Going on a trip, whether for a short or a long period, requires a minimum of preparations. We must in particular take care to properly pack our backpack or suitcase, taking with us all the accessories that can really make our life easier when traveling. With my experience as a great traveler for several years, these are my essentials, which I always take with me to the end of the world.
Accessories for Transporting and Storing Your Belongings
Protective Cover for the Backpack
I never leave without my protective cover for my backpack: Osprey Airporter medium. Its primary function is to protect the backpack when you are flying and to prevent the straps and straps from being damaged or torn during transport. But it works for any type of transport and it avoids dirtying your bag in the bunkers of buses which are often very dirty, especially in Asia. In addition, it is a cover that can be closed with a padlock, so it is additional security against theft because it is complicated to secure all the openings of a backpack. For travel returns, it is also very practical to return more charges than to go: once the backpack is in the cover, you can slip a lot more stuff inside and that’s often how I bring back my memories of travel. In general, I don’t have room to put everything inside the backpack.
To store your belongings in a backpack or suitcase, you should always provide storage pockets. This allows you to separate your underwear, your T-shirts, and other clothing, and to store separate chargers for your electronic equipment, medicines, and other accessories … This does not prevent you from providing a few plastic bags or totes -bag for putting dirty laundry or pairs of shoes.
To carry my identity papers, my money, and my bank card I always have a shoulder bag. I think it’s the safest way because that way you can’t get it torn off like a handbag that you carry on your side, and you quickly have access to important things. Better to choose it in a discreet color, like black, khaki, or navy blue. I also put my phone, my transport tickets, a small notebook, and a pen to have something to write down. Some may prefer a travel pouch smaller than can be concealed under clothing. In fact, I always have one in my luggage just in case, but I only use it very rarely because I don’t find it very comfortable. I never sleep with one eye on night buses or other means of transportation, but for those who are sleepier, it may be safer.
The first time I took a waterproof bag to go on a trip, it was when I went camping in Iceland for two months in the summer of 2016. I wanted to be sure that my laptop and my camera stayed dry in the tent, even in the event of heavy rain. But since then, I have won all my travels! It is essential when doing nautical activities like canoeing or even just a boat trip: that way I am sure that my electronic equipment like telephone or camera is well protected. Same when I found myself in torrential rain in the Caribbean or during the monsoon in Asia … It is very light and it really does not take up space! Another bonus use: I use it when I want to carry a bottle of wine or other alcohol in my backpack. At least that way I am sure that even in the event of breakage during transport, my things will stay dry! I use the 13-liter model, which is enough to hold a MacBook Pro and a small SLR.
Zip Freezer Bags
I always carry at least 5 or 6 freezer bags in my luggage: it allows me to protect my identity papers, my medicines if necessary, to put my beauty products in my cabin luggage if I take the plane… C is always useful and it doesn’t take up space!
Travel Accessories for Electronic Equipment
This is of course the accessory to never forget! The universal adapter! So it’s true that there are countries where you don’t need it, but you never know… You really have to take one with at least one USB port to be able to charge your phone in addition to another apparatus. The model that I offer you has two! I even use it in countries where you don’t need an adapter like Russia for example to be able to charge several devices at the same time, like a power strip. Besides, if you are two or you have a lot of devices, I advise you to also take an extension plug(this model is very suitable for traveling because there are only three sockets and the cable is short). It can often happen to have only one outlet in a hotel room and there hello a hassle to load all its equipment.
With the very limited lifespan of smartphone batteries, you can no longer travel without an external battery, whether to recharge during the day or in the evening when you do not have access to a power outlet. In addition to my part, it is typically the kind of object that I lost several times because forgotten in the morning by letting it load in my hotel room. I always find myself running around the shops to buy one along the way.
I have long traveled with basic earphones to listen to my music, but that was before I tried the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II super high tech headphones. Since it’s very simple: I can’t leave without it! The sound quality is great and above all, I am a big fan of the noise reduction function: it is not just an audio headset, it is a real noise-canceling headset that completely isolates external noise pollution. By plane or in noisy transport, it is simply amazing and I am no longer bothered by the crying of children or the conversations of neighbors. You can also read my article on the test of this travel headset. The only small downside is that it takes up a little space in business. For those who would like a less bulky headset, there are also wireless headphones that you can put in your ear (on the right in the photo above), also with an anti-noise function. However, I have never tested them.
Hygiene and Health Travel Accessories
Travel Toiletry Bag
You would think that any type of toilet bag is suitable for going on a trip, but not necessarily. For my part, I recommend taking absolutely a model with a hook that allows us to hang it somewhere. It is quite often that we find ourselves in bathrooms not very clean with nothing at all to put your things, not to mention the common shower rooms in youth hostels … I like the models of large capacity because I take a lot of products with me.
Of course, this is the kind of kit that you can compose yourself by buying the products one by one, but I find it more practical to buy a ready-made first aid kit at the start. Then then, as you travel, you replace what you have used or what has expired. In the event of a minor sore, it is always much more practical to have everything on hand rather than having to rush to a pharmacy. Before leaving, it is also good to study the content carefully because it sometimes requires supplementing, especially with an antiseptic spray. It’s not really part of first aid, but don’t forget to take a mosquito repellent either.
If you plan to sleep all the time in hotels it is not necessarily worth it, but we think of spending a few nights in a youth hostel or camping, it is essential to take a special microfiber travel towel. The advantage of these towels is that they dry quickly and do not take up too much space in luggage. I also recommend taking a model large enough to wrap yourself in to go back and forth from the shower, especially when you sleep in hostels. We often find ourselves in completely soaked bathrooms or we don’t want to get dressed because otherwise, we wet our clothes.
Travel Accessories for Food
The Swiss knife is one of the old travel basics, but it is still relevant today. Even if you don’t go hiking in the wild, you still need a knife for a picnic or a snack, a corkscrew to uncork a bottle of wine, or a can opener to open a can. Be careful not to leave it in your hand luggage when you take the plane because otherwise you are forced to abandon it at security control. Ditto when you go to major monuments or museums: it is better not to have a knife in your belongings to pass the security checks.
Mug and Cutlery
I don’t often go camping, but I still take a mini-set of dishes with a plastic mug and a spoon fork in two. It doesn’t take up much space and is very useful when you want to eat on the go.
Filter Gourd for Drinking Water
Being able to drink drinking water while traveling without having to buy plastic bottles every day is a real subject. The ideal solution is to buy a water bottle like the LifeStraw Go 2. It filters bacteria and protozoa, which can make you sick if you drink tap water. In addition, this model has a carbon filter that eliminates bad smells and organic chemicals. Its capacity is 65 ml. LifeStraw filters up to 1000l of water, on the other hand, the carbon filter, only 100l: therefore depending on the duration of the trip, you may need to take a carbon capsule of substitution. You just have to get used to sucking water, rather than drinking it normally as usual, but otherwise, it is a great solution to save the purchase of water bottles and pollute less.
Travel Accessories for Comfort
Sheet for Sleeping
When I go on a trip, I do not bring a sleeping bag: it is too bulky and it is only used too rarely, except if I know that I have planned to sleep in a tent. Instead, I take a sleeping sheet. You can slip into it when you sleep in a hotel a little shabby with bedding not very clean or any other place not very clean to sleep. It’s super light and it helps out a lot!
The travel pillow is really the essential accessory for long journeys by plane or bus. For my part, my neck and back are a bit fragile, so I quickly grabbed a stiff neck if I don’t have one. It is also often used in hotels when the pillow is too big or too hard (which can often be the case when traveling in budget hotels). Personally I don’t really like inflatable models, which are not very comfortable. I prefer foam ones: it is bulkier but much better for sleeping.
Sleep Mask and Earplugs
Whether to sleep in transport (plane, bus, or other) or in a hotel room with too much light, it is super useful to provide a sleep mask. There are many countries where it is very early in the day and the accommodation is not always fitted with curtains or shutters. For those who are a light sleeper or who find it difficult to fall asleep in a noisy environment, I strongly recommend that you provide earplugs. As a matter of habit, I much prefer the foam ones rather than the wax earplugs. You have to provide several pairs in any case, because you quickly lose one behind a bed and after a few uses they are dirty and it is better to change them regularly.
Travel Accessories for Safety
Padlocks and a Cable
This is the basis for protecting your belongings, especially if you plan to sleep in a youth hostel. This also applies to avoid being robbed in transport such as night buses or when waiting in a station. I always have at least two padlocks (with code I prefer, it avoids losing the key and four digits, it’s safer than three) and a cable to be able to attach my backpack somewhere. This is especially essential on night buses in Asia, if you have a small backpack with your valuable equipment under your seat: you must absolutely attach your bag! The safety instructions depend of course on the countries where one travels and one will need it much less in Japan than in Brazil or in Thailand. But hey, you never know, there are still flights, even in the safest countries.
Bill Pocket or Belt
I talked about it a little earlier in this article: I don’t use this accessory a lot and I prefer to put my valuables in a shoulder bag on clothes. But some may feel safer with a pocket hidden under their clothes or with a belly banana. It is up to everyone to make their choices, in particular, according to the level of security of the countries where we are going to travel. There are several religious places in India that do not allow lather belts in their premises so be careful.
I was not sure in which category to put the flashlight, so I put it here … Sometimes with smartphones, we think we no longer have to leave with it, but that’s not counting that we can often find ourselves running out of battery. In addition, to be free to move if you need to look for something in the middle of the night without light, a headlamp is really very practical! There are rechargeable models with USB sockets, but I recommend taking a battery model instead. As this is the kind of object that we may need during a trek in the wilderness, we will not necessarily be able to easily recharge it.
Well, I think I pretty much have toured all the accessories I take on my travels. Do not hesitate to suggest to me in the comments if you have other accessories that I would have forgotten and that I would not know to recommend.