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Underwear? Check. Passport? Check. Hair Straighteners? No!

Travel Unravelled's Q&A Series #2 - Travel Stuff

A Swiss Army Knife with an altimeter Photo by bryceb

A Swiss Army Knife with an altimeter Photo by bryceb

Welcome to the second installment of the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series. We have increased our number of respondents - which is a good thing! So, we're up to five but, everyone has great advise and worthy of taking note! I (well, Beerman really) especially likes the coffee pot as not every hotel room supplies one and coffee is important - as is rope. That is handy to tie down the caffeine-deficient traveler until the coffee is brewed. Just sayin'...

The Question

What one or two items do you take along that most travelers would not necessarily consider when organizing their pack? Please include why.

boating ropes Photo by Leah Acason

boating ropes Photo by Leah Acason

Nikki Leigh (Rraven)

...handy as a belt, shoe laces and looping around doors as a make shift lock.

The item I always find handy is rope/string........ mainly for the obvious of tying things together, making washing lines when needed, when knotted in various ways you can make a bag. Also handy as a belt, shoe laces and looping around doors as a make shift lock. (We stayed somewhere that was a bit dodgy before but had run out of options. The door could not be locked so we tied rope from the door handle to the leg of the bed. When someone tried to enter the room the bed was jolted, made a noise and we woke up. And, it scared away whomever it was.)

african hair straightener...wooden handle and metal comb heated in coals Photo by BCholewa

african hair straightener...wooden handle and metal comb heated in coals Photo by BCholewa

Heather Robb (Purdy)

When l first read the question l was tempted to go all girly and put hair straighteners. But, l've travelled without them previously and survived!!

  • Copies of paperwork - correspondence, visa information, passport docs etc. - l've had occasion to have to produce them at borders and passport control previously. I was told by the agents that without them l would likely have been politely asked to about turn and head on home.
  • Baby wipes or hand sanitizer - so useful when there is no running water. You can at least have a bit of a freshen up or, if you are in surroundings which are, let's say, not as hygienic as you are normally used to - they can be invaluable to say the least!

coffee Photo by Vanessa Stashinski

coffee Photo by Vanessa Stashinski

Peter Daams (Peter)

We pretty much always take our own coffee plunger (French Press) with us. We have a stainless steel one, so there's no glass breakage. Having the ability to make our own coffee while travelling is golden. Particularly when travelling in areas where the coffee is just too weak or generally badly brewed.

Gertrude at Breakfast Photo by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav

Gertrude at Breakfast Photo by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav

Kris Kalav (beerman)

And in a real pinch - such as being stuck in the desert with no water...

The two items I rarely travel without are Ziploc bags, in assorted sizes, and stick matches. Stick matches, because you never know when you'll need to light something on fire - whether it's to keep warm, smoke, or cook a meal in the wilderness. Ziploc bags, in assorted sizes, because they are extraordinarily handy at keeping something isolated from the rest of your stuff. It could be a wet item of clothing, a leftover from a restaurant (or something you cooked in the wilderness). In my case, seashells, which tend to get a bit aromatic. If not kept separate from the clothing in my bags... Eeewww - stinky clothes! (See above photo - wet bag on the chair.) They also work nicely to keeping items dry, like a camera, matches, mobile phone, or maps. They keep lotions and such from leaking all over your luggage/backpack contents!!! And in a real pinch - such as being stuck in the desert with no water - you can dig a small, deep hole in the sand, place an open bag in the bottom of the hole face up, cover the hole with the bag, secure it around the edges with more sand, place a small pebble or rock on it, and by morning the condensation should provide enough water to keep you alive for that day, assuming you haven't used the bag for leftover wilderness-cooked foodstuffs.

battle wound Photo by Kerryn O'Connor

battle wound Photo by Kerryn O'Connor

Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (Isadora)

Beerman stole my Ziploc bag recommendation... But, since we travel together everywhere we go (most of the time), he can have that one. And, he's the one who remembers to pack the matches. Matches good! (We both collect shells to satisfy my seashell obsession. I'm glad he remembers to bring extra Ziploc bags since I've been known to bring 16kg of them - seashells - back in a carry-on. Freaked out the TSA guy when the bag went through the x-ray machine. He couldn't figure out what was in there. Gee, open it and find out!)

I never travel without rubber bands (known as elastics in some countries). They are great for tying back your hair, keeping your chargers and other other miscellaneous cables tidy and securing those non-Ziploc bags should the occasion arise. (Never know when you'll be cooking a meal in the wilderness and have leftovers...)

I also take along a small package of band-aids in assorted sizes. I'm a klutz. I have scraped myself on coral encrusted piers, tripped over my own feet scraping my knees and cut myself with my airline boarding pass. Band-aids are a good thing. I keep one small packet in my purse (for those boarding pass incidences), one in our carry-on (in case I cut myself a lot with my boarding pass and run out of the purse stockpile) and in our checked luggage for those sea coral encounters.


For more information about the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series, please see: Travel Unravelled Q&A Sessions Unleashed. Please join in on the discussions!

Posted by Isadora 12:14

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I shoulda put battery operated straighteners as an essential! Great work G!! Looking forward to the next question and answer in travel unravelled.

by Purdy

Thanks H! And thank you for the reply!! ;)
Though, knowing you - battery operated wouldn't be enough. You'd want an electric one and accommodations with electrical outlets!

Next one up tomorrow (Dec. 10th) though giving extra response time to account for the holidays.

by Isadora

One of the blandest blog entries in history. A good idea with not one ounce of substance.

by Piecar

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