Travel is a life-changing experience - it's an adventure through exotic lands. But on occasions, unexpected things happen. Sometimes these surprises will delight you and sometimes you'll need to find a solution so that you can continue with the rest of your journey. Having travelled independently through 69 countries, I've found there are certain items that become invaluable on the road. These items can prevent incidents before they happen - to make the travel experience a little smoother.
Here are my top five items that I find useful when travelling.
While at first glance it may seem quite strange, but packing a bike chain actually provides that extra peace of mind on the road. More of a deterrent than any major security device, when taking an overnight train, it’s great to secure your bag to the overhead luggage rack with a bike chain. Alternatively when staying in hostels or hotels, chain the bag to a bed frame so that you can explore the destination knowing your luggage is safe.
The mobile phone, the electric toothbrush, the shaver, the camera, the laptop, the video camera - yep that’s right they all require charging at some point while travelling. And Murphy's law says that they'll probably all have flat batteries at the same time. A power board will let you charge everything simultaneously with the added bonus of only requiring one power adaptor for foreign power points.
Spare Plastic Bags
I always make sure that I have a really good spare plastic bag, which I use primarily for my dirty laundry. When the plastic bag is full and I've run out of clothes - that's when it's time to do the washing. Additional plastic bags are great to keep your shampoo safe within your toiletries bag. I've had leaking shampoo several times because of changes in altitude and general knocks to the bag. By placing the shampoo in a separate bag means that the leak won't affect anything else - especially electronic shavers and my clothes.
Multiple Copies of Emergency Numbers
Prior to departure, I type a list of all the emergency numbers I may need in the event that something happens. The list includes the contact details of my bank, insurance company and any other organisation that I may need to phone. I print several copies of the list and place them in several spots in different bags and I also email myself a copy of the document.
Easily Exchangeable Currency
Regardless of where I'm going, I always carry easily exchangeable currency such as US Dollars or Euro. This is more peace of mind, so that if I'm ever stuck and my ATM card fails - I'll always have cash on me that will either be accepted directly or exchanged with a minimum of fuss.