I have been travelling for some years now, these include both solo backpacking across the globe and of course travelling with my family to exotic destinations within India. My packing list for these two types of travel are different considering that my kid daughter needs special attention when she is around and I ensure her full comfort so that our travel is smooth.
Coming straight to the point let me tell you about my backpacking essentials when I am solo travelling. Let me remind you that I am not being paid to promote these brands by any ecommerce site but just that I feel you should know as it might benefit you.
Backpack Rain Cover – Newer backpacks already come with a fixed rain cover but most do not so buying one separately will be a good idea. Always be sure to check the size in terms of Litre of your backpack and your proposed buy. This will not only protect your backpack from rain but also safeguard your backpack against dirt.
Heating Pan – This small foldable cooker/heater became a saver for me and my roommate when I was backpacking in Africa. Its world voltage ensures that you can use it across the world without worrying about the workable voltage. The separate cooking pan lets you wash the pan without the fear of being electrocuted. The cooking pan is Teflon coated which makes cooking and cleaning a step easier.
Feviquick (Instant Glue) – This small 5 Rupee stick can be a life saver, you can mend your shoes, repair that tear in your jacket and in a situation of medical emergency can act as a wound sealer. Yes you have heard it right it can be used to seal a wound and stop any infection entering the body.
Swiss Army Knife – Do I need to really say anything about this small device? It’s been used for decades and most people will surely use the knife and the bottle opener. For the record I have used the screwdriver also for removing a nail stuck in my shoe.
Lighter – When travelling by flight do not carry it as a cabin luggage and be sure to put it in your check in luggage. Its use can be from lighting up a candle, starting a camp fire and who knows can be a life saver when stuck somewhere.
Emergency Snack Pack – This I have learnt from the pro’s, always have a small bag with some energy bars, chewing gum, cashew nuts and dates. I have faced situations where I was stuck in amidst a storm without food and water for nearly 24 hours. From that day I had made a promise to never repeat my mistake.
Life straw – Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink, with this device cum bottle this worry will go forever. You will never need to buy a bottle of packaged drinking water again just fill it up from a natural source and you will be ensured a clean bottle of water even better than a bottle of packaged water.
Sun Hat – Be it a cap or a real fancy hat, you would need to cover your head to protect it from harsh heat of the sun and of course now to protect your face from direct UV rays. Make sure you are comfortable with whatever you are wearing and you are good to go.
Small Laundry Line – I just carry a small two meter of strong yet light piece of rope to dry my wet clothes indie the wash room. The idea of backpacking is to travel light but that does not mean travel dirty and I ensure washing my used clothes whenever I get time. This rope will also come handy when travelling in the hills where you have to keep your luggage on top of the car and you can easily tie you luggage safely to the car overhead carrier.
Medicine Pouch – I really don’t need to say do I? This is a must since when travelling it’s no guarantee that you get the exact medicine that you are comfortable with. Including a basic first aid kit inside this is not a bad idea, I have needed its service quite a number of time with small cuts and was also helpful in assisting a fellow passenger once.
Hand Sanitizer – With this your worry about dirty unhygienic hands are almost over. You want to have a quick snack just two or three drops of this on your palm and you are done. You are ensured a clean hand on the go anytime anywhere.
Wet Wipes – I got introduced to this when travelling with my six month old daughter across the country, its use is unlimited and a must in my sack for sure. Just use one to clean up your face and hands when on a long journey and you will feel fresh instantly. This is also becoming a quick replacement for toilet roll and I know many who use these only.
Money Belt – I started using this when backpacking across Africa, I wanted to avoid carrying all my money in my wallet and was equally apprehensive carrying them in my money pouch as it’s very obvious to potential thugs so I got this ingenious piece of object. Just have the money tucked inside the zip which is attached behind the belt and you are good to go. As an addition I have a small pen drive also tucked in with scanned copies of all my important document.
Post It & Pen – Many prefer to use their mobile device to record notes but I am bit old style and love to scribble. This also helps when you have to write something down and keep in the hotel desk as a message for someone.
TSA Approved Baggage Lock – These are regular locks that we use in securing our bags but the only difference is that these are approved by TSA which means that in case of emergency the Airport Baggage Handling team can officially open your bag without the need of cutting through. TSA approved locks have a number embedded at the bottom with which the airport security team can open your lock without knowing the number combination. Some countries are making them mandatory thus be sure to check once before venturing out of the country
World Power Adapter – This very essential piece of accessory is mostly forgotten by many tourists and they keep regretting when they find it impossible to plug in their chargers to charge mobile phone or camera battery. These are available in various price range so pick the one that best suits your need.
Passport Organizer – This comes real handy at the airport, you have to keep your passport, boarding passes, authorization letter and what not. This helps you pass the airport formalities with ease as you would have all the necessary documents at one place.
Neck Pillow – I hate those long flights and I am never comfortable, a neck pillow can be the right solution for you. You have the pre filled with soft beads and the ones that you can inflate with air. Choose the one that best fits your requirement.
Compass – Make me feel like Indiana Jones so I carry itJ. But yes it does help in understating which way you are heading while on a real long journey.
Apart from this I would like to give you few tips which have helped me and may help you also:-
1) When visiting a foreign country try to keep the Indian Embassy phone number handy, in case of emergency they are your first help in a foreign land.
2) You always don’t have to carry US Dollar, sometime Euro can be used and I always recommend Euro considering it less volatile in terms of buy and sell rate.
3) When carrying medicines try to accompany a doctors recommended letter as some country do not allow undocumented medicines. The name which are common to us may be completely alien in another country thus its best advised to have some record of it.
4) Save all your old hand sanitizer bottles, they can be easily be refilled with Shampoo, Liquid Soap etc. So you don’t have to carry your huge favourite shampoo bottle, just carry the necessary quantity as required during the travel phase.
5) Carry ear plugs and eye shades they come in handy during long flights, your home time may require you to sleep but you might be in a different time zone so you need not worry just plug in the ear plugs and pull those eye shades down.
6) Carry extra memory cards for your digital cameras, when visiting a new place you are sure to loose count of the photographs that you take and will soon find your existing memory card exhausted.