James (@ministryoftourism) and I have officially been living out of our backpacks for 150 days! Hard to believe, really. So today I thought I would share some of the things that are making our lives a lot easier while on the road. Though there are many, I have narrowed it down to my top 5!
In addition to being super cute, these are also incredibly practical! Since we are using backpacks instead of suitcases, being organized is even more important, or else I would literally just be reaching down into the depths of my backpack to find items I need. Instead, whenever we get to a place I just pull out the cubes I need and leave the rest in my pack. I use the small and medium cubes for clothing (warm clothes in the small, everything else in the medium), the medium pouch for underwear and bras, the small pouch for nighttime essentials (my sleeping mask, earplugs, kindle and chap stick) and the large pouch functions as our first aid kit. I don’t even use the large cube, but can imagine it would be very handy if packing a suitcase. And as a bonus, this set comes with a hanging toiletry kit which is really useful, especially if you’re camping and have to cart your things to and from the shared bathroom facilities!
I can hear all you ‘real’ book readers out there. It’s not the same! And you know what, you’re not wrong. I worked at Chapters during university (for those of you unfamiliar, it’s a large bookstore – think Barnes and Noble, or Dymocks) and I still love the smell of books. When we were living in Australia James and I even had library cards! But you know what’s not fun? Lugging 10 novels around with you when you’re backpacking. And when you finish those books, trying to find a bookstore in the middle of Namibia. But I wouldn’t know what that’s like, because I currently have 50 books saved on my Paper White. The backlight isn’t harsh, which is nice for nighttime reading and it’s very small and lightweight so when I (inevitably) fall asleep mid-chapter and drop it on my face it doesn’t hurt 😉
I’ve had passport wallets in the past, but only ones that hold your passport and nothing else (maybe we should call them passport protectors instead?). The passport pocket on this wallet not only holds my passport, but also my vaccination reports and some spare passport photos we may need for visas. It has 2 compartments for currency which has been useful while travelling thus far – USD in one and the local currency in the other – and I keep 8 different cards in the card slots. And the best part? It has a pen. This may seem like the most basic thing ever, especially for females who are likely travelling with purses and keep pens in there. But I’ve been caught on more than one occasion assuming I have a purse in my pen (everything else is in there, including pieces of gum that are falling out of wrappers – why wouldn’t there be a pen?) and when I arrive at customs it’s nowhere to be found. The wallet is also well-made. I have the charcoal grey and it’s travelling incredibly well!
This is the travel essential we didn’t know we needed. We are travelling with a few electronics, all of which have their own cords and chargers (laptop, iPhone, iPad, 2 kindles, 2 toothbrushes, 2 sets of bluetooth headphones, a mouse, a drone, a camera with separate battery pack…you get the idea). This bag makes sure we know where all those chargers are when we need them. And we haven’t lost any chargers or cords yet! So it must be pretty good.
Having a travel adapter or two kind of goes without saying, but the thing I really like about this one is that it has 2 USB slots. And they actually work! In the past I’ve had really finicky travel adapters which fall out or short, but so far these have held up extremely well!
Ok so these last two may not be ‘essentials’ for everyone, but they’ve made my life on the road 100 times better. About a year and a half ago, James came home with a massive bag of these earplugs he had ordered on Amazon (after reading a recommendation from Tim Ferris). I thought there was no possible way we would use them all and you know what? We did. Even in our home in Melbourne we started sleeping with earplugs and the quality of our sleep was so much better! We also tried various eye masks, but either they weren’t comfortable or they slipped off. So we ordered more earplugs and these masks before coming to Africa. The first time they really showed their value was when we were hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. Your days start early, but the porters stay up late chatting. It was no problem for us as we just chucked our earplugs in and slept soundly until it was time to wake up. Since then, both items have been incredible for camping. When you are sleeping in a tent, sound and light basically hit you in the face and these items allow us to go to sleep and wake up when it suits us. Even if you’re not planning on travelling anytime soon, do yourself a favour and order these!
What are the things that you never leave home without? I’m always on the lookout for products that make my life (on the road and at home) easier so I’d love to hear from you 🙂