– Portable speaker
Music is something which can be easily shared and enjoyed between travellers, wherever they are from. As batteries for speakers may become harder to come by in some places, speakers which can be recharged will be useful. Your own playlists will be a Godsend too if you’re sick of that guy who never stops playing Oasis covers on his tattered acoustic guitar.
– Dry Bag
A key item for any traveller who might find themselves in a wet / submersible situation. If you are hiking/camping in wet conditions, then a large dry bag inside your rucksack maybe useful to keep everything completely dry. Otherwise, a smaller dry bag is definitely required for key items.
I have also used an item called Laundreez, which is a transparent dry bag with a valve that can be used as a makeshift washing machine. Any dry bag can be used for this purpose, by filling it half full with clothes, water and detergent… and then shake it like a polaroid picture!
Whether you’re fixing your motorbike in Vietnam, or opening a beer on the beach, a small multi-tool will be a true life-saver on many occasions. You don’t need a ridiculous 100-tools-in-one gizmo, just the essentials.
Compasses can be extremely company and inexpensive. These days, phones will have GPS, compass and navigation tools at the ready, but you may find yourself in more remote situations where a more old-school method is needed. Whether you’re navigating an obscure city, or trekking over hills in the wilderness, a compass is always recommended.
– Journals / Notepads
Don’t let your memories go to waste. Jot down days on your travels, recommendations for future trips and doodles on long bus journeys. You can even buy waterproof notepads and pens for when you find yourself in rainforests (or the shower).
– Disposable cameras
There’s nothing like the feeling of getting your photos printed from a print shop, either from an old camera film reel or a disposable camera. For those of you who think this post is from the 20th century… well, this point kinda is. But too few photos are taken these days and never seen again, and being able to relive all those moments again once you are back home is pretty special. Disposable cameras can be quite expensive these days, but you can order some online (and there are postal printing services too).
My hammock is my new favourite travel companion. They’re relatively inexpensive, extremely portable, and generally more comfy than anything else around. Also, I like a good siesta…
Take trips to abandoned paradise beaches and string your hammock between palm trees, lounge around in your hostel, or simply use it as a replacement tent (in this case also get a tarpaulin to hang above and stop any unexpected rain alarm clocks, and also a mosquito net). There are plenty of good brands (Ticket to the Moon, SJSJS), and there are plenty of opportunities to buy them around the world too.
– Sleeping bag liner
Even if you’re not camping, a sleeping bag liner may be a good option if you’re not completely comfortable with sleeping in random beds at hostels. The luxurious (albeit expensive) silk sleepig bag liner is an absolute dream to sleep in, and definitely worth considering for long outdoors trips.
– First aid kit
Anything can happen whilst travelling, and probably not when you’re sitting on a doctor’s doorstep. Lots of medication is available over the counter (including antibiotics, painkillers, stomach pills etc.) across the world, although you should always carry a some bandages and medicine wherever you go (especially if you have allergies).
– Water purification tablets / Lifestraw & Rehydration salts
For those who travel the less beaten path, water is the most valuable commodity. However, it can also be the easiest way to get ill. In some areas, filtered water can be difficult to come by. Water purification tablets are an inexpensive way to clean your water, or alternatively a tool like Lifestraw (a straw which filters water as you suck through it) can be helpful in certain locations.
Sachets of rehydration salts can also be purchased to ensure you recover any salts you have sweated out througout the day. They can also help during one of those world ending hangovers you might have to endure on occasion…
– A pack of cards
One of the most universal methods of enjoyably passing time is a game of cards. I’ve learnt many new card games from Sweden, Germany, Russia, China etc. from various travellers, and I’m always eager to learn more. Although this is not an essential item, I always carry a pack wherever I go!