Our Favorite Travel Essentials
Let me start by stating we don't claim to be backpacking experts. However, after living out of one backpack for several months we've learned a thing or two about how to make the whole experience easier on ourselves. Below are a few of our favorite items - we've linked ones we've personally tried, although there are likely other great brands for these products as well. Please feel free to share any of your travel tips/tricks/essentials in the comments section. We'd love to learn more!
TRAVEL CUBES - Organize everything you need into various, conveniently sized cubes. These make packing/unpacking a more simple process, and also allow for optimum utilization of backpack or luggage space. The open mesh design makes it easy to locate items - You'll no longer have a hectic search for a sweatshirt, hat, etc.
PACKABLE DAY BACKPACKS - You'll want to use a smaller backpack for day trips instead of carrying around your huge bag! Theese packable backpacks work well for hiking, touring a city or days at the beach. They're light, durable, and breathable. They also pack into themselves meaning they don't take up much space in your larger pack.
COMPACT, QUICK- DRY TOWEL - Depending on your budget, some accommodations may not provide shower or beach towels. These quick drying towels are light weight and roll-up into a small size for packing. They also absorb water well and can be easily cleaned. The antibacterial fabric is even treated with silver ions that prevent the growth of bacteria and odor.
COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE - These water bottles are great because they can hold a lot of water, yet they're lightweight and collapse into almost nothing when it's time to pack and relocate cities! This particular bottle collapses into a 4" height.
STERIPEN - Compact and lightweight, the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Water Purifier uses a revolutionary optical eye to sense water and purifies water in even the coldest conditions. It destroys more than 99.9 percent of harmful microorganisms, including Giadria, bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Although a more expensive purchase, it will save you money in the long run by not having to purchase water bottles everyday.
LAUNDRY SOAP / SINK STOPPER - A must have in order to wash clothes abroad! We've found that if you need to soak anything, you'll also need your own stopper as most sinks don't have them.
WATERPROOF CASE - If you are traveling alone or with a group and everyone wants to be in the water at the same time, where will you leave your phone and money? Unfortunately many beaches you are visiting as a tourist also come with the risk of having your belongings stolen. Forget the worry and bring valuables with you in the water!
Some additional items you may find useful include: a lock for a locker if you're staying in hostels, pens for filling out visa/custom forms on airplanes or to journal, universal adapters, Tide to Go stain remover, a small coin purse, and extra Ziploc bags (because we somehow always end up losing our original ones).
We've also found a few iPhone apps that are incredibly helpful when traveling abroad. Click on the linked titles below for additional details.
MAPS.ME - Free, fast, detailed and entirely offline maps with turn-by-turn navigation. A must use for finding any destination (restaurant, park, hotel, shop, etc.).
SKYSCANNER - Skyscanner compares millions of flights to find you the cheapest deal, fast. When you find your flights and click to book, they link you through directly to the airline or travel agent. No hidden charges, no added fees.