks the lock and the luggage.
Other things that could get a mention –
- Lumix GX7 DSLR camera; micro four thirds camera, meaning that it is smaller than a full size DSLR.
- Garmin watch to encourage me to run;
- notebook & pencil (idiosyncratic);
- scissors – these days some airports put cable ties on bags to lock them, so not a perfect solution because scissors can’t be taken in hand luggage; book;
Not on the list
- e-reader because I read books on my laptop.
* not actually true. No one ever asks my advice about traveling, especially about luggage. This paragraph should probably read ‘I am very proud of my system for traveling, and after giving it much thought, these are my essential travel gadgets’.
What’s on your travel list? Is it different to this?
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I always have a hard-copy book or magazine, you never know when the entertainment system thingy in planes doesn’t work or the battery goes flat or there’s no wifi etc. Plus, I always say, if you’ve got a good book you’re never bored.